Mother’s day offers are bombarding the market. Once again, we are back to that time of the year when we celebrate the purest form of love: unconditional love. Mothers should love their children infinitely and unconditionally. However, some parenting mistakes can hinder the way children feel loved, affecting their long term perception of love.
Children need unconditional love to thrive. Accepting our children unapologetically enables us to raise them without judgement. More often than we think, parents intentionally, or unintentionally use love as a tool to manipulate their children’s behaviors.
Today, Amina Diab, a child psychologist, parent coach and a mother of 2, is going to explain to us how can we make children feel loved unconditionally.
1. Many parents use approval and shame as manipulative tools to control their children’s behaviors. Why should we liberate our children from the need of our approval ?
I have personally fallen into this trap too many times. As parents we think, why is it so bad for my child to seek approval from me, after all, I AM the most important person in their life. Well, yes, for now, but soon, there will be other important people that enter your child’s life and, because this has become a habit, your child will aim to please and seek their approval as well. Why? All because this is the main way they felt loved, belonging or important growing up.
2. How can we do this?
Instead of making it about you, make it about your child. As much as we hate to admit it, the idea of parenting has nothing to do with us, and more of everything to do with how to bring out the best in our kids. Make the conscious decision, to turn everything around to your child’s happiness and well-being. If your opinion is being asked for, by all means give it, but after you initially highlighted that your child’s opinion is most important.
3. It’s very common in our culture to constantly praise little girls for their cute outfits, how beautiful they are, or comment on their weight. Soon they learn that people basically give them love based on their appearance. How can this affect their self image?
We live in a world that is appearance-conscious already as it is, add to that expectations and you have set your little one up for a lot of pressure, guilt, comparisons and the confidence level that comes with all that. If appearance is always the first aspect anyone comments about to your girls, what does that say about the importance of their personality, their understanding or interests? I know it’s hard to shield your girls from what media brings to the table and I am not suggesting that you should, but I am encouraging you to highlight the importance of intellect, curiosity and kindness to your daughters.
4. You always mention the phrase that “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. How can a mother’s self compassion make her children feel more loved?
I strongly believe that that one of the prominent methods children learn and pick up behaviors, attitudes and mindsets is through their experience of watching others, mainly those they spend time with the most: parents. Have you ever stopped in awe after your child just reciprocated the exact phrase you would say in the exact manner you would usually say it? Well just like words, children learn about feelings too, especially how they feel about themselves, and their best teacher is you, the parent.
To raise happy, confident and responsible children, this begins with you, you must first demonstrate genuine actions that depict these values, all by learning to take-care and love yourself. Actually the continuation of that quote is “you cant pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first”