Our parenting day is made up of so many tasks, from getting the kids up in the morning to getting them down at night. At first, when we bring a baby home from the hospital, we have only one task: love this little bundle to bits! But somehow, this quickly gives way to the serious business of raising the child, shaping his or her behavior, building skills, teaching values and all the rest. Of course, we continue loving the child all through the days and nights of the parenting journey, but sometimes that is more a feeling in our heart, than a communication the child receives.

How can we be sure that our children will feel our love? We must move it out of our hearts and into our lips and limbs! Rubbing a teenager's back ever so gently, kissing a pre-teen on the nose, hugging a small child with a big bear hug – and other forms of tender tactile communication effectively convey our love. The warmth of our hearts flows through our arms and is literally transferred to our child's body. Babies, needing to be held right on their parents' chests, ask for this love outright but our older children may not; we need to offer it.

Similarly, our lips can transfer loving energy through the power of speech. Speech is the vocalization of the soul – the process of moving what is intangible inside to concrete communication outside. Understanding and acceptance are the qualities of an open heart. Putting those qualities into words, allows loving energy to flow from one open heart into another. The child doesn't like your dinner tonight? You understand. You know that feeling of disappointment and frustration. You sympathize (but offer no alternative menu!). However, your acceptance of the child's feelings, your compassionate permission for her to be human, is a healing balm. Not that she's allowed to rudely reject your offerings – the child also has to learn to express herself in a caring and loving way. However, allowing her to feel what she feels is your great gift to her. It is experienced as love.

The opposite response to feelings – judgment, criticism, attack and blame – are all experienced as rejection. Rejection is the withholding of love. If I don't want to receive your communication ("Don't tell me you don't like dinner after I worked on it for such a long time!), I essentially don't want to receive YOU. After all, your communication is the concretization of your soul – your feelings put into words. Rejecting your feelings, then, is rejecting you. Parents will have to reject their children's behaviors time and time again during the growing up process; these volitional activities can be appropriate or inappropriate. However, parents will never have to reject their children's feelings because these G‑d-given inner senses spring up unconsciously, spontaneously, without volition. They are common to all of us, always normal and always comprehensible – if we just try to understand and relate to them. Anger, fear, sadness, confusion – these take their place alongside happier emotions in a daily soup of experience. Moment to moment it changes. A funny, uplifting joke, a sibling's annoying interruption, an exciting school outing, a maddening broken toy, a hurtful remark from a "friend," a boring load of homework. Feelings abound. Just by tuning in, acknowledging the child's current mood and state, a parent is able to make a profound connection many times a day. This is love.

Naming, welcoming and accepting our children's feelings is the compassionate road to building a lasting bond of love.