Does your child know how much you love them?

Posted by Samantha on January 23, 2012 in Criticism, Disapproval, Love |

I don’t agree with everything in Ross Campbell’s 1977 classic, How to Really Love Your Child, but I do admire that he is brave enough to put in print what many psychologists and psychiartrists, therapists and counsellors can recognise but don’t usually put into such clear words:

There are times when your child does not believe you love them – and that is what is behind much of their problem behaviour.

As parents we like to ignore and deny that many of our interactions with our children send a clear message that what they are doing is not good enough.  From there it is just a short step for a child to conclude that they are not good enough for us to love them.

We also like to ignore the fact that when we are coming from this place of focusing on what our child has done that is not good enough, we are often angry or disapproving or both.  Anger and disapproval does not look, sound or feel like love to anyone.  Our children are quite right: in those moments we are not loving them.

We don’t intend to create the negative consequences that stem from this over-zealous correction and cajoling of our children.

But ignorance does not provide immunity from law.  No court of law will accept the defense, “I’m sorry your honour, I didn’t know it was illegal”.

The same applies to psychological law.   We may not be aware that we will squash our children’s sense of self-worth if we criticise them more than we express our appreciation of them.  But that will not stop it from happening.  It is psychological law if you will, that criticism crushes.

Just as we have changed definitions of bullying so that it is is defined from the point of view of the bullied and not the bully, I think we need to change our understanding of how we love our children.  Surely a behaviour is loving only to the extent that it generates in the person we are doing it to (or for), a sense of being loved?

Just as you cannot beat love into a person, I do not believe that anyone has ever had true heart-felt awareness of their parents love, criticised into them.

It is time to stop pretending that our criticism – implicit and explicit – has no effect on our children.

Only then can we become the parents we most truly wish to be and the parents our children need us to be.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2010-2019 BeyondSupernanny All rights reserved.
Desk Mess Mirrored v1.7 theme from