With Valentine’s Day next week, it seems we’re all seeing hearts and feeling the love left and right. But did you know that how you love—or rather, how you give and receive love—is ultimately shaped by two important people? Mom and Dad. That’s right, from an early age, children first pick up on this emotion from their parents and it is in those initial years of life that your approach to relationships will be formed.
You may think back upon your own childhood to see if you can notice how your relationship with your parents affected your adult love life, but if you have Minis of your own now, it’s time to start looking ahead. How emotionally available you are for your kids will affect their attachment to you, according to Rebecca Bergen, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and co-owner of Bergen Counseling Center in Chicago.
“Attachment theory suggests that we create an internal working model of our parents that we later internalize as our own sense of self,” Bergen tells MyDomaine. “This attachment style also affects how we experience ourselves, and in turn, how we are in relationships.”
It’s also important to note how you show love to your spouse in front of your children. “The way in which love was shown between parents is influential on the child,” Bergen explains. “Children will model and emulate the ways their parents show love to one another.”
And don’t be hesitant to dole out those hugs and kisses. Displays of affection such as hugs, words of admiration, and playfulness will play a major factor in the way your kids will show love to their partners as adults.
Give your Minis a big smooch, then shop these 20 Kids Valentine’s Day Outfits Worth All the Heart Eyes or read up on How Science Says You Raise Successful Daughters.