Gift of love: Establishing love in early childhood
“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen.” — Barack Obama
Children thrive when provided love and respect from their family members and peers. In cases of a support vacuum, young people can experience mental health difficulties from the early developmental stages and beyond. The gift of love can prevent lifelong pain and certain behavioral dysfunctions.
Karyl McBride, Ph.D., a contributor with Psychology Today, alleged that narcissistic parenting can cause problems in child development in the article titled “What Is A Difficult Child?” Specifically, McBride refers to the lack of empathy in these types of parents, where they care more about what a child does than who they are.
“Narcissists also are not in touch with their own feelings and therefore project those feelings onto the child. This leaves the child in a state of wonderment and confusion. ‘What did I do?’ ‘Is it my fault that my parent is unhappy?’ ‘Why can’t my parent love me?’” McBride wrote.
She also claimed that parenting is not about clothing, food or other bare minimums but going the extra mile in emotional support and understanding what the child thinks and feels.
Laura Markham, Ph.D., author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids,” outlined several ways of providing unrestricted love to a child in the article titled “5 Secrets to Love Your Child Unconditionally.”
Markham emphasizes the concept of grieving when a child does not develop into a parent’s ideal. She warned that by not acknowledging and working through the disappointment, the youth may sense disapproval and experience mental difficulties as a result.
At the same time, providing behavioral boundaries for misbehaving children is important while also acknowledging and respecting the feelings behind the actions. For example, if the young one is hitting a sibling, it’s important to forbid the action but dig deeper for motives when possible.
On the other side of a personality flaw is a strength, Markham said. If the youth is stubborn and willful, it can mean determination and passion in adulthood. Taking the positive with the negative and acknowledging the whole person works for each age group, including young people.
Markham also stressed the importance of parents managing their tempers and remaining patient with their offspring. Without a loving and nurturing relationship with their parents, children run the risk of developing emotional disorders later in life.
The Sovereign Health Group is in the position of providing anger management and other vital mental health services to adults. We also provide treatment for teenagers in select facilities. To find out more about how we can help, call our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer