Acceptance, Appreciation & Approval:

Love your children by giving them three A+ values

By Nicky VanValkenburgh

Have you ever had a light bulb experience with your children? You might call it a Eureka Moment. It’s a time when you suddenly realize a personal change has taken place…. for the better. Yes, you’re a better person now that you have children. You’re more accepting, appreciative and affirming. Consider these three A+ values that my children have taught me:



Acceptance. Being a parent teaches you to be an accepting person. Consider the overwhelming love that you have for your children. You’ve seen your kids at their worst: Crying, vomiting, wearing soiled clothes, wetting their bed sheets, and having dirty diapers. Funny how none of this changes the way you feel about your children. You love them no matter what. This quality could be described as Unconditional Positive Acceptance. It is a life-changing quality that can transform your interaction with friends, family and people in the community. Being a parent teaches you to love and accept people just as they are, even if they’re different.

acceptance appreciation approval


Appreciation. My eight-year-old noticed something unusual when I picked him up early from school. “There are times when you look really good to me,” he said. “Like now, when you picking me early up from school. I’m always glad to see you, but right now you’ve never looked better.”

In his own little way, my son was letting me know that he appreciated me. In response, I couldn’t help but smile and feel good about myself. That’s what happens when we appreciate people. Isn’t it wonderful to feel valuable and important? Your confidence and self-esteem soars higher than the clouds when you someone appreciates you.


Approval. Babies cry for approval, and men die for it. Most people have a deep subconscious need for approval of their actions and accomplishments. Children are no different. My son’s best friend (age 9) recently said, “You know what I like best about you? That you take me to restaurants I’ve never been before. That is so exciting to me… and it makes me happy!”

This youngster sensed that I approved of him. My approval is almost like a shot of self-confidence. He felt confident, capable and his enthusiasm was contagious. It is good for children to know that we approve of them, just as they are.

Being a parent makes us realize how important it is to affirm our children. They crave our love, attention, appreciation and approval. On the Noggin TV channel, Laurie Berkner sings a song about loving children, in spite of their imperfections. Her lyrics suggest, “I’m not perfect, but I hope you like me that way.”

Some parents withhold their affection because their kids are rowdy, immature or messy. Don’t make that mistake. Love them in spite of their imperfections. Children desperately seek our approval, and Mom and Dad should be the ones to give it to them. In doing so, our children grow up to be happy, confident and well-adjusted in life.

Perhaps you too have experienced light bulb or eureka moments, in which you’ve realized that being a parent makes you a better person. Funny how our children—the smallest and least powerful people in society— can leave an indelible impression on us. And we can do the same, simply by loving our children and giving them the A+ values of acceptance, appreciation and approval.

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