Better Parenting Tip: A parent’s love should be unconditional. Is it really?

A parent’s love should be unconditional. Is it really? How much did it mean to you as a child, to know that your parents love was unconditional? It did not matter what you did, they would still love you for who you are.

My 3 nephews had a sleep over this week, increasing the tally to 8 males within my house for the evening, with all very excited as this is not a common occurrence. We all sat at the table to eat our dinner and I started the table conversation with the littlest ones. “What happened at school today” I asked and the conversation progressed. My eldest came to the table a little late as he was studying and a nephew burst into laughter “He's got a pony tail, he's a girl” he stated. My son did not care about the comment as he thinks he looked like Brad Pitt, but this started a long conversation about gender specific ideals. This is typical for the younger age (2-3 year old) thinking that long hair makes you a girl and short hair makes you a boy. My nephews giggled and chatted as we discussed that the only thing that makes you a boy is a “penis” and the only thing that makes you a girl is a “vagina”, well this also created giggles.  We discussed many things like men in Scotland wear kilts, movie stars wear makeup, etc. After dinner the children were asked to clean their teeth but Dad had not packed the tooth brushes, so I asked my nephews to choose a new one from a packet. One of my nephews looked at the packet and looked up at me as he summed up the colours on offer. “But not the pink one” he stated. I told my nephew that he could choose any colour he liked and if he wanted to choose the pink one he could choose the pink one. Well he chose the pink one and went into the bathroom. He whispered to his brother but loud enough for me to hear in the hall way “I like pink”

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We want so much for our children to have every opportunity they can possibly have, to have the best education possible and the best career possible. We need to be careful that this does not put additional pressure on our children to make the right choices, choose the right friends, choose a well paying career, have a nice house, have a great career, have great holidays, have a nice car and have the latest phone.

We want our children to know that we love them unconditionally. That if they want to drive a garbage truck, be a vet, wear a skirt, be a builder, climb Mount Everest, be a Chief, choose a pink tooth brush or be an Olympic swimmer that they can, they can do anything and be anyone they like. It’s up to us to instil these ideals and belief that we want them to be happy, that they can only do their best, everyone is different and that is okay too. Remember, the 7th way to build “resilience” last week was developing self confidence.