Of course we love our children. We often say things like “I’m doing this because I love you” or “If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t care what you do.” But love means different things to different people. Poets, philosophers, and mystics have been pondering the meaning of love for thousands of years, and still, who can define it for anyone else?
Let’s stop focusing on how much we LOVE our children, and start focusing on how much we ACCEPT them. How would things be different if we said, “I’m doing this because I accept you” or “If I didn’t accept you, I wouldn’t care what you do”? Whoa!
If it were as simple as substituting words, more parents would tune in to the importance of understanding and accepting their kids for who they are. When I speak with parents, they ask what is it that we’re supposed to accept? Does accepting who my children are mean unconditional acceptance of their behavior?
I address these important questions when I teach parents to lead with acceptance. Here is a brief excerpt from Raise the Child You’ve Got–Not the One You Want which will hit the bookshelves this September:
Reminder: It’s Not An Unconditional Acceptance of Behavior
I’m not, however, advocating for the unconditional acceptance of everything a child does. I’m not encouraging parents to recognize a child’s disrespect or engaging in dangerous activity as expressing his CoreSelf. In fact, “acceptance” has become a buzzword for abdicating parental responsibility, or teaching children proper behavior. On the contrary, acceptance doesn’t mean parents get to resign from being an authority figure, an anchor, or someone that demands the respect from their child. It doesn’t mean being a friend to your child before you are a parent. This is the polar opposite from being a parent who leads with acceptance, which means accepting who your child is, and guiding WHAT your child does.
How would your relationship with your children change if you shifted your focus from love to acceptance?
Image: Flickr Pratham Books