Creative Child

The Incredible Gift of Loving Your Child “As Is”

by Rebecca Eanes

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A sense of belonging, of being known and liked and accepted, has been found to guard against mental health problems and improve children’s ability to learn. This doesn’t just matter in the school environment but perhaps even more importantly at home, where connection is the parenting key, and children who feel wholly loved, accepted, and connected behave better and grow up happier.

It’s good practice to ask yourself, before you correct your child, if what you are about to correct is for their benefit or yours. Is it a behavior or trait you personally find annoying, or is it causing the child a significant problem? Sometimes what we fight so hard to correct will either be self-corrected with age and maturity or isn’t a true problem behavior in the first place but rather an annoyance to our day. Sometimes it is necessary to simply accept that your child is who he is, and the best thing for him isn’t another admonition but to show him love and acceptance right here and now.

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The second good practice is to use a language of acceptance, even as you correct and guide. This means placing a focus on the problem with the behavior, not with the person, and very importantly, showing faith in your child’s ability to do well. The message is “this behavior isn’t acceptable, but you are learning, I believe in you, and I’m here for you.” This is in stark contrast to “this behavior is unacceptable and I am so disappointed in you.” A large part of parenting is about trusting - trusting your child, trusting nature, and trusting the process of development.

We all have a strong, innate desire to feel known and loved and to feel like we are enough. So many people grow into adulthood still searching, still longing to be accepted because acceptance wasn’t given in childhood. If there is one gift you can give a child that will bring a lifetime of benefits, it’s the gift of acceptance. Delight in them. From your unwavering “as is” love, your child can feel totally at rest, and from that rest, grow into who he or she was meant to be.

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.

 

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