Creative Child

Liking the Child That You Love

by Rebecca Eanes on Oct 31st, 2014

There is a lot of talk about unconditionally loving our children but perhaps not enough about how important it is to like them. As our sweet bundles grow and test boundaries and stretch our patience, it can become all too easy to fall into the insidious trap of looking at that child through a negative lens. Because we only see what it is we are looking for, we begin to only see the testing, the misbehavior, the whining, the aggression, the child who just will not go to sleep. Then ever so slowly, without us mindfully realizing what is occurring, we begin to feel a pang of resentment – of dislike. At this point, it becomes very difficult to notice the good, to see beyond the faults into the heart of that child which beats with goodness and love and purpose. Resentment is blinding.

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While it's true that children need our love to thrive, what we've generally swept under the rug is that they need us to like them, too. They need us to see them, see who they are, and to like what it is that we see, because this ultimately is how they come to see themselves. Therefore, it's essential to the well-being of our children and to the peace and contentment within our homes that we learn to see through a positive lens, even through times of trial.  

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If you're struggling with feelings of resentment or not liking your child right now, could one of these be the cause?

1.  You were expecting/hoping for someone different, easier, more like you, more like your spouse, a better sleeper, not so intense, etc.

2.  You're worn out, exhausted, and stretched too thin.

3.  You're focusing too much on the negative characteristics.

4.  You're distracted, juggling too much, and not able to take the time to connect.

Relationships can be messy, and it's okay to not always be in harmony. Sometimes we misstep in the parenting dance. We cha-cha when we should salsa. We get out of sync, and there lies another treacherous trap – guilt. We should have done better. We should have said that differently. We turn the negative lens off of them and onto ourselves, and while it is important to acknowledge and understand our mistakes so that we can correct them, it is utterly useless to wallow in the guilt. Here is where we must call forth compassion for ourselves and for our children, realizing that we are all imperfect humans and that is perfectly fine. Move on.

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Related Article: The Brain Science That Changes Parenting

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