A Common Parenting Problem
I recently read a chapter from Pete Rollin’s book “The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales” It is a parable book that really stretches your thinking.
The parable called “The Father’s Approval” outlines a father who lives much of his life in search of wealth and success, struggling to spend needed time with his son. After his son is grown, he too focuses on wealth and professional success. But the father who has walked that path with regret, tries to tell the son to NOT follow in his footsteps. The son then pushes away and feels a great sense of disapproval from his father.
Their relationship is shallow.
Relationship First, Set Expectations Aside
One day, the father is praying for his son to stop making the mistakes he modeled for him in the first place. He is struggling because he KNOWS what is best for him. In fact, the father can’t understand why his son will not listen to him. Just at his highest level of frustration the father hears a voice saying “Caleb is also my son and I love him the way he is.” As the father focuses on loving his son, the frustration and unspoken judgment disappears and over time the son aligns with his father again.
The parable reminded me of how we need to love our children just the way they are, without allowing our expectations to override our relationship. Here is a guideline Love and Logic® gives us to help put relationship first:
It takes a great deal of love to…
- Find the positives in our kids when they act poorly
- Hug them before we ask them about their homework
- Set limits without anger, lectures, or threats
- Hold them accountable for their poor decisions by providing EMPATHY 1st, and CONSEQUENCES 2nd
When we give this special kind of love, a wise type of logic grows in the child’s mind:
“When I make poor decisions, it makes my life pretty sad. I wonder how my next decision will affect my life?”