Every client I spoke with this morning was having some sort of a problem with a parent seeing a child for who they really are.
Every parent’s responsibility is to give unconditional love and acceptance to their child, to see them for who they are.
This means not just loving your child for what they do…
It means loving them even when you don’t like their behavior…
It means showing interest in what kind of music they like or what they love the most about their best friend or what makes them feel sad…
Sometimes as parents we can get so busy with our responsibilities and lives that we can get focused on whether our child is meeting our expectations for getting chores done or getting good grades in school or helping with a family project. All of these are important to discuss and work on. But this kind of attention is not the full picture of what love is. It is only the part in which we want to teach our children to be responsible citizens and contributing family members because we love them and want them to have happy, successful lives.
However, we must be careful to not love our children for what they do.
In order to see our children for who they are, I believe that there are at least two other major requirements.
The first requirement is to ask your child questions and show interest in who they are. This means not primarily asking questions about their physical appearance, their performance in school or at work, or whether they are meeting various goals.
Instead, ask your child more questions about other stuff while refraining from making a comment of advice, criticism, or judgment. For example,
- How have you been feeling lately?
- What’s going on with your friend that you were helping last weekend?
- I like that song you are listening to, what band is that?
Pretty much, you need to focus on whatever stuff your child is thinking about or interested in that is not relating to their performance, chores, or behavior. This is most likely their feelings, their friends, their hobbies and interests…
The second requirement is to have your Relationship Repair Counter open when your child comes to you with a complaint or a concern. This is not easy for many people, but you know I have had lots of blog posts, videos, and examples written about this. With many more to come ?
When your child has a concern (whether about you or some other problem in their life), you will want to validate your child so that they feel understood. This happens when you open your Relationship Repair Counter.
If you do not validate your child, he or she might not feel that you are there for them. They might not feel that you understand them. They might not feel that you SEE them for who they are and for what they are feeling.
I am convinced that humans were meant to attach to their parent/guardian/caregiver/mentor. Attachment is about being SEEN and accepted not for what we do.
But rather for who we are. Especially when we are sad, lonely, discouraged, and hurting.
People with secure attachments with a parent, guardian, mentor, caregiver – or even a therapist – simply do better in life. We are meant to be social creatures and we all need to be seen for who we are.
Our children are not so much responsible for our attachment needs as parents. We are always responsible for our child’s attachment needs. Which is why when a parent gives their child silent treatment or will not speak to them for hours, days, months or years -it is quite simply always wrong.
If you need help with your relationships so that you can be seen or because you want to see other people more for who they are, please contact a Relationship Repair Associate today for an appointment.