Have You Hugged Your Kid Lately?

When your child reaches their teenage years, it may seem that he or she doesn’t want or need your physical or emotional affection. But perhaps more than any time in their life, teenagers need the security of unconditional love from their parents.

Hug your teen

Your Kids Just Want to Know They’re Loved

A young girl wrote these song lyrics about her absentee dad:

I wear your old clothes, your polo sweater. I dream of another you, the one who would never leave me alone to pick up the pieces — a daddy to hold me. That’s what I needed.

That young girl, Lindsay Lohan, would grow up to record those words in her song “Confessions of a Broken Heart.” She would perform in movies, be in and out of jail, go to rehab and struggle to “get her act together.” When we look beyond Lindsay’s erratic behavior, we see a girl in desperate search of her father’s love.

Another example: An extraordinarily talented 5-year-old boy was rehearsing songs with his four brothers for an upcoming TV special. The boys’ father was frustrated that the boys weren’t getting their parts just right. The little boy wanted clarification, so he addressed his father. “Daddy,” he began. Interrupting him, his father stated sternly, “I’m not your father right now. I’m your manager and don’t you ever forget it.”

Little Michael Jackson never did forget that moment. A few years before his death, Michael was speaking to students at Oxford University to his newly formed foundation, Help the Children. About fifteen minutes into his presentation he began to weep. After regaining his composure, Michael vulnerably shared: “I just wanted a dad. I wanted a father to show me love. But I never once heard my father say, ‘Michael, I love you.’”

More than fortune or fame. More than peer acceptance. More than anything else your kids can dream for. They mostly want to know you are there for them with unconditional love.

You don’t toss out your rules or lower your boundaries to protect them. Your kids need those rules and boundaries to feel secure. But they also need your rules and boundaries within the context of your loving relationship. The power of your love will be the motivating factor in their being able to make sound moral choices.

Demonstrate Your Unconditional Love

Here’s a suggestion: Go to your child or teenager right now and surprise them with a big hug. As you wrap your arms around them, tell them, “I love you.” Commit to letting them see you model your love every day. As you do, you will provide the security that you really are there for them with unfailing love.

Your loving relationship can empower your kids to believe right, embrace godly values, and live in ways that honor Him. That’s the power of love.


> Need to talk to your kids about sex? Check out this bonus Chapter from Josh McDowell’s book Straight Talk.

> Check out the other parenting resources in our store.

> Want to hear Josh’s story of how he overcame his own difficult childhood? Click here to  learn about Josh’s journey!




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