According to a study performed at UCLA, unconditional love and affection can make children happier and stress free. Think back to your own childhood. If your parents were happy, it was easy to smile. On the contrary, if they argued or if one was in a sour mood, your mood likely mirrored theirs. Why? Because as children, we pick up on cues and emotions based on what we experience. As parents, we tend to forget this about our own children and don’t protect them from the anger and resentment we may harbor against others.
You may be out of that relationship that caused some negativity, but perhaps you’re still not able to move beyond it, flip your emotional switch, and portray a happy demeanor 24/7. While this is all completely normal, it is important to understand that for the sake of your children, showing them love and affection, paired with a positive atmosphere is the best case scenario for them to thrive.
There is no greater gift you can give your child than unconditional love and support. A gesture of this magnitude can neither be bought nor earned. It is something you give your child because that is what he deserves to receive from you. Loving your child unconditionally means there are no stipulations or restrictions. Unconditionally literally means without conditions. Your child should never question whether or not he is good enough to be and feel loved by you.
Studies have shown that oftentimes, parents think what they are doing is showing their child love, but it is perceived by the child as pressure. Pressure to do better in school, have different friends, score more points for their sports’ team. This kind of pressure to do and be better can translate to false love, even though it is completely unintentional. No matter what the age, children may lean toward feeling insufficient, and sometimes, that leads to negative behaviors or rebellion.
A quick internet search draws the following conclusions regarding children who receive an abundance of unconditional love. See for yourself the benefits of showing love.
~ Children are physically healthier
~ Children are emotionally happier and less stressed
~ Children have better self-esteem
~ Children have better brain development and memory
~ Children have a stronger bond with parent
~ Children tend to be less fearful
~ Children are more well-rounded
~ Children feel accepted and safe
Another search showed interesting results among children who were less fortunate and weren’t shown unconditional love. The following list is sad, but it shows just how important it is for children to feel loved.
~ Children have lower self-esteem
~ Children show lasting damage to their emotional well-being, intelligence, and physical stature
~ Children are less happy
~ Children are more likely to experience stress and depression
~ Children experience worse health
~ Children are more lonely and shy away from engaging in peer relationships
~ Children exhibit lower relationship satisfaction
~ Children have less social support
~ Tell them you love them as often as possible
~ Provide genuine praise
~ Compliment frequently
~ Give hugs and show affection
~ Engage in activities to make your child feel special
~ Make a habit of creating 1-on-1 time
~ Be attentive
~ Tell them stories
~ Read to them
~ Kiss them goodnight
~ Pick them up from school
~ Make their favorite meal
~ Take a break from your phone
~ Go for a walk or hike with them
~ Play games
~ Stay up late for fun
~ Cuddle them
~ Have spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen
~ Smile at them
~ Make the most of everyday moments
~Laugh with them
~ Always be encouraging
~ Apologize when you’re sorry
~ Listen with empathy
~ Seek out their natural talents and praise them
We know life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, and we’d be fools to think it is. It takes work to sift out our negativity and shield our children from our anger or sadness. It can be just as difficult, or even more difficult, to put on a happy face and shine a light of positivity. However, it is SO worth it!
Just as it is important for you to remain as positive as possible, it’s also important to encourage positivity in the form of good behavior in the daily routines of your child. How can you do that? We’re so glad you asked!
~ Pick your battles
~ Consistency is key
~ Stick to routines
~ Make rules and be sure they are followed
~ Let your child help create the rules
~ Don’t share grown-up situations
~ Acknowledge feelings
~ Encourage your child to put frustrations into words instead of actions
Being raised by a single parent doesn’t have to be attached to feelings of negativity or failure. You’re the number one participant, and therefore, leader, in the family now. Your children are looking to you to help guide them positively, with encouragement, and unconditional love. Even on the difficult days, it’s easy to find things to smile about when you look into the eyes of your children.