by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday June 16, 2006
The Power of Unconditional Love
Expressing unconditional love empowers parents to raise kids to be confident adults. By accepting each child’s unique nature, we lay a foundation for good self-esteem. Too often we unintentionally inflict damage on a young one’s ego by confusing actions with personhood—a child might hear criticism as “I’m bad” rather than “my behavior was wrong.” Children desperately need parental guidance and discipline, but these must be wrapped in actions and language that convey love.
The alternative — correcting a child with the aim of making him or her the adult Mom or Dad desires instead of the person God intends — promotes a rebellious spirit. Think of the popular child-rearing axiom “Pick your battles” more in these terms: “Pick the battles that affect the child’s soul.” Passing fads and weird clothing or hair choices are not worthy battles, but issues related to honesty, integrity, and obedience call for a parent’s guidance.
The result of unconditional love and its byproducts — self-esteem and obedience — is that children develop good relationships. They will be prepared to accept others with the same attitude their parents showed them. This is critical because a wounded child will one day struggle to express wholehearted love to a marriage partner or to receive it in return.
Conveying acceptance to a child doesn’t cost money, but it does take time. Parents love their kids through actions and attitudes — taking an interest in a child’s activities, listening with focused attention, offering encouragement, and looking for traits to praise. Do your kids know you love them?
Celebrate Fathers this month. Discover what our heavenly Father expects of dads and how He equips them to raise godly sons and daughters in Dr. Stanley’s series “How-To’s for Fathers.”
Breaking News: How to Handle Your Emotions is the latest elective now online at the Charles Stanley Institute of Christian Living! This expansive course focuses on Dr. Stanley's powerful 12-sermon series by the same name. In this course, students not only learn the basics of a healthy, biblical, and positive love for themselves, but they will also target some of the most potentially explosive emotions, including self-image, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, anger, depression, and rejection. Included in this for-pay elective course is a hand-signed copy of Dr. Stanley's book, Finding Peace, which brings further emphasis to the areas of regret, anxiety, and fear.