We live in a day and age where most people encourage the idea of individuals being and becoming whomever and whatever they want to be.

Or do we? Well, we might collectively believe this in theory, but do we encourage it in our homes and families?

We often say we love our kids no matter what, but unconditional acceptance can sometimes be a struggle. Perhaps as extroverted parents you don’t understand why your daughter cries at social gatherings. Or maybe as a sports fan it’s difficult to encourage your son’s interest in piano. It can be tough when what you’ve imagined is so different from what you have, right?

Contrary to what some parents believe or hope for, kids come into the world with pre-determined abilities and temperaments that nurturing parents may be able to foster or modify, but can rarely reverse. The challenge for us as parents are to appreciate and adapt to differences, to love them for who they are and not to disparage them for what they’re not.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is acceptance. Truth is when a child is unconditionally loved and accepted he/she will blossom. Remember Mom and Dad, they don’t need to prove anything to be worthy of our affection. They don’t need to be any type of person, or even behave well to deserve our love. And they don’t need to live up to our expectations - their presence and being is all that’s needed to be accepted and loved. No strings attached.

Heavy lifting? Yes. It takes daily practice to build this kind of heart muscle! However, there are literally hundreds of simple ways to show our kids that we love and accept them just the way they are. So, look them in the eye and really see them, give them your full attention. Nurture their interests however similar or different they may be from yours.

Be sure to thank them for being a great kid. Let them know you appreciate it when they listen to you, when they’re being nice to a sibling or when they’ve apologized for something. Help them to feel validated and good about themselves.

Prioritize one-on-one time and do something out of the ordinary. Is there something you often say “no” to that you can say “yes” to here and there? Make sure to get excited about their hopes and dreams. Encourage them to believe in themselves and to pursue their dreams no matter what. Create traditions to make your child feel loved and cared for; they are precious and invaluable.

Sadly, somewhere along the line most kids long to fit in and try to hide what makes them unique. The good news is that we as parents could talk to them every day about the ways in which they shine. Remind them that their differences make them special and interesting.

Also Mom and Dad, let go of fear. Fear that you’re not doing a great job. Fear that you kids will grow into adults who cannot function in the world, and fear that other parents will judge you. You ARE doing a great job; kids who feel loved and cherished thrive, simple as that.

“Raise and celebrate the child you have, not the child you thought you would have” – Joan Ryan.

Source: za.pinterest.com, huffingtonpost.com, jcfamilies.com, sleepingshouldbeeasy.com, empoweringparents.com, rediscoveredfamilies.com, psychologytoday.com, well.blogs.nytimes.com, parents-together.org, healthpartners.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.