The home is a wonderful environment for teaching children essential life skills. Why?
Because in the home, children are (or at least more likely to be) surrounded by unconditional love.
Unconditional love is giving your affection without limitations and is often associated with “altruism” or “mother’s love”. It’s unchanging, selfless and knows no bounds.
Unfortunately, it’s all to common to lapse into conditional love where we expect our children to earn our love through conscious or sub-conscious conditions. This conditional love doesn’t fill their emotional “bank”.
Children are adults in training and they’ll make mistakes while they are training (as will any trainee). If their emotional “bank” is full of unconditional love, they’ll be less likely to feel resentment, fear, unloved and insecure when it’s necessary to push or discipline them. They’ll know that no matter what their grade is, their opinions, or their behaviour in a fleeting moment, we will be there for them with unchanging love.
So how can we show our children unconditional love?
Separate the child from the behaviour. To do this, you need to love your child for who they are, not what they do. Using phrases like “I don’t like (then name the behaviour)” can help.
Physically love them with all the appropriate hugs, kisses, cuddles they desire.
Focus on them. Make eye contact when speaking to them and really focus on and listen to what they’re saying.
Encourage them to believe in themselves. Help them develop a healthy self-esteem. Make sure you’re positive about them and let them see it in your eyes, words and actions.
Give them what they need be it strength, opportunities, time, hugs, advice, etc, accepting that there is no benefit to you.
Love them for no reason.
Say yes whenever you can. If it’s not illegal, immoral, likely to hurt them or someone else, appropriate for their age and unlikely to impact on their lives in the future, just let it go.
Don’t live your life through your child. There is nothing personal for you about what your child achieves or doesn’t achieve. Keep your emotions out of it.
At times, loving our children unwaveringly can be difficult. By doing it, we are laying foundations that are firm enough to take the weight of the responsible adult they’ll become in the future.
Do you love your children unconditionally? Why not share on a CANDo email or in the comments below how you’ve been tested and what you did?