If you want to raise children who feel special, it's important to tell and show them everyday that they are loved, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Love is an emotion," he says. "If you keep it to yourself, it did not exist, it did not happen. Even the words are not enough—you've got to show it."
As he explains in Chapter 8 of his book 10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children, saying "I love you" and giving hugs and other forms of affection are important, even if your kids think your gestures are "corny." "Don't ever assume that love doesn't have to be expressed, that it is taken for granted," he says.
When you don't tell and show your children they're loved—or if you only do so when they get good grades or perform well in a sport—Rabbi Shmuley says they may feel like a nobody and spend the rest of their lives trying to prove themselves worthy. If they feel loved unconditionally, Rabbi Shmuley says they can accomplish great things. "Love is the force of the universe that pulls everything together," he says.
"Everybody wants to be a somebody, and nobody wants to be a nobody. As a parent, you are the one that can make your child feel like they are a somebody … make your child a somebody based on the fact that they are loved."