Loving without requiring anything in return - loving no matter what is a kind of love that parents feel for their children.
No matter how irritated we get with our children's, we know that we would die to save their life. And here is a good question: do children really feel this kind of love? Do they know that they don’t have to be, or do, anything in particular to earn their parents love?
Certainly, you’re loved even when you hurt your brother or spit at your mother or break her favorite mug on purpose. But how and who can stop you from hurting, spitting, or purposely breaking things? Is the punishment a needed process to learn a lesson?
Surly punishment withdraws love of the child and put parents in a difficult position. If we hurt the child physically, obviously he won’t feel loved at that moment. Imposing emotional pain to our child to force him to comply certainly withdraws love from him.
Children do need parents’ guidance. And yet the child needs to feel the parent's love without the requirement of doing anything at all, including behaving! How can we do both?
As parents most of the time we don't know how to set the limits without hurting our children, so punishment is the easy way to manage the situation.
Spending time along our children in emotion-coaching requires dedication and patience. But connection with the child comes through the process of developing emotional intelligence with them, so there won’t be reason to punish our children, or reason not to.
Listen. Breathe. Learn and teach emotional intelligence while you set limits:
Naturally, we assume we're right....which makes our child wrong. Let see it another way, a way that is actually much closer to reality: All "misbehavior" from your child is an SOS. Under your child's misbehavior, there is always a reason, an upset feeling or unmet need.
Addressing underlies reason, not their action will change our children behaviors - because we answered their SOS.
Maybe he'd be nicer to his sister if he wasn't worried that he lost his special place in your heart, and what he needs is more connected to you.
Maybe she'd stop arguing if you acknowledged her upset with empathy, so she didn't have to shout to feel heard. ("I hear how disappointed you are about this, Sweetie...")
Maybe he needs your help to learn some better strategies to keep track of things so he doesn't lose them.
When children act out, they're telling us - in the only way they can at that moment - that they need our help. When we see things from our child's point of view, misbehavior is suddenly comprehensible, forgivable. The blocks to love melt away, and our love becomes unconditional.
After all, WE All NEED LOVE!