To love your child unconditionally simply means that parents accept their children completely and with “no strings attached”.
While we all love our children, sometimes we wish Mother Nature had tweaked them just a little before sending the Stork our way.
Perhaps you’re embarrassed by how your son stomps his feet on the playground. Maybe your daughter screams at you when you try to shampoo her hair, or she has an attitude that would make a teenager blush. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a little boy but had a girl instead. Or you’ve always dreamt of having a little girl but were given two rowdy boys instead.
Children who flourish are those who feel loved, accepted, and valued just as they are. Unconditional love is accepting who our child is, including the things we wish we could change, and cherishing them for being that person, even when they drive us nuts.
Here are six ways to learn to appreciate your child and give them the unconditional love they deserve.
1. Take time to enjoy your child’s company: Your delight in your child may be the most essential aspect of their development. Children must understand that they motivate their parents to care for them. Make a point of telling your child regularly how fortunate you are to be their parent and that you could never love anyone else more than they do.
2. Take an interest in the things your child enjoys: While you may not enjoy playing Lego for hours or getting dirty playing in the mud, try and find interest in the things your child enjoys doing, and do those things with your child as often as you can.
3. See the good: When something about your child’s behaviour makes you upset, keep in mind that their weaknesses are always balanced by their virtues. If your daughter has trouble controlling her anger when others disrespect her, is she a passionate fighter against injustice? Is your son’s procrastination an indication of the kind of imagination that will one day turn him into a great novelist?
4. Consider things from your child’s point of view: Try and see things from your child’s point of view, especially during times of conflict. Imagine your “younger self”, and ask what you would have done if put in the same position.
5. Demonstrate empathy: Sympothise with the challenges in your child’s life – no matter how small or trivial they seem. For small children, molehills often appear as mountains. Practice telling your child phrases like, “I understand! You’d want to…”, “You seem sad today. Can I help you?”. “You’re disappointed, and it’s okay to feel that way”.
6. Take a look at yourself in the mirror: What drives us insane about our child is sometimes something we refuse to face about ourselves. If we think our child is being stubborn, we should consider who he’s brushing up against. A power struggle necessitates the participation of two people. Is it because we had to suppress our own enormous sentiments when our parents ordered us to stop overreacting that we think she’s a “drama queen”? We often discover that if we can stretch ourselves to grow, our problem with our child fades away.