Accentuate the positive with your kids. Praise and acknowledge them, and tell them how much you love them, how wonderful they are. Spare no effort to let them know how important they are to you, how much you cherish and value them, even if you don't always see eye to eye on everything or if your relations are strained.

If you have small children, kiss and hug them frequently. Get as physically close as you can. Let them see by your actions how much you adore them, how attentive and willing you are to extend yourself to them. Don't wait for them to come to you, or "reward" them with your affection only if they're "good" and do what you tell them to do. Demonstrate your love for them today unconditionally, as if your feelings were a fountain that had no choice but to overflow.

If you have teenagers, they might not respond to such outpourings of physical affection, so you might have to be more subtle in your actions. Be specific. Remind them of things you like and value about them. Indicate over and over how much your sons or daughters mean to you, what wonderful people they have turned out to be. Again, regardless of the quality of your day-to-day relationship, make sure that today everything is all admiration, regard, and respect. If you think your child is a no-good, stubborn brat, then change your thinking. What you think is what you get, so start finding positive ways to view your child.

If you have no children, you can easily practice this suggestion with someone else's. Make sure you relate to your nieces, nephews, neighbor's kids, and godchildren in a positive manner. Perhaps you could even serve as a model for their own parents.

Keep in mind that your opinion of your kids and the way you demonstrate that opinion is probably the most important input in your child's life, whether he or she is seven, seventeen, or thirty-seven. You have tremendous influence on your child's self-esteem, and how much love both you and your child derive from your family has everything to do with how much of it you express. There is no greater, more significant place to show your feelings than with your kids. It's something you'll never regret, and you won't want to look back on your life when you are near the end and feel bad that you didn't let them know often enough how much they meant to you.

If you haven't demonstrated your best effort in this category, it's not too late to start. Many parents and children do not begin to have rewarding relationships until the child is well into adulthood. You can begin at any time.

Alan Epstein in How to Have More Love in Your Life