Thursday, 13 February 2014

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Unconditional Love Builds Self-Esteem Based on Existence

As I reflect over the wise counsel and observations from my Significant Other, I am analyzing further how I can improve.

Have I subconsciously made my love for J conditional? I get mad at him when he does not behave. Is my love conditional upon his good behavior and obedience? Do I really love J unconditionally?

And I am ashamed to realize that, no, my love in practice has not matched up. I have a lot of work to do in this area, and it is so important, because it is essential to building high self-esteem. I thank the Lord for His mercy and kindness in throwing light on my short-falls, helping me to see more clearly and showing me concrete ways of action.

Below are summary of my learnings from the book "Discipline for Life" by Madelyn Swift that prayerfully I will digest, remember and apply in my daily life with J:

1. What truly is unconditional love?
  • Unconditional love is accepting the child just as the way he is - that is truly loving the child
  • Unconditional love builds self-esteem based on existence.
2. How is unconditional love important to building your child's self-esteem?
  • There are 3 categories of self-esteem:
    • 1) Existence,
    • 2) Accomplishment,
    • 3) Mistakes
  • Existence is the most fundamental and foundational area of self-esteem, upon which the other two areas (accomplishments and mistakes) are built. Without this primary one, self-esteem built solely on the other two is always unsteady, at risk, and mercurial.
  • We must help our children realize that they have value simply because they exist by accepting and affirming their value purely on existence, i.e. I am valuable. I am loveable, I am likeable.
  • Therefore, self-worth must not come just from achievements, but from our acceptance of the child just as he is.
  • Self-esteem based on existence produces the positive trait in children which is a requisite for emotional health.
  • The positive child says, “I like me. If I like me, you will like me. And if you like me, I will like me even more. And on and on and on.”
  • Parents cannot simply love a child in their hearts. They must be able to demonstrate this love so that a child truly feels loved.
  • Telling your child you love him, but do not like him can be hurtful and dangerous. Our children not only need to be loved, they need to be liked.
  • Each child from infancy needs to be told with words and actions that he is loveable and important.
  • Until you find a way to love him, he will be unable to find a way to love himself and begin his journey to “I am loveable.”
3. How to show love to your child?
 
Think accroymn "ABGT"
 
1. Accept & Affirm
2. Believe
3. Greet
4. Time
 
Take time to:
- Listen
- Play
- Celebrate
 
I will elaborate more on each part in Point 3 in my next post.
 
It is a sober reminder for me that I need to check daily that my actions demonstrate that I love and accept J unconditionally.

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