As any parent will tell you, parenthood is tough! And unlike so many things in our lives, you don’t need any qualification, training or license to be a parent. It’s ironic, there’s no qualification for the toughest job on earth, but to drive a car you need many hours of theory and practical training! In some countries you even need a license to go finishing!
As a father, I think I have my strengths and my fair share of weaknesses, but if there is one thing I’ve made a point of doing really well it’s giving my children unconditional love. Both my wife and I never, ever put our children down, or made them feel that our love is dependent on a certain behaviour.
When punishing your children, focus on the thing they did, not on them. By that I mean you should tell them that the thing they did was bad, not that they themselves are bad, got it?
Say for example “Hamoodi, drawing on the wall like that was a really bad thing! Look how ugly the living room has become! We won’t be able clean that, now we have re-paint the wall. You know I love you very much, but I’m really angry at what you did!”
Never connect your love to their behaviour, it’s not good for their self-esteem. Let them know that you love them unconditionally, no matter what. Tell them that even though you’re angry right now, you’ll never stop loving them.
Incidentally, this is a good protection technique against child molesters and pedophiles. Children with higher self-esteem are less likely to be targeted by child molesters than children with low self-esteem. pedophiles have this amazing ability to find children who need love, affection and attention. They then provide these emotions to the children and eventually seduce them into more devious activities.
Contrary to popular belief, most children are not forced into molestation, but rather seduced into it. But that’s a discussion for another time. So, like I said, tell your child when punishing that the thing they did was bad, and that they themselves are good, and that you still love them. Never use emotional blackmail with them; unconditional love is the greatest gift you can give your children.