6 Tips For Parenting and Discipline With Unconditional Love

Most parents confuse love and affection with leniency. You were most likely told that too much affection creates spoiled children. If you show "too much love", there's no way to raise kids so that they don't become spoiled brats. Or, is it? Both as a professional and as a parent, I advocate vast amounts of kindness balanced with equal amounts of firmness and consistency in raising well-rounded kids.

I'm an avid supporter of rules and discipline. You will equip kids for a happy future when you show them how to be happy when things aren't going their way. When you show them there's happiness and satisfaction within challenges and limitations, you are showing them how to be strong. Do this right, and your children will know how to cope with rejection. They will overcome failure, financial problems, heartbreak, and everything else live throws on them. Emotional strength is the most important result of proper discipline. Here are a couple of tips for showing unconditional love for your child while disciplining them properly:

Tip #1: Remove Aggressive Behaviors

Removing the elements of aggression is the key to discipline with unconditional love. Do everything you already do. Have time-outs, boundaries, rules, and difficult conversations. But, remove all aggressive behaviors. Remove screaming, threatening posture, angry facial expressions. Most importantly, never deny tenderness. Did you notice that your kid asks for a hug or a kiss every time they get disciplined? It's because they're scared of losing your love.

Tip #2: Use Affirmative Language.


Kids feel lost when you're telling them what NOT to do instead of what TO do and WHY they must do it. Instead of saying: "Don't climb the couch!", say: "Sit like a big girl/boy you are. Here, I'll show you how we sit on the couch." Instead of saying: "You have to finish your lunch or else..." I say: "Don't want to finish your lunch? Well, you'll be hungry until dinner then. You know we don't get snacks if we don't eat all our lunch!"(and we do as we say, even if it means we'll spend a day hungry. Hint: we eat our lunch after this conversation). 

Tip #3: Tell Them They're Being GOOD

There's no harm from telling your kids they are a good boy/girl. We can debate if telling them they're smart or pretty is right, but they need to know they are good in your eyes. They don't know that before you tell them.

Tip #4: Expect Conflict And Be Prepared


Start the day knowing you will get in conflict and count on it. Be prepared for those situations when your kids will go to time out, and prepare to guide them through their tantrums. You won't have many days without conflict with children. It is how you handle the conflict that counts.

Tip #5: Stay consistent


Unconditional love isn't leniency, but guiding the child through maturing instead. The best way to do that is with consistency. Have a regular routine and firm rules, demanding respect from your children and showing respect in return.

Tip #6: Show Love When You're Angry


I can't tell you how many times my daughter asks if I love her when we're solving a conflict. The more I send a message that I always love her, but she needs to obey, the more she wants to hear it. Luckily, my kid is one of the few who is open about discussing emotions. She doesn't have trouble asking me if I love her when she's misbehaving, when she won't eat or go to bed, or when she does something naughty. The more we had these discussions, the happier our days have become.

I can't stress enough that unconditional love doesn't have anything to do with leniency and letting the child be in charge. It's the exact opposite. The same way kids need love, food, and safety, they need guidance and discipline. They only know what they want, and they are curious as the day is long. To sum up, you begin loving unconditionally when you love yourself unconditionally. When you love yourself unconditionally, you gain the emotional balance and firmness to parent without aggression.

Author: Bojana Markovic Veselinovic, parenting blog writer & copywriter

Published by Bojana Marković