Advertisement

The Power of Unconditional Love in Parenting


Much about the psychology of raising children is at best theory, and even then, it is often theory without rigorous research to back it up. If it sounds reasonable to a 40-year-old, it is assumed to be true for a four-year-old as well. But there is one thing that we know for sure: children require unconditional love to mature in strong ways with the capacity to form and maintain loving relationships.

Unconditional love is just that–unconditional. It doesn’t matter about school grades, performance on athletic teams, behavior at the dinner table, or attitude. I am convinced that unconditional love is more difficult to deliver than we may think. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t automatic. We just cannot give it all the time, in all circumstances. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be perfect or constant. It just has to be good enough and often enough.

It is unconditional love that tells our children that we believe in them and trust them regardless of how successful they may be in any particular endeavor. It is unconditional love that gives them reassurance that they are in a safe place, able to test their own limits, and explore their own feelings. It is unconditional love that makes it possible for children to develop resilience and the courage to fall, get up, dust themselves off, and try again.

Our children need to hear that we love them “no matter what.” They need the physical contact and affirmation–such as hugs–that communicate love and the message that we want to be close to them. They need for us to be clear about the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is the condition that exists when I have done something wrong. Shame is the notion that I am a bad person because of it. Children need correction and direction; we all do. Shame is destructive.

Most of all, unconditional love is communicated by the honest act of loving without limits. It isn’t a technique. It is simply what happens when we love. Children know it when they see it. ■

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

01 Mar 2017


By Reverend Joe Reynolds

Recent Articles more articles

Primary, Urgent, or Emergency Care? When and How to Make the Call

in Health and Wellness

When should you make an appointment with your doctor? How “urgent” is urgent care? Is it time to go to the emergency room?

Manners of the Heart

in Local Profile

She began going to lunch, armed with red paper napkins and silly puppets with spaghetti-filled mouths, to teach the children basic table manners, how to write thank-you notes, and how to have respect for one another.

25 Days of Peace

in Holidays, Health and Wellness

The angels proclaimed on the first Christmas, “Peace and goodwill to all.” Yet, the Christmas season seems to be about everything but peace in our hectic, consumeristic society. We can sing all the Christmas tunes we want about peace, but unless we

Featured Listings more listings

Academy of the Sacred Heart

in Private Schools

Academy of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic, single gender, college prep for girls grades PreK3-12. An international boarding school begins at grade 7.

Bethany Christian School

in Private Schools

Our Mission is to provide a Christ-centered learning environment where students are able to learn who they are in Christ and to discover and develop their God-given talents to empower them to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.

Advertisement
Newsletter