In the article, “When a Parent’s  ‘I Love You’ means ‘Do As I Say’” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/health/15mind.html?em , I couldn’t believe the current theory on parenting is to withhold your affection and praise until your child does what you want the child to do. Great, now your child will grow up knowing love is a manipulation. Love is only given when something good happens.

I don’t know, maybe I am wrong in this, but wouldn’t a child need more love when he or she makes a mistake than when he or she has done something good?

Say your child works really hard practicing for a sports team. You and your child have spent weeks practicing. At try outs, your child chokes and doesn’t make the team. Because your child didn’t accomplish something, now your child doesn’t get your love and praise?

Kids will grow up and make mistakes. Kids will get into things they shouldn’t. Kids will get hurt. I believe those are the times when as a parent it is more than imperative to stand by your child. Your child should never be afraid to tell you something because he or she feels you won’t hug them or talk to them until he or she fixes the problem. Sometimes a child can’t fix the problem alone. So because your child made a mistake, he or she loses you, too?

I think the keys to a healthy relationship with a child are structure and communication. A child should know if he or she does “x” then “y” will happen every time. These are the rules and when broken, the consequence is the same every time. Also, communication is so important along with being honest. If your child messes up, explain to your child it hurts you and why and then discuss together how to fix the problem. Even with my nephew, he will do something dumb and I will look at him and say, “was that a good idea?” He will tell me it wasn’t and then we talk about why it wasn’t and what he could do next time.

Raising a child is not easy. I know sometimes it is difficult to find the time to have a three hour dissertation on a problem. But I bet if you keep doing the same thing over and over, it will get into your child’s mind. When your child goes to do something stupid, it will be your voice in his or her head saying, “Now, does that sound like a good idea?”

Withholding love from a child is just about the worst thing a person could do. Children learn how to love from parents and love isn’t a negotiation. Love is just given every day. My son does some of the dumbest stuff in the world. I tell him all the time, “I love you, but you are a dummy”. Because at the end of the day, with both of my kids, they can make the dumbest decisions in the world, but at least they will always know that no matter what I will love them.

Advertisements