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Unconditional Love: Nurturing the Bond with Our Children

Updated: Jan 25

We know we love our children, on account of we:

  1. Wake up

  2. Organize the chaos

  3. Dress them, feed them

  4. Do a couple hundred tasks to keep them alive and well

  5. Maybe cry a little

  6. Lovingly put them to bed

And of course between tailoring every part of our day to them, we think about them, worry for them, miss them. You know you love your children.

But uhh, do they know that? Young children can’t rationalize that because you take care of them, of course you love them. They know you do those things for them because they can’t! For them, their family makes everything possible for them. But would they call it love?

To be honest, they just don’t know what love means yet. Not cognitively. Instinctively they do. But there’s another level of love that steps up the game for both parents and children. When children behave a certain way, do their mom or dad or aunt still love them? That’s a huge question in children’s minds when we get mad or frustrated with their misbehaviors - when they do something and they see us all tense, looking down at them, disapproving what they just did. How can we love them even at those times?

We know we do, of course. We don’t stop loving our children when they do “bad” things. But again we ask: do they know that? The extent of our reaction to their behavior is the measure of how much they feel “unloved.” Things are hunky dory until something adverse happens. They think, “Mom has that look and she’s not happy with me.”

See here is where you can teach them about Unconditional Love. The way we respond to them can rattle their whole world. Once in a while, it needs to be rattled, right? Like when they do something really dangerous or hurtful. But those times are rare.

It’s so important to be mindful about how and when you get onto them, because it affects their:

  • View of themselves

  • View of the world

  • Trust

  • Natural impulse to explore and learn

So how do we make sure they know that they don’t have to earn our love, or worry about losing it?

  • When they are behaving, point it out and praise them to strengthen their confidence

  • When you correct them, use reason to explain why what they did is not OK

  • Keep it short so they don’t feel bad for unnecessarily long. They’re smart, they get it!

  • Get down to their level, use eye contact and speak calmly when you do correct them

We do all that to keep the love flowing even when it’s, you know, wildly unpleasant sometimes. Remember that everything you model for them now, like good communication and resiliency, determines their success and happiness in future relationships.

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