Open displays of affection communicate love and mutual enjoyment.

Ways to Show Love & Respect for a Family

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

You have an extraordinary family and wouldn’t trade them for any other family – well, most days, anyway. You love and respect your preschooler and partner and want to demonstrate that. Don’t wait for major accomplishments and events to celebrate your family. Your neighbors might think loving chalk messages on the front porch or family cheers are odd, but your efforts will create a loving and respectful home atmosphere.

1. The Foundation

Your example creates a foundation of loving and respectful behavior. Treat your family members the way you want to be treated. For example, stop and give your child your undivided attention when she talks to you. Speak peaceful words that include praise, appreciation and gentle correction. Your child will follow the rules more readily if they apply to everyone equally. Allow your preschooler choices and respect those choices so that she understands you trust her decisions.

2. The Ordinary

Any day can be a day of celebration. Make a big deal over the crafts and pictures your child brings home from preschool and put them in a place of honor. Let family members overhear you bragging on them. Take pictures of your family doing ordinary things such as playing in the backyard or praying together. Put the pictures in a collage that celebrate why you believe that your family is unique and special. Choose a day of the week to celebrate your family by decorating with balloons, crowns for everyone and favorite family foods.

3. The Extraordinary

If ordinary days are celebrated, extraordinary days give you the opportunity to make individual family members feel love and respected. Throw a party to celebrate your partner’s promotion at work or your anniversary. Fill the room with balloons and write or draw pictures on the balloons to recognize the event. Let each family member offer a toast to the honoree. Present a trophy, prize ribbon or certificate of appreciation for each extraordinary event.

4. It Takes a Team

Your family makes a valuable team and you can express your love and appreciation for their support and cooperation. Spend time together working on a family project such as building a soapbox derby car or planting a garden. Find win-win solutions when your family has differences of opinion. Share responsibilities for chores so that everyone is a part of the team. You could ask for help, such as asking your child to hold the door open for you when you bring in groceries or asking your partner to help with meal preparations. Express gratitude for the help you get and for the uniqueness of each family member. Create an award to celebrate the most awesome family ever.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

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