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By Michael Martin

It is getting close to Christmas and parents are struggling with decisions about what to give their kids.  If you have younger kids they probably have a long list of all of the toys and gadgets that they have seen advertised on television and in the aisles of the toy stores.  As you look at their long list and then at all the toys scattered throughout the house you shuddered to think about adding another super hero to the already overpopulated toy collection.  Maybe you will just get your children clothes, but then you remembered that you tried that before.  There was a look of disappointment in their eyes as they opened the new cloths and then tossed them aside looking for more toys.

Of course teenagers like clothes, but if the truth was known they would rather have the newest iPad, IPod,  Xbox, Wii or maybe a new car and other things that are beyond your Christmas budget.

Parents could save a lot of money, in my opinion, by giving a gift that lasts forever and is probably the most important gift that parents could give their children.   The greatest gift that parents can give their children is the gift of “showing” children privately and publicly that their parents love each other. 

Children are surrounded by other children whose parents are divorcing and having conflicts.  Movies and television shows depict broken families.  It is not surprising that a child is often fearful that his own parents will split up or even divorce.

You can show your children that you love your spouse privately when you are a home, or when you are on an outing just with your family.  When you are putting your child to bed, reassure your child that you love your spouse and that you will always love them.  Let them know that you will never get a divorce or leave your child or your spouse.  Always talk kindly to your spouse and give your spouse hugs and complements in front of your children.  Point out your spouse’s good qualities to your children.  It is ok to argue in front of your kids as long as you make up and resolve the argument peacefully in front of your children.  It is good for children to know that parents don’t always agree, but that they know how to work out their disagreements.  However, it is not ok to scream and yell, whine, pout, lose your temper, put down your spouse, curse, or be violent in front of your kids.  Major disagreements or disagreements about child rearing should not be discussed in front of your kids.

When you are with your family in public, husbands open the door for your wives, let them go first.  Show each other respect in every situation.  It is even ok to hold hands with your spouse or put your arm around their shoulder as you walk through the park.  Flirt with your spouse in front of your children.  As a couple laugh together and make happy memories with your children.  You don’t have to “make out” in front of your kids, but an occasional kiss or taking a picture of you kissing is ok.

PPDLA (Private and Public Display of Love and Affection) is the gift that does not cost anything and will last forever.  You don’t have to put it together.  It doesn’t need batteries.  It doesn’t wear out.  It doesn’t go out of style.  It always fits – it’s never too small or too large.  And best of all you don’t have to find a place to put it.

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