Love and Discipline and Children
Love to a child is like water to fish. They don’t know anything else. A child is made through the miracle of love. Well, at least the act of love. They grow up in the most intimate, devoted environment - their Mom! Listening to her voice, feeling her movements, and receiving her affection. After birth, babies live in all that love for a while. To them, that tenderness is always going to be there through the milk, the toys, the music, the cuddles until they grow their own will and form their own identity.
Here, the form and vehicles of that love change, and it’s hard for them to understand, just as it’s hard for parents to navigate because humans need boundaries and stability. Children have to be brought up with them in order to function well in that big, wild world out there.
Love shouldn’t always mean:
Receiving everything you want
Doing anything you want
Getting your way all the time
The world revolves around you
All that’s easier said than done when it comes to a child, right? Especially because their little brains haven’t grasped the complexities of love. But the key is to get into those intricacies with them. Sometimes, love is teaching them that we have to:
Think of others
Care for others
Follow the rules (of bedtime, manners, sharing valentine’s candy with Mom)
This is a delicate balance because love cannot be withheld when a child doesn’t follow the rules or when they hide all their chocolate under a pillow. Love has to be a reliable bed they can climb into when the world becomes difficult. They, and we all, need the security that love exists unconditionally, even when mistakes are made or rules are broken. For parents, the difficulty lies in communicating the rules consistently, firmly, yet lovingly. It’s a dance, it’s emotional art, it’s love.