Do they know we will always like them?

Or do we find that the problem is we really don’t like them? Oh, we love them. But like them? Perhaps we find this the hardest question of all. We might have a teen whose personality or particular ways just annoy us. Maybe these are teens who are just too much like us, and their weaknesses are a constant reminder of our own failings. It might be that we have never had any common interests with one of our teens, so we feel there is no basis for affection and camaraderie between us. In all of these cases, we may believe that love will have to be enough—but that would be a dangerous assumption.

It is our duty as parents to like our children as well as love them. If we currently have a problem with this issue, we need to pray that God will give us this liking, and we need to concentrate on all the ways these teens do please us, all the good points they have that are unique to them. Until the feeling of affection comes, we need to act as if it were there—in other words, fake it! So many times in life, when we act as we should despite the lack of feeling behind our behavior, the feelings will follow.

Do they know we will always love them?

Or do they worry that our love might be dependent on their actions? Do our teens realize that our love for them comes from God and is not going to fade if they disappoint us in some way? Do we express our love to them consistently and understandably? Most of us are familiar with the idea that different people perceive love in different ways. Have we researched these “love languages” and figured out the ideal ways to reach our various children with our love?

Most of our high school kids still need consistent physical love from both parentsour girls need lots of hugging and arm-in-arm walking, and our tall manly boys need shoulder rubs from Mom, wrestling with Dad, and yes, even occasional hugs. Some teens will need us to talk about our love for them in specific detail; others will understand our love best through what we do with them—but the main point is clear. At this critical time in their lives, our teens need to be absolutely certain of our love. Otherwise, they might be tempted to go looking for such affirmation and caring elsewhere.

So let us set the standard high. We need to make our teens’ relationship with God and our relationship with them our two highest priorities. We only have a few years left with our children. Why not make them really count for eternity? 

Kim Lundberg is the busy mom of 9 great kids. She and her family have been homeschooling for 16 years, and they make their home in beautiful northern California. Kim enjoys teaching drama, writing, and world history classes, as well as reading mysteries, baking goodies, camping, and listening to her kids talk, sing, and make music.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2008 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Visit to request a FREE sample issue today!