By Team BLAM
One of our favorite books is “The Five Love Languages Of Children”. While we haven’t read it from beginning to end we have learned a lot about the way that children perceive the world, their parents, and the love that is shown (or not shown) to them. If someone were to ask you if you love your children unconditionally, I’m sure you would say “Of course.” And, while I believe that to be true the real question here is “Do your children believe it?”
Children need love expressed unconditionally. Regardless of what they look like, their strengths and weaknesses, regardless of what we expect them to be or how we expect them to act. The “Five Love Languages Of Children” brings this point home beautifully.
We can best define unconditional love by showing what it does. Unconditional love shows love to a child no matter what. This does not mean that we like all of her behavior. It does mean that we give and show love to our child all the time, even when her behavior is poor.
Does this sound like permissiveness? It is not. Rather, it is doing first things first. A child’s emotional tank must be filled before any effective training or discipline can take place. Some people fear that this may lead to “spoiling” a child, but that is a misconception. No child can receive too much appropriate unconditional love. A child may be “spoiled” by a lack of training or by inappropriate love that gives or trains incorrectly. True unconditional love will never spoil a child because it is impossible for parents to give too much of it.
If you have not loved your children in this way, you may find it difficult at first. But, as you practice unconditional love, you will find it has a wonderful effect, as you become a more giving and loving person in all of your relationships.
You may find it helpful to frequently remind yourself of some rather obvious things about your children:
1. They are children.
2. They will tend to act like children.
3. Much childish behavior is unpleasant.
4. If I do my part as a parent and love them, despite their childish behavior, they will mature and give up their childish ways.
5. If I love them only them when they please me (conditional love), and If I express my love to them only at those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This will damage their self-image, make them feel insecure, and actually prevent them from moving into better self-control and more mature behavior. Therefore, their development and behavior is as much my responsibility as it is theirs.
6. If I love them only when they meet my requirements or expectations, they will feel incompetent and will believe it is pointless to do their best, since it is never enough. They will always be plagued by insecurity, anxiety, low self-esteem, and anger. To guard against this, remind yourself often of your responsibility for their total growth.
7. If I love them unconditionally and show them that love unconditionally, they will feel comfortable about themselves and will be able to control their anxiety and their behavior as they grow into adulthood.
BLAM Fam: How important do you think it is to make sure our children know that we love them unconditionally? Do you think that our children might focus more on our reactions to them at times, rather than the ever present love we have for them in our hearts?