3 things we tell our children every day

IMG 0209 1210x423 - 3 things we tell our children every day

I love you.

When I speak of love I am talking about unconditional love. Not conditional love that comes with a burden. Conditional love is what you receive because you have done something good, or what you don’t get because you have done something wrong. It can also be a form of shame and a burden, and an excuse for the parents’ actions. If you grew up without hearing the words ‘I love you’ spoken out loud, then you know the importance of those 3 little words. They are not to be used in a way that puts blame on the child, ‘I only did it because I love you’, ‘Why are you not happy? I love you’. Even said in well-meaning ‘You did so good on your test, I love you’, leads the child to believe that she is only loved when she deserves it. This is conditional love.

Unconditional love is love in its purest most beautiful form. It is love that comes without anything else than the emotional wish to tell your child how much he is loved, no matter what. We tell our children that we love them several times a day. Often when they least expect it. It can not be said too many times. We tell them they are loved and precious when they cry, when they are angry, when they are smiling, when they are being cute, when they are just being themselves. I love you for who you are is unconditional love.

I am here for you.

I am going to give an example here of something that happened in our family the other day. Our children were playing happily outside when suddenly one of them came running to us. She was very angry and upset and frustrated practically over just being alive. She is an emotional girl and experiences the world around her with her emotions first. That means that all the rubbish on the streets, the tied up animals, the unfairnesses, the melting ice, the plastic oceans, the crying babies in strollers, all of it she reacts to with emotions. I know this because I do the same. In this situation, we felt it was hard to reach her and she felt she was drowning in it all.

Knowing how she was feeling I took her hand softly in mine and took her for a walk. I let her hit things, I screamed with her, I let her punch my palms, I ran beside her, I kicked the stones with her. Then I hugged her and I told her that I understand that it can get overwhelming sometimes and that it all builds up to an anger ball. Anger is often easier to handle than hurting. Together we peeled off the anger and met the tears. I stayed calm, telling her how I used to feel when I was little (I still do really, still learning to live with it), she told me how she was feeling and we let all of it out. Then she gave me a hug and told me that she loves me and ran off to pick 6 oranges, one for everyone in the family. And just like that, she was herself again, happy and calm.

I am telling you this because this is what I mean when I say I try to be there for my children in action not just in words. It is not my job to judge or tell her right or wrong. It is merely my job to be there for her, to make sure she feels safe and that she can trust in me, that she can lean on me and trust that sometimes I can be strong for her, that she doesn’t have to carry it all alone. I also tried to make sure that she felt heard and seen, that her emotions and what she told me were important to me.

This particular situation was very strong and emotional and I used it here as an example just because of that. Being there for our children is of course mostly on a more subtle level. For me it is also about not talking over their head with other adults, not creating a we and them but instead trying to treat them as my equals. For us, as parents, it has taken us on a road trip to Spain to be able to fully say to our children that we are here for them. Forcing them to go to school for the next 9 years would not be true to that promise.

You are perfect just the way you are.

This one is so important and sometimes so hard. Most of us have not been told this when we were children. Quite on the contrary, we have been treated as someone who cannot be trusted. We have never really learned to trust ourselves and so it is hard for us to trust our children. For that is what it is all about. Trusting that our children come to us perfect just the way they are, and nothing can change that. We are not here to control them, to steer them in the right direction, to tell them how to live their lives. They have everything inside them and every one of them is unique.

If we can trust that, if we can allow ourselves to see our children as who they truly are, and not who we expect them to be, then we are at the same time telling them that they are perfect just the way they are. Now, this is an ongoing process for us all as it is just as much about self-work as it is about parenting (and it goes for all of our relationships, really). I could go on and on about this but that will have to be another post.

I love you. I am here for you. You are perfect just the way you are.

Love, Sandra

2 replies
  1. SaraH
    SaraH says:

    I have an emotional son too and I’m pretty much like that myself so I can truly understand that situation and I love what you did there, walking, kicking, hitting and screaming with your daughter! That’s definitely love in practice, not only in words and it’s so cool. I’ll try it when we need it next time. Tanks ?

    Reply

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