Children need to feel secure. Few feel secure when there are conflicts occurring around them. Few can relax inwardly when others around them are shouting, accusing, criticizing and hating each other. To a small child, tension between parents, or between parents and the child or other children, constitute a deep chasm of insecurity.
When the conflict is between the parents, it is often worse for the child. The child has not yet learned to feel separate itself from the parents. It feels identification with both parents. Thus when they are in conflict, it feels that the conflict is taking place between two parts of its own being. It might even begin hating itself as a result.
Children cannot feel secure if the parents do not feel secure. If we are constantly worrying and have anxiety about money, health and the future, then our children will automatically be programmed to feel insecure about these aspects of life. This insecurity will remain with them and they will waste large portions of time, energy and thought throughout their life, trying in vain to find «security» by controlling these external circumstances. As adults, it is possible that this inner programming that we are not secure may never be appeased. Thus the most effective way to offer a security base to our children is not to be found in providing them with a large inheritance but rather to establish an inner feeling of security within ourselves. If we believe in ourselves and in our ability to cope with all of life’s situations, the child will feel the same. As we feel more secure, we will have less moments of conflict with others and our home will be in general more peaceful and more supportive for the child.
We all know that a child needs love and want to be able to love our children unconditionally; but it is not so easy. We are human beings with needs, feelings, expectations, attachments, fears and conditionings which prevent us from being able to accept tour children independently of their behavior. Having children is an excellent opportunity in life to develop unconditional love. We are more inclined to forgive, overlook and to continue loving when we feel that this is our child.
What do we mean by unconditional love? We mean that our feelings of love and acceptance for our children do not change or fluctuate depending on what they do or say, or what they decide to do with their lives. It is not necessary to love and accept tour children’s behavior. We must make a distinction between our children’s being, soul or consciousness and their behavior. We can reject a certain behavior, and explain so to them, without rejecting their being or self. “I love you but I am disturbed by this particular behavior.”
Our children need to know that we accept and love them regardless of what they may do, but also that certain forms of behavior are not acceptable to us. We should, however, investigate for ourselves why this behavior is not acceptable. Is it because it will be potentially harmful to the child, to someone else, or to ourselves? Or is it simply because we are programmed that it should not be done? Or does the behavior conflict with our expectations based on our personal needs and dreams for the child? Or are we afraid of what the others will think about our child and subsequently about us?
We must be very clear about why we are rejecting a certain behavior. Our rejection can come out of a place of real love and concern for the child, if, in fact, we are not simply protecting our own interests. As long as a certain behavior does no real harm to anyone, it is best to allow the child to pursue it. Something within them, some need is guiding them to explore that kind of activity. They have something to learn through doing that. This does not mean that there are not moments where control or even natural or logical consequences may be necessary. But we need to be sure that the reasons are valid and have to do with real issues of safety or morality and not because we are disappointed with the their grades or selection of hobbies, interests or friends.
In order to love our children unconditionally, we will need to start loving ourselves unconditionally. We will have to let go of all the prerequisites we have put on our own self-love. We will need to love ourselves even though we are not perfect, even though we make mistakes, even when others do not love and accept us. The more we free our self-love from the various prerequisites, the more our love for our children and others will become unconditional.
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