Do You Accept Your Child For Who They Are?
By: Fred A. Hartley
Our children do not exist primarily to make us feel good about ourselves. Nor do they exist to fulfill our dreams or ambitions. For this reason, acceptance must be firmly established first. It is the common ground from which all parenting is done. Our sons and daughters must feel our acceptance, our embrace, just for who they are, before they feel our affection or our affirmation. They need to be convinced of it emotionally and intellectually, objectively and subjectively. Acceptance becomes the emotional currency of any and every relationship. And it must not be assumed in the home; it is actually more important to express it in the home.
As a Dad or Mom, you have a unique role in your child’s life to help with his or her identity formation. You will face your own moments when you will need to wrestle with how you will respond to your child’s uniqueness in contrast to your own.
Here are six questions that will help you measure the level of your acceptance of your child:
- Can I legitimately say that I accept my daughter for who she is?
- Do I tell her?
- Do I regularly communicate to my son his unique identity?
- Have I ever felt as distant from him as Lord Randolph Churchill did from his son, Winston?
- Have I ever spoken hurtful, angry words that left my child wounded? If so, have I mended the fences?
- Have I identified common ground with my child? Am I building a relationship on it?
Taken with permission from Parenting at Its Best: How to Raise Children With a Passion for Life, by Fred A. Hartley
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