I have been thinking about “an unconditional love” for our children for couple of weeks now. I have been thinking about the fact that not only young children, but also grown ups sometimes encounter some form of rejection of love from their parents, simply because they do not meet their parents expectations or goals. (The son has a different job than his patents have always wanted him to have, the daughter is bringing up her child in a different way than she is expected… her child is whining, and behaves exactly that way the grandparents condemn…)
I believe we should always show our love to our children. Whether they wake up with a smile on their face or with a lousy mood. No matter how the child looks, what is his nature or how he behaves, we should show our love. Very often the people I know will ask me “Do you want to spoil him?” No I don’t! Moreover, I don’t believe you can spoil a child by showing him you love him. You can spoil a child by being inconsistent, having poor leadership, by setting wrong boundaries or setting no boundaries at all. But by showing too much love? By being kind, paying attention or saying a nice word? Is it even possible, especially in this day and age?
Although I try my best, it’s sometimes very difficult to show enough love to a child who is really getting on my nerves or is testing my patience or the boundaries. I know that I always want my children to know that I like them very much, even if I’m angry about what they have done. But I do not always have the energy, strength and patience to tell them what I want. Sometimes I’m grateful to keep my calm and not go totally mad.
Even though I keep telling people about how important it is to me that the love for my children is not conditional, I still hear comments like these: “nice children do not throw tantrums”, “this is not our girl, our girl wouldn’t scream”, “we like him so much because he doesn’t cry”, or “if you behave like that, nobody will like you” and so on. Sometimes I’m thoughtful enough to tell the kids that of course they are being loved very much even though they cry and that some people just do not know how to react when children are being difficult.
I believe a child is just a child. He will test the boundaries and our patience, he will behave “childishly” – well, how else should a child behave?! And if it makes us upset – it’s our own problem, isn’t it? We shouldn’t take our love away from our children! It will only cause their insecurities, anxieties and low self-confidence. Children shouldn’t be forced to do what we want them to do all the time just so they deserve our love. Would they feel truly and unconditionally loved? After all, it may just damage the way they see themselves, and perhaps it may prevent them in some way from their growth and development. How can I then expect my child to love me under any circumstances? Even if I don’t do exactly what he wants me to do? Even if I have my own “crisis”?
I honestly want to get to the point where my children will know that I’ll always love them. Even if I’m angry with them and even if they are in a big trouble. And I’d rather they always do what they want to do. Our children shouldn’t do things just to please us (some of my friends went to university just to please their parents or got jobs that their parents wanted them to have), our children should follow their own path.
I understand it is easier said than done. But I wish we all had the strength to do things the way we believe they are right and how we feel about them and not the way we are expected to do it or how it’s dictated by some sort of a “social code”.