This may sound strange, but I'd like Jada to love me less and Aaron to love me more.
Let me explain. Jada and I have a great relationship, which I wouldn't trade for the whole world. But as her dad, part of my job is to push her. Which means sometimes stretching her past how far she'd want to go on her own.
Some parents recoil at the thought: "Let kids grow at their own pace." I certainly don't want to force her in a direction she's not meant to go. But I do think there's something to be said about challenging our kids to grow past what they think are their limits. That's how you grow, is by stretching.
And how you stretch sometimes, especially if you're a kid, is by having someone push you past your present capabilities. So, within reason, if Jada is chafing at me, I take it as a good indication that we're pushing into new territory, and not as a sign that I should throttle back.
As for Aaron, he needs a more tender touch. When I bang on him, he shuts down. And so while I don't stop pushing, I need to balance that with some softer and kinder ways. He needs to know that my incessant harping is coming from the same place as an equally fierce love for him.
When he meets my barking with love in return, I'll know I've gotten through to him. Because I'll know then that he gets that I also care for him and that this is just one expression of that love.
Kids: you love 'em to death, and you drive yourself silly figuring out whether you're being too hard or too easy on 'em. At least that's what goes on in my head and in our house.