Your first response to this is? Probably, “why don’t you just talk to him/her.” And you may be right, depending on a number of factors. Let me explain further why a letter might be of value in communicating with your child — no matter the age — or the purpose.

I have written letters, often short reflections to both of our children. Further elucidation.

When our first born, Kristopher John, was in the process of birthing and I was trying to be supportive of my wife Sherry, I started writing a letter to him. I wrote how excited I was that he was coming into our life, how much I loved his mother, how we had planned and wanted him in our life, etc… Over the years while he was young I would take a few moments and write letters and notes to him telling him how proud of him I was relative to his grades, sports participation, etc... and how much I loved him.

For our daughter, I did the same from the moment she began to enter the world. Besides commenting on her good grades, the focus was on her determined pursuits in the areas of gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, softball, etc… Always the emphasis was on how proud I was of her and how much I loved her.

I kept these letters stored away, planning on the kids reading them after my death — reassuring them of how much I treasured them, loved them, thought of them from day one, and enjoyed the many special times we shared. I modified that thinking and decided to give them the stashed letters when they had their first child. Glad I did that! Their individual response was overwhelming as they spoke through loving tears of their appreciation of the time and effort put into these writings as they welcomed their own precious child into their lives. A deep loving hug was shared with each!

That being said there are other reasons and situations when a parent might consider writing to their child. Some are positive reasons, others are when there is a negative relationship existing between parent and child and conversation is challenging.

Positive reasons would be expressing your love, celebrating an occasion, appreciating an effort or accomplishment, etc… . I believe it is important to see the good in people, especially family, and recognize it affirmatively.

Another possible reason for writing a letter to your child is when the relationship is strained. Such a letter, hopefully, always expressing love, may address a problem issue, explaining something, or setting a boundary for an older child who has gone astray. Other reasons exist.

Sometimes written communication is better than verbal. You can choose your words carefully, be more clear and precise. Plus, the child receiving the letter has something tangible in his/her hands and has to make a choice as to what to do with it — frame it, tear it up, leave it as a constant reminder of the words spoken by the parent. Verbal words may fade in memory, written ones get more deeply etched into consciousness.

Well, Respected Reader, do you want to write a letter to your child? What kind? Need help? Consider it. It might be one of the best communications you could ever offer to your child. Mine was!

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email:Stathas@plantationcable.net. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com

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