It is hard to imagine what Adela’s world is like. With a sibling who has so many special needs, she has to watch parents, family, friends, neighbors, etc give much attention and care to her sister while she is left in “normal” standing. Worse, when we have days involving ambulances and an airlift to a hospital, she is left entirely on the sideline, wondering what is happening to her world.
When I finally accepted respite care, it was nice to have the breathing room to give Adela complete and undivided attention. Doing things like taking her to the Dinosaur Museum and cuddling while watching a movie, have been so good for both of us. I love this little girl. She has an amazing sense of humor and a huge heart. It has been fun to let her know that. We have even incorporated little inside jokes and traditions, just me and her.
A couple weeks ago I noticed her displaying outward attention and attentiveness to other children and Micaela. Surprised, I watched her do things like make sure a couple of girls had straws for their drinks, making sure a friend was covered up by a blanket after a dip in the pool, and running to get Micaela’s glasses in the morning.
Excited by the sweet change, I told a friend.
My friend smiled and exclaimed, “Oh, her little cup runneth over!”
Like someone hit me over the head, I finally got it. We are all designed to give to and care for others from the overflow of love inside us. That is why it is so important we constantly go to our Heavenly Father and be filled with His peace, joy, wisdom, and love so that we can give to others from the overflow.
For months, I have been trying to mold Adela’s behavior and have felt like a potter working with jello. However, once her needs of love were met, it was natural and easy to treat others with respect and affection.
If you have a child who is struggling with their behavior, try using the love languages to fill their hearts with how important they are to you, and how much you care for them.
Words of Affirmation: Let your child know how special they are and how much you love doing things with them. Don’t be general, be specific. Tell them you love how they make animal noises or how well they did drying the dishes.
Quality Time: Do something with that child one-on-one. Watch a movie, read a book, do a craft. Or, involve family and friends and let your child decide what the activity will be. Make sure you avoid things that will draw your attention away from your child such as spending time on the phone or social media.
Gifts: It doesn’t have to be anything big, it is the thought that counts. An older child might enjoy a trinket you had personalized for them. A small child would be ecstatic with a treat. Make it a surprise, something you got for them just because you love them.
Physical Affection: Take the time to hug, cuddle, tickle, and rough house with your child. It is amazing how huge that physical connection is. A loving touch hold a great deal of power.
Acts of Service: Do something for them. Serve them dinner with extra flare. Help them finish a task that has been difficult for them.
Just as our Father in Heaven does for us, may we remember to fill our children with love and caring so that they can interact with others with an overflowing heart.
I am constantly so proud of the strong little girls that God blessed me with and pray that I always prioritize their precious hearts.
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