There are so many lessons to teach your kids about love, many of which will be seen through your love for them. But what if you taught them lessons about love just like you taught them to tie their shoes or put their dishes in the dishwasher? I think not only is this possible, but it’s a fantastic idea. You won’t be able to control whether your kids learn and apply what you teach, but you can control whether you teach it, and that my friend, is enough.

9 Lessons To Teach Your Kids About Love

Here are nine lessons to teach your kids about love based on my own experience as a mom in addition to coaching thousands of clients inside the Mom On Purpose Membership.

1. There are many types of love.

In western culture, we use the word “love” to describe many types of relationships. There’s love between a parent and child, love between friends, love of activities, romantic love, and on and on.

While it may seem simple to say “I love this person!” or “I love doing this activity” love is very complex because of how broadly we apply the word. It would be simpler if we had separate words for all the types of love (like some other cultures do), but for us in the United States, we must settle on using one word for many different types of experiences. Knowing this ahead of time can be helpful in decreasing confusion when love feels complicated or messy.

Click Here to download 200 Affirmations For Kids

2. Love is a feeling.

To simplify things, think about love just as a feeling; a feeling you experience in your body. It’s similar to appreciation and fondness, but sometimes deeper and more pure.

Because it’s a feeling, you can practice feeling the feeling in your body just like any other feeling (joy, excitement, happiness, etc.). Any why the heck not? Love feels amazing.

3. Love is created from your thoughts.

The way love is created is by your thoughts.

This one is very confusing for a lot of people, yet it’s the truth. It just happens so fast that it feels like love comes from people. But it does not. Someone does something or says something and you have a thought about it. That thought creates love (or some other emotion). That’s always how feelings are created. This is not my opinion; it’s science. Your brain releases chemicals in your body based on the thought you have in your mind. Those chemicals produce a feeling.

This means that the way to create more love in your life is to practice thinking thoughts on purpose that feel loving to you.

This is surprisingly simple, yet not always easy. (Brains are tricky like that!)

Grab 10 Mindset Mantras to get started with your thought work.

4. Love doesn’t mean “yes.”

Just because you feel love doesn’t mean you have to say “yes.” Love is not an action. One of my favorite phrases is, “I love you and no.” This is something most of us weren’t taught growing up so it sounds a little counterintuitive. For that reason, it’s helpful to keep this one in your back pocket.

You can feel a lot of love for someone and say no. For example, if your husband swears at you, you can love yourself and love him, and hold a boundary to remove yourself from that situation. Setting a boundary from love means that you are loving yourself, you’re loving him, and in order to do both, you need to leave the room he’s in.

Another example might be if your child has a friend who wants her to have a sleep over and she doesn’t want to. She can still love her friend and say no. “I love you so much, friend, and for me, this is a no! I look forward to playing together next week instead.” (Or whatever she wants to say.)

The key is seeing that love is something that you do for you, as a feeling, not for other people. You will create more loving action that often benefits others when you feel love, but that isn’t the purpose of love. Love is a feeling. And you can say no all day long from love.

5. Love doesn’t cause pain.

It can seem like love creates pain but this is not true. Emotional pain is created from our thoughts. And the thoughts that create emotional pain are different thoughts than create love.

For example, if you love your dog and your dog dies, you won’t feel heartbroken because you loved your dog. You’ll feel heartbroken because of a sentence in your head like “I’m so sad my dog died and I miss him so much.” That thought creates sadness. And in this case, most likely, you want to be sad about it. The thoughts that create love are different thoughts, like “I love my dog so very much.”

Thoughts always create feelings. Love is a feeling. It doesn’t create pain. Remember this. It will save you a lot of time (and thousands on therapy—kidding!).

6. Love benefits you, not the other person.

Feelings don’t jump out of your body into other people’s bodies. So when you feel love, you are the beneficiary of the love. You get to feel the love. It impacts you.

What often happens is that when you feel love, other people interpret that as nice to be around. They’re influenced by your insofar as they mirror your energy. You don’t cause them to feel love, though. It’s important you see this distinction. Other people’s thoughts create their feelings. You create their feelings.

Love for your sake. Love feels amazing.

7. Feeling love more often doesn’t make you a better person.

Yes, love feels amazing, but feeling more of it doesn’t make you a “better” person. There’s no morality to feelings. As human beings we all feel a wide range of feelings—happy, glad, elated, content, bored, anxious, worried, disappointed, etc. Some feelings are more helpful than others for creating the lives we want to create, but in no way do you become “better” if you feel love more often.

So go easy on yourself if you can’t access love when you want to. It’s all because of the thoughts in your mind, nothing else. You’re not better nor worse if you feel love.

8. The people who are hardest to love are often your greatest teachers.

The brain loves coming up with reasons not to love other people, as if that changes them or protects us. In reality, if you don’t love someone, you just don’t feel love. That’s it. So, when someone in your personal life feels really hard to love, get curious. Ask yourself why. Why are you choosing not to love them? Remember: love doesn’t mean yes. You can love someone and not see them. So if your brain has a reason not to feel love it’s likely not a useful one. And some of the people who are hardest to love in our lives end up being our greatest teachers.

If you have a difficult person in your life, check out the Mom On Purpose Membership to get the Relationship Toolkit and repair your relationship today.

9. Anything and everyone is lovable.

You can love anything and anyone. You can love flowers, cupcakes, butterflies, paper clips, TV shows, spiders, cars, socks, and people—of course, people. Everyone is lovable.

The object of your love doesn’t matter. It can be anything or anyone. Love doesn’t come from the thing or the person. Love comes from your brain. Something that you hate, someone else adores. Someone that you can’t stand someone else loves to no end. Love is subjective because it’s created by the lover. The one loving.

Get good at feeling love. Because, why not?

For more self love tools, listen to the Mom On Purpose With Natalie Bacon podcast every Wednesday.

A Final Note

Just like some people are really good at feeling confident or happy or calm, you can get really good at feeling love. By modeling this for your kids, you’ll set an example of love for them that they can use in their lives, too. The ripple effect will be amazing.