Carl Rogers coined the phrase, “UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD” which has become synonymous with what children need in order to grow to their full potential as healthy human beings.
An environment that genuinely and openly:
SEES the good in them,
LISTENS to them with empathy and
ACCEPTS them unconditionally.
We all need that.
But especially in infancy, when one is helplessly dependent on parents or caregivers, a child will cling to them for safety and security, and adjust his behavior to assure he doesn’t lose them.
However if it feels unsafe to be who he really is, an infant may unconsciously want to ‘stuff’ that part of himself in order to get along. This can cause all kinds of emotional disconnects later in life, from angry outbursts, panic, fear, self loathing, addictions, an inability to feel one’s own needs or intuition, and more.
This is why I said in one of my previous articles, “You Can’t Spoil A Baby”.
Unconditional love does NOT mean you love everything they DO however, and as kids grow past infancy, they also need discipline and guidance to prepare them for life’s challenges.
Children who are not disciplined do not feel loved. So…
LOVE your child as though you won’t have him tomorrow. . .
And TEACH your child as though he won’t have YOU tomorrow.
When you tie a growing plant to a stake to protect it from outside forces that would topple it over, you are not being cruel. Discipline is that stake.
As much as your kids are worth loving, YOU are TOO. We will all make mistakes along the way, but if you are doing your best, that’s all you can do.
So LOVE YOURSELF, OK?
Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder, EDU DESIGNS
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