What is true love? Unconditional love? A father showed what it was when he recently made the news. His wife gave birth to their son and then they found out he had Down syndrome. His wife gave him an ultimatum: either place their son for adoption or get a divorce. Well, one week after their son’s birth, the wife filed for divorce. The father stood by his son.
What have your children done that made you “not like them”? Throw a tantrum in a store? Say no to everything you ask them to do? Come home after curfew? Talk back? You might not “like” them at that moment, but you still love them. You set up rules, chores, and boundaries because you love them and you want them to learn and stay safe.
I have a friend that says to her children, “I love you, but I don’t like you right now.” And that is totally true. When our children push our buttons and we get to our wits end, we still love them.
There are many ways to show our children we love them. One big thing we can do is “Time In” versus “Time Out.” Obviously, you know what works best for your child, but Time In has been found to be very beneficial since most of the time a child misbehaves to get attention. Read here for more information about the technique. Whether it is just sitting on the couch together to calm down or reading a book together, a Time In satisfies your child’s need for attention in a positive manner and will benefit both you and your child.
“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”
– Erich Fromm (Soul Pancake)
I truly agree with that statement. Love is more than a feeling; it is a commitment. It requires work and not just saying “I love you.” Our children deserve that work and commitment from us.