Dear Mom and Dad,

1. I need to know for sure that you love me.

When you tell me you love me, I feel secure. When you show me you love me, I grow confident.

I feel loved when you give me your attention. When I come home from school and I see you don’t answer the phone because you’re spending time with me, I feel special. I see I’m more important to you than other people and other things.

When you tell me, “I made your favorite cookies,” “I made the dinner you like,” “I saw this sweater in the store, and it’s your favorite color, so I bought it for you,” I know I’m loved and feel I’m worth loving. It gives me more confidence to face the world.

2. You are the foundation of my life.

I want to please you and make you proud. Please give me positive feedback often.

I feel good when I know you like what I’m doing.

3. I love it when you make time for us to spend together.

We can go out for pizza once a month, or you can cuddle with me in my bed for a few minutes each night (when appropriate). Even though I know you also have to take care of my brothers and sisters, there are so many ways you can make me feel special.

4. I need you to listen to me.

School, homework and social interactions can be so stressful for me that I feel the world is blowing up. When I come home, please listen to me in an open, nonjudgmental way. If the teacher was unfair, I don’t need you to condemn him (that would be damaging). I need you to empathize with me and support me.

If I was at fault, please don’t blame me. I feel bad enough already. Help me learn by asking, “What do you think you could have done better?” and “How do you think you can fix things now?”

5. When you yell at me, my world falls apart.

I feel scared. My only thought is “I want this to stop.” I can’t learn anything, I’m so frightened.

6. I watch how you treat each other.

When the two of you argue, I worry that you might separate, or something scary might happen.

When you respect each other, I learn to respect you. When I see you resolving conflict in a friendly and considerate way, I learn to be altruistic and considerate. I learn that it’s possible to solve conflict without anger.

7. Don’t confuse me.

Am I a treasure or a burden? Sometimes you say you love me, and sometimes you say I drive you crazy. Then I wonder if you are happy I was born . . .

8. Be patient with me.

Of course I’m imperfect! I recently came into the world with a good share of bad middot, character traits. I need to learn, grow, and overcome the negative. Please help me by stressing the good in me. Show me, in a loving way, how I’m supposed to act. Please be patient and remain the adult in this relationship.

Please remember how difficult it is to change. Help me work on one thing at a time. I can’t change all my faults at once.

And if I’m rebelling, please investigate; something might be bothering me.

9. Please never put me down or call me names.

When you do, I believe you!

If you call me a brat, rude, chutzpadik, stupid . . . I might grow up to fit exactly that description.

10. Make me feel safe enough to make mistakes.

Please don’t get upset when I spill/break something by accident. Being clumsy is not a sin. That way I won’t grow to be a perfectionist, afraid to make a false move.

We all make mistakes. Smart people learn from their mistakes and try not to repeat them.

11. I need consistency in my world.

When you always enforce the same rules, life is more predictable.

I feel safer knowing there is an adult taking care of me.

12. You can demand from me only what you do yourself.

I don’t learn from lectures, and punishment leaves me resentful. I’m constantly observing you and absorbing from you, so if you show me love and kindness, I’ll want to be like you. Then, if I do something wrong, you can talk to me about it and explain the right way to do things.

I might not always do as you say, but most likely I’ll say as you say and I’ll do as you do.


Your child

This article is based on: Likkutei Sichot, vol. 27, pg. 158; Rambam, Hilchot De’ot, chs. 2–6; Igrot Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, vol. 4, pp. 302–3; Klalei ha-Chinuch veha-Hadrachah; and Pirkei Avot 4:12.