Why is unconditional love so important for child development?
Defining unconditional love:
What is unconditional love? It’s knowing that someone loves you no matter what you do, who you are, what choices you make in life, what you get right or wrong. Their support is fundamentally guaranteed. This type of love and support matters most for children to receive from their parents growing up and leads to long-term implications.
I am of the opinion that it is vital to have unconditional love in your life as a child in order to feel that you can step out, be your true self and take anything on in the world.
I wondered over the last few years why I have never felt fear – it’s an emotion that I have never really truly understood. I recently read through the huge international bestseller, “feel the fear and do it anyway”, by Susan Jeffers. I have never felt fear at doing anything in any of the suggested areas in the book. So I began to question why is this? Why do so many people have to go on a journey of self-discovery to conquer their fears? Why do so many of my clients struggle to be true to their inner selves?
Why is unconditional love so important?:
Why is it so rare for me to see people who are not afraid to be themselves? They have this inner core of strength that allows them to express themselves. Like me, they are always seen as “strong” people. There is a strength of character that in fact attracts people to them that haven’t experienced unconditional love themselves growing up.
I describe this feeling as being similar to a tightrope walker at the top of a circus tent who can walk along this fine wire right up in the sky pf the tent because they know there is a safety net below. It’s this conviction that no matter what goes wrong in life you have a solid foundation to fall back on. There’s an infinite sense of comfort for your whole life that everything is possible for you. You are built for life from the inside out.
Changing the generational patterns:
So why do so many parents struggle to give such a simple comfort to their children? Why is the focus on goals? Often academic ones? Why have we lost sight of what really matters? While recording a podcast on this topic recently it was pointed out to me that you needed to have self-love in order to be able to give unconditional love. Are we simply then stuck in an environmental vortex of not being able to give what we didn’t experience ourselves. I know it is possible to give this support to the next generation even if you didn’t experience it yourself. But I guess awareness is key. As one of my clients put this into words, “Your work is key. It unlocks a person’s potential, which makes them feel worthy and stops them inflicting damage on the next generation.”
The search for Self-Love:
I find that when people have not grown up with unconditional love they find their lives searching for a feeling to fill a chasm that has been left inside in them. We often have the wrong focus that results in excess materialism or a real need to prove ourselves academically. We are constantly seeking validation. You constantly read articles on how to produce brilliant, well-adjusted and clever children. I often find parents setting academic milestones for their children to reach or I find the children seeking attention in negative ways with the idea that any attention is better than no attention. These children will often talk about materialistic possessions in the hope to impress others. I find it most disturbing that it often depends on where you were born in a household as to how much love you feel you receive. We have a terrible habit of the first child being born into a family receiving huge attention and then either being pushed to the side with later arrivals or the younger siblings not receiving the same attention in the same way. It really is so easy to give this love to your child which forms such a strong basis for their lifelong development.
The wider implications for human interactions and relationships:
With unconditional love, we could eradicate the need for the whole personal development industry overnight. Since the beginning, I have always strived with my work and research to make myself obsolete. I know to truly make lasting changes to the way we live and interact with each other this has to be achieved through experiences not talking. If you have experienced unconditional love you know how vital this is to pass on to your next generation. If you didn’t have unconditional love growing up and you have spent a lifetime searching for a belief that will make you feel whole, you also now know how vital unconditional love is for the people in your own world. Either way, your own life experience has thought you what is needed.
My first article was published on Family Friendly HQ in September 2017 which sparked a while book!