Affirmation refers to verbal and written words of specific praise regarding our children’s character, decision-making, and treatment of others more than their appearance, achievement, or performance. To affirm means to declare something to be true. So when you affirm your children, you declare what is true about them and for them. You declare what is true about their character and their potential. Your words, that is, your verbal or written expression of your high view of them, then become the basis of their self-awareness and identity. Your regular affirmation can actually neutralize all the negative messages the media and their peer group may be speaking to them. So affirmation means stating our belief about what is true in and about our children and encouraging what we hope to be true as they grow. Affirmation is about creating the reality we envision in our children’s character and for their favorable future through our belief in them and our praise of them. Our affirmation helps our children believe they are smart, capable, and able to achieve whatever they set their good minds to.
Why are affirmation, acceptance, and affection such powerful experiences between a father and his children—or in some cases, between a father figure and a younger man or woman who never received these from his or her own dad? Because affirmation, acceptance, and affection go to the core of character formation and the establishment of healthy self-esteem. These three crucial fathering skills give to a child a gift that will last their lifetime. These three fathering practices define what it means practically for a dad to love his children. Here’s how you can express your love powerfully and meaningfully.
When children miss these experiences from a loving father, they suffer a wounding that can be deep and long lasting. This wound cries out for healing—a healing that can be experienced when a father or father figure is present and the wounded son or daughter seeks to heal and grow.