Are You a Warm Parent?
DO YOU love your children? Are you proud of them? Do you feel that each one is a special, unique, irreplaceable individual? Most parents do. But do you tell your children that you feel this way? Do you praise them specifically when they do something well? And do you express warmth in other ways—with gentle play, reassuring touch, loving hugs?
“But that is just not my way,” some may object. “I’m not that open with my feelings.” True, not everyone is demonstrative by nature. However, showing warmth to your children may be more important than you ever realized.
A group of scientists recently followed up on a 1951 study of 400 kindergarten children. Among the 94 men and women they were able to track down, they found some telling patterns. According to The New York Times, those children who had warm, affectionate parents tended to fare better in their adult life. They had basically successful marriages, raised children, enjoyed their work, and sustained close friendships. Dr. Carol Franz, who led the study, told the paper that they “showed psychological well-being, a sense of zest and satisfaction with themselves and with their lives.”
In contrast, Franz found that “those with cold, rejecting parents had the hardest times in later life across the board—in work, in social adjustment, and in psychological well-being.” In fact, the study suggested that a lack of parental warmth may even be more damaging to children in the long run than parents’ divorce, alcoholism, or poverty.
This should not be surprising to sincere students of the Bible. They well know how Jesus treated children. He valued them, drew them to himself, and let his affection for them show. (Mark 10:13-16; Luke 9:46-48; 18:15-17) Of course, he was only imitating his heavenly Father in this respect—the One who becomes Father to the fatherless boy. (Psalm 68:5) Jehovah is the perfect Parent; happily for those who love him, he can make up for any lack in imperfect human parents.—2 Corinthians 6:18.