When my children were little, it was very easy to show and communicate my love for them, even when they did something wrong. They don’t know any better. They are just doing what babies and toddlers do. As they became school aged, I still held onto the idea that “he’s just 6, he’s just 7”, etc. As my children get older, giving them love when they do not deserve it has come with its challenges. Don’t get me wrong. I love my children beyond words. It’s just that as they grow, our relationship also evolves and changes along with them. The interactions you begin to have with them become more sophisticated on many levels. The best part is that this happens while trying to maintain your place as their parent and a person of authority. Before you know it, you find yourself in arguments with them. Words are said and feelings get hurt on what at times feels like an adult level. Our children learn how to push our buttons more deeply. They are capable of hurting us significantly through their words or actions, often triggering feelings of real anger – beyond frustration.
It is at that moment when you feel angry, hurt, or rejected as a parent that you must channel those feelings into love. Show them your love by staying involved as much as you can. Communicate your feelings of love to them regularly. Do not let them push you away. Do not show that you are giving up on them – even in a moment of anger. Demonstrate your love through strong hugs and being present emotionally and physically. You are not validating their behavior, you are validating your child as a human being. It is when things feel most unstable in your relationship with your child that you move in swiftly and quickly with love.