By Melissa Ford
One of the hardest parts of parenting is feeling bad or disconnected when your child withdraws her love or interest. It can feel a little scary and lonely as you're left wondering: How can I feel good when things don't feel right? What can I do to get my child to reconnect with me?
The answer is quite simple if you know how love works: You don't need your child to love you in order to feel love and be loving.
There is no how. All you need is a strong, committed desire to want to love your child, to enjoy your son, to delight in your daughter, to connect. Your kids don't need to reciprocate (even though you might want them to). In fact, when they don't respond, you can rev-up your love. That's the secret; it's all up to you.
Love is a choice.
As my son headed into middle school, I noticed at times that he seemed distant. He didn't find me as interesting or fun to be around. There were many times he was embarrassed. At what? I didn't know. I was told his behavior was developmentally appropriate — the old "ages and stages."
Fortunately, I knew that no matter what his age or stage, I always had a choice.
Did I want to feel excluded, bad or rejected? Did I want to think there was something wrong with him or me? Or did I want to deepen my love and feel even more connected to my son? I chose the latter.
Responding from this strong attitudinal place, I felt loving and my son knew he was loved. Over the years, with practice and perseverance, I became even more masterful, really going for the gold during those teenage years, until accessing that life-affirming, profound emotion was as easy as flipping a switch.
Simple, powerful, effective — filling myself with love whenever I chose.
Truly, there is no defense to love. So test it out, discover your transformative power, and notice that when your child is ready to love you back, your heart will be open to receive it.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
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