I was thinking about something the other day about my kids and all the mistakes I made when they were young. They never said a word; they just kept on loving me even though I was not perfect. Children have that ability built right in for unconditional love whereas sometimes we as adults lose that ability over the years because we become hardened.
As we get older our defense mechanisms kick in and we start to put up walls and make rules for our lives that people must follow to be a part of our lives. That is not always a bad thing, we need to protect ourselves from those who want to do us harm. But sometimes it happens in families as well and instead of dealing with our emotions and problems we just build more walls. This results in families that no longer function as families but as individuals all living together in one home.
I have seen this happen in many families and even in my own life as well. When our children become teenagers we sometimes become strangers and even almost enemies because we are so busy putting up walls to protect ourselves from being hurt by each other. As parents we should be mature enough not to let this happen, just as mature as our children were when we were making mistakes with them when they were very young. As we see our children begin to make mistakes and to act out when the parent/child dynamic begins to change we need to keep our own emotions in tact and respond in love and not react in anger.
Unconditional love is what we all need to have for our families. Now that does not always mean that we have to accept being mistreated by our families, sometimes we need to put up boundaries. But we should always leave the lines of communication open and be able to interact with one another in love. And we should always love enough to forgive. Sometimes our pride gets in the way as parents when we have put our foot down about something and we have made a decision and we feel we can not back down and we can not compromise. Love means we sometimes can change our minds and it means we always forgive and give second chances. But it does not mean that we have to get run over by our children either.
I have noticed in many families these days that love many times goes too far either way. There are often too many concessions being made in families and there is no respect and mutual admiration, just people being taken for granted. Or there are adults and children with walls built up from hurt and anger and there is very little compromise. The love is barely even noticeable in these situations and it is not a good situation either way. There is a kind of love that does not look out for the good of the person being loved, it just keeps the peace and gives in all the time. This love can be so detrimental. But equally the kind of love that is displayed in all discipline and no forgiveness or emotional display of affection is extremely harmful as well.
Balance is a key; discipline with love is the way truly loving families exist. Talking over situations that bring imbalance to the home and laying down rules for the good of the family with set consequences is vital. Do not let yourself get so hurt by a child and instead of using loving discipline you end up putting up walls that make it impossible to return. Our children loved us unconditionally when they were small and I believe it is our turn to cut them a break when they make mistakes in these critical years. Instead of cutting them off we need to let them know how we feel and correct them but continue to love them through these times.
Without the love and support of a family in this world we live in today a child can quickly become so very lost and lose their way. I have come across so very many teens that have been cut off from their families because of discipline problems. I understand that sometimes these things happen but I am convinced that we as parents and guardians are just giving up at times because it is too much effort and we have too many walls built. These days we live in I feel that we should be all the more diligent to be there for our families no matter what it takes. We should stand strong for each other and never give up on unconditional love that forgives and endures.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.