Conditional Love in Parenting
As humans living in society, we usually have very definitive opinions about what is good and bad and what is wrong and right. We try to raise our children to be the best possible adults according to our own definition of what that is. Sometimes ideas of wrong and right completely conflict with each other and it is rare that these issues are black and white, but rather come in many shades of grey.
In raising our children, sometimes we get so caught up with trying to raise the person we want, that we forget to look at the person they are. This is when conditional love starts to break away at the child. Most of us have been raised with conditional love by our own parents. We felt love and warmth when we acted in ways that they expected us to and received disappointment, anger and shame when we behaved in ways that they deemed wrong. This broke our confidence and sense of independence. Children want their parents to accept who they are, not try to change who they are. It is hard to know when we are trying to correct a child's behavior and when we are going against their nature. It is very easy to love our children, liking them, however, sometimes requires some effort. Take a step back and really evaluate what emotions your child stirs within you. Our desires and hopes for ourselves are directly linked to the expectations we have of our children.
What we want for ourselves, we want for them. This is human nature. Sometimes we put tremendous pressure on our children to be someone and behave in ways which are not balanced with who they are or who they want to be. Our support and love sometimes depends on how closely our kid behaves according to our own expectations. This can be very harmful to kids. As adults we are very hurt or angered when our parents do it to us. As parents, conditional love sometimes is more natural to us than the opposite. Many of us were raised in that way.
Take some time to reflect on the love, acceptance and support you did or did not receive from your own parents. Have you made decisions based on what they approved or disapproved of? Think of how you treat your own children and if you would or would not accept them if they lived very different lives from your own. It is interesting to try to define for yourself what parental love is and how it relates to your relationship with your own child. Remember your own journey growing up. It is directly linked to your child's. To find out more about how to love unconditionally, get in touch today.