Have you ever wished you could be a more patient parent? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent study of 2,200 parents, 60 percent said they wish they had more patience. Forty-seven percent wished they did a better job of controlling their emotions and reactions while parenting. Yet in this same study, 91 percent of parents said parenting is their greatest joy.
While it may be one of our greatest joys, it can be difficult for us to have patience and to control our reactions sometimes. One of the keys to addressing these problems—and to be successful overall as a parent—is unconditional love.
Although there’s certainly more than enough parenting advice available in books and on the internet, most parents say they wish they had more preparation and parenting tools. I’ve discovered that there are no one-size-fits-all parenting tools or instructions; each kid is unique, and being an effective mom or dad means becoming a student of your child. But even if you feel like you know your child inside and out, parenting will be a tough slog if you don’t raise your child with unconditional love.
Unconditional love is crucial for a number of reasons. One of them is the fact that parenting involves two-way influence. As parents, we can push our children’s buttons and expose their insecurities, but they can do the same to us. Likewise, parents can boost a child’s Self-Esteem (Asset #38) and Sense of Purpose (Asset #39), and kids can do the same for moms and dads.
One study on parenting identified four goals most parents tend to pursue in their parenting:
- Love and security (Asset #1: Family Support, Asset #11: Family Boundaries) – Focusing on loving and providing a sense of security for the child by being involved, supportive, attentive, emotionally available, and responsive.
- Self-Esteem (Asset #38) – Maintaining a positive image in others’ eyes; avoiding embarrassment.
- Developmental and experiential – Providing prospects for development and experience, including chores, trips, sports, and other opportunities (Asset Category: Boundaries & Expectations, Asset Category: Constructive Use of Time).
- Acceptance – Being accepted by the child; wanting to make the child happy in order to feel okay. This closely aligns with helicopter parenting when it is the main goal a parent pursues.
This study suggests that our parenting goals are either inspired by unconditional love for our kids with their benefit in mind or they are driven by our own insecurities, pain, loneliness, immaturity, or need for love. Pursuing goal #1 will help mainly eliminate goals #2 and #4 and will help provide a healthy foundation for goal #3.
In other words, if your goals are centered on unconditional love for your child instead of your own insecurity or need to fill a gap in love, you can build a strong foundation when it comes to providing a healthy parent-child experience and relationship.
Also, if your goals are motivated by unconditional love, the Boundaries and Expectations you set, and any direction and guidance you provide, will be driven by genuine care and concern and can make sense to your child (even if they may be unhappy with them at the moment).
When done with unconditional love, parenting can be transformational not only for your child, but for you as well.
RezilientKidz is a 501c3 educational organization created to champion the needs of children and equip parents to build thriving, healthy families. For information on our parenting curriculum, Raising Highly Capable Kids, contact us at 855-REZ-KIDZ or 8675 Explorer Drive, Col Springs, CO 80920.
Raising Highly Capable Kids Curriculum: https://www.rezilientkidz.com/raising-highly-capable-kids/
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