- (Photo: In Touch Ministries)
By expressing unconditional love, parents are empowered to raise their children to be confident adults. When we accept each child's unique nature, we lay a foundation for good self-esteem. Often, we unintentionally inflict damage on a young one's ego by confusing actions with personhood-a child might hear criticism as "I'm bad" rather than "my behavior was wrong." Children need parental guidance and discipline, but these must be wrapped in actions and language that convey love.
The alternative-correction aimed at making a child into the adult Mom or Dad desires (instead of the one God intends)-promotes a rebellious spirit. Think of the popular child-rearing axiom "Pick your battles" in these terms: "Pick the battles that affect the child's soul." Passing fads and weird clothing or hair choices are not worthy battles, whereas issues related to honesty, integrity, and obedience call for a parent's guidance.
The result of unconditional love and its by-products-self-esteem and obedience-is that children build good relationships. They will be prepared to accept others with the same attitude their parents showed them. This is important because a wounded child will one day struggle to express wholehearted love to a marriage partner or to receive it in return.
Conveying acceptance to a child doesn't cost money, but it does take time. Parents love their kids through actions and attitudes-namely, taking an interest in a child's activities, listening intently, and offering encouragement and praise. Do your kids know you love them?
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