Should you love your child unconditionally Mom and Dad?
The answer, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is a resounding yes.
And I’m sure that there’s no doubt that you love your child, unconditionally.
There’s a big mistake, though, that many parents make. And this is causing kids to believe that their love is conditional.
Love Should NOT Be Tied to Accomplishments
Now, I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say that love shouldn’t be tied to accomplishments. And I don’t believe that any parent intentionally means to do this… but all too often parents tell their kids that they EXPECT straight As or EXPECT a certain performance in sports.
In other words, they expect a certain level of accomplishment.
Some parents even take it a step further by saying that if that expectation isn’t met, privileges will be taken away.
The message kids are, unfortunately, receiving is that if that accomplishment isn’t achieved, mom or dad won’t love me the same way.
As Parenting Expert Holly Anderson explains, family is about learning to love unconditionally.
How to Show Your Kids that You Love Them Unconditionally
Focus on Effort over Accomplishments
There’s always room for improvement, for all of us. But everyone has different strengths and skills, so it’s important to focus on effort over accomplishments. If your child is putting in a lot of effort but comes out with a C, that’s reason to celebrate.
By focusing on effort, you’ll also be teaching your child a growth mindset and encouraging hard work.
Teach Your Child That Feelings Are Okay
As Holly explains, children are allowed to have feelings and their feelings aren’t wrong.
Their behavior might be wrong (like lashing out in anger because he doesn’t get his way), but the feelings, themselves, aren’t wrong.
Empathy is unconditional love in action.
Empathize with the feelings that your child is experiencing. It doesn’t mean you’re endorsing the bad behavior, but you’re letting him or her know you understand the feelings she’s experiencing.
It’s also a good idea to address the bad behavior at a later time, after your child (and possibly you) have calmed down. You aren’t going to accomplish anything if your child is being irrational and worked up. Take a look at this video on the Yes Brain for a better explanation why.
As Fred Rogers said:
“When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”
Control Your Own Anger
We all have moments where our kids make us completely lose our tempers. They have a way of causing us to experience every extreme emotion, don’t they?
However, unconditional love means that our children feel our love at all times without having to do anything at all, including behaving.
Again, this doesn’t mean you let bad behavior slide. In fact, the best type of parenting style is authoritative, which has clear limits and boundaries for kids as well as repercussions for actions.
But kids should know that regardless of what mistakes they make, you’ll still love them.
Final Thoughts on How to Love Your Child Unconditionally
Our kids need to know that regardless of the mistakes they make (and they will make some big ones) and regardless of the accomplishments they make, you’ll still love them. The best way to show this is:
- Praise effort over accomplishment
- Let them know their feelings are okay
- Control your own anger
Do you have any thoughts on how to show your kids unconditional love? Leave us a comment below or jump into our Facebook group and join the conversation.