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Teaching Your Kids How to Show Love to Others

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

If you are familiar with our STALL conflict resolution plan for kids, you may remember that the last of the steps in the process is to “show love.” The thinking behind this is that regardless of the outcome of any conflict, we need to teach our children that love trumps all. Biblically speaking, there is nothing greater than love:

Matthew 22:36-40“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Corinthians 13:8 & 13Love never ends . . . So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

So how can we communicate this supremacy of love to our kids? We need to teach them about the meaning of love in a family context. Here’s one approach.

Hot Buttons

Everyone has sore spots or areas in their life that are triggering – we often refer to it as “having our buttons pushed.” These buttons are different for different people. Here are some examples:

  • being late
  • having to wait
  • being ignored
  • disorder
  • being the center of attention
  • being criticized

So what are your hot buttons? Chances are your family knows them well.

The Message

So how do we show love to others? We can start by practicing the following:

LOVE IS KNOWING SOMEONE’S HOT BUTTON, BUT CHOOSING NOT TO PUSH IT.

The Activity

You can cut out cardboard “buttons” for each family member and have each person write down his or her hot buttons on them. Or, if you want, you can pass around the buttons and have family members identify other member’s hot buttons. You may find that those triggers you thought you hid so well are clear as day to your family members.

How can we show love?

  • If little brother doesn’t like people in his space, respect it.
  • If big sister doesn’t like people barging into her room without knocking, knock first.
  • If Dad doesn’t like being interrupted when he is working on a project, wait.
  • If big sister hates her curly hair, don’t mention it, no matter how mad you get.
  • If clothes on the floor is a hot button for Mom, pick them up.

Try wearing your buttons for an hour or longer and practice not pushing them. Sometimes our love can shine brightest when we choose not to push a button – even if it would be easier (or more satisfying) to do so.

We can show love in a myriad of ways. Knowing, but not pushing, someone’s buttons is a great place to start.

About the author

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in children and families. CfP is the place she combines some of her very favorite things: writing, parenting and God’s word. She loves encouraging parents to build their families upon Jesus, the one true Cornerstone. She is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband and is the mother of two delightfully inspiring children.

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