||Unconditional love does not
infer acceptance of misbehavior. Psychologist James Read, Ph.D.
says, "Unconditional love of the child as a person is vital, and
so is the setting of limits and teaching appropriate
boundaries." Parents can let the child know, "I don't like what
you did, and I still love you." Parents can use logical and
natural consequences, encouragements, reflective listening, 'I'
messages, etc. to reduce misbehavior while at the same time
communicating unconditional love. It can be done.
Parents need to monitor their own thinking about their
children. Thoughts such as "Oh, I can't stand it when he does
that! He's a bad boy!" lead to angry feelings and punitive
actions toward the child.
When parents keep their thoughts more along the lines of "I
love this child of mine, and I need to set up a consequence
here." It works wonders for the parent-child relationship. As my
friend Linda, a mother of four boys says, "It's the love that
gets you through."
An excellent way for parents to express unconditional love is
by giving their children focused attention every day. Focused
attention is simply spending time with our children. Being with
our kids, doing what they want to do, is love. Sit and play
Candyland or chess with her and she will feel loved. If parents
are willing to give their children attention and time together,
they will feel self-confident and loved.
Kathryn Kvols writer in Redirecting Children's Behavior:
"Unconditional love is essential in raising self-confident
children that love themselves and the world in which we live.
They need to feel there is nothing they have to do, like keep
their rooms clean to earn our love." Just by being who they are,
our children are worthy of our unconditional love.