Recently, I took my kids to a theme park. Thinking my 6-year-old daughter was ready for roller coasters, I brought her on one with me. She wasn't ready. From the first moment we clicked our seat belts, she was terrified. So I threw my arms around her and told her I had her. I kept repeating those words throughout the ride and said she was safe with me.
One of the key jobs for a parent is to create a safe and stable environment for the kids. When they feel safe, they have freedom to grow, test boundaries and explore. Otherwise, they are consumed by fear and anxiety. Here are 10 ways to make your child feel secure.
1. Give Your Time
The most important aspect of having a child feel secure is giving them your time. Real-time talking, sharing, laughing and learning. Time = Security.
2. Give Affection
Children need affection from a father as much as (if not more than) the affection from their mother. A gentle hug, a kiss on the forehead or holding hands as you walk together show kids you love them. In regards to child development, affection makes a world of difference.
3. Praise Them
When we praise our children, it builds their self-esteem and self-worth. When it's warranted, always be sure to praise them loudly and proudly. Your verbal encouragement will provide the security they require to flourish.
4. Consistently Hold Boundaries
Children test limits repeatedly. When you enforce boundaries, you make them feel secure. It's like double-checking a locked door—you know it's locked, but checking again makes you feel safer. Being consistent shows your children that you care for them deeply.
5. Listen to Them
Your kids have a lot to say to you, and when they're talking, make sure that you're all ears. [Tweet This] Even during those times of just nonsense, you can learn so much about who they are and who they'll become. Your kids need to feel secure talking to you about anything under the sun. That level of trust benefits everyone involved.
6. Let the Good Times Roll
Laughter is the cure to many troubles in this world. Be open, funny and kind to your children. Play with them. Joke with them. Just be downright silly. Children's behavior is based greatly on the behavior of parents. Provide them with a happy and loving home, filled with laughter and joy.
7. Honor and Hone Their Talents
We are all blessed with special gifts and talents to offer the world. Our children need to know that we love them for exactly who they are. Look for the things your child is good at and help him or her develop them.
8. Provide Balance
Find an appropriate balance between justice and mercy. When your children do the wrong thing, you want to correct them by giving a punishment or consequence. However, children also need to experience mercy. They need to know that all of us mess up, but there is always forgiveness.
9. Give Them Unconditional Love
When children fail, Dad needs to be there to offer a strong hand to pick them up, dust them off, give them a hug and start all over again. That is an example of unconditional love. They should know without question that, no matter what happens, you will love them.
10. The Greater Purpose
"The family that prays together stays together." There is great security in knowing that we have a higher and greater purpose on Earth, knowing that our Creator loves us and made us for a reason. So in your parenting, be sure to feed their souls.
Sound off: How do you make your kids feel secure?
This article originally appeared on allprodad.com.