Yes, believe it or not, there are books selling very well that teach “how to love your child”.
If you’re like me you’ll say “I love my child!”
So what’s going on here?
Why is this a popular topic on Amazon.com? It’s popular because of the “Law of Familiarity” I believe.
The law of familiarity means the more we are around something or someone, the more familiar we become. The more familiar we become, the more we take the person or thing for granted.
Do you remember when you first bought a new car?
You were very careful with it right?
You washed it often and kept the inside very clean right?
What happens over time?
Over time we become used to the car and start to neglect it. This is part of being human and we all do it. We do this in our relationships too.
Do you remember when you first met your spouse? What would you do for him? You’d do anything right? What would he do for you?
What happens over time?
Honey, can you take out the trash? NO! I have no time! I have to blah, blah. 😉
We do this with our children too.
Remember when your child first came into this world? Oh this baby is so cute! This baby can do nothing wrong! Isn’t he/she so cute? Over time this changes doesn’t it?
When I suggest Japanese moms tell their child they love them the response is, we don’t do that in Japan. I know this now. But even if you did do it, over time it will not mean anything to your child because of the law of familiarity.
So how do we demonstrate love to the people that are important to us?
I don’t know everything but I have a few ideas that work for me and I’m happy to share them with you.
1. Put something your child likes in their school bag.
My daughter came home yesterday and asked me “did you put a box of chocolates in my school bag?” Yes I said and she said “that was great! I really liked the surprise”.
Humans love surprises. It fills one of our human needs which is “variety”.
2. You can put a little note in your child’s bag. I wrote one once that said “I’m not the best dad in the world but I try my best and love you very much.” I know you don’t say “I love you” in Japanese but you can give it a try.
3. When you go out to eat, let your child decide what to eat. Tell them today can be your special day.
4. Play games with your child and let them win secretly.
5. Mail something to them and when it comes, tell them “you have mail”. You can do this for your husband too.
6. Laugh with them as if you are 5 years old again and mean it! I do this a lot and it’s a very nice experience.
7. Make home a real fun place to be so everyone looks forward to returning home.
8. Tell them what makes you happy about them even if you have to take a few minutes to think about it.
Examples: I like to see you happy. I like to see you enjoying your toys. I like when you help me. Etc…
The secret to getting love is to give it.
Please don’t assume your children or the people around know you love them.
The secret to avoiding “The Law of Familiarity” is variety.
Hope this helps.