Live with intent, take time, have patience and gain a new perspective. See how having a relationship with your teen can change both of your lives. Say goodbye to status-quo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unconditional Love

I thought of a "new" concept the other day when I was taking a walk to clear my head. The concept and saying itself isn't new, "Unconditional Love" but the way I wanted to address it, I think was newer.

I was feeling uneasy after a debacle my daughter and I had gone through the night before.
Last year I blogged about how sick she got from running herself ragged and how I recognized and learned as a Mother that part of that was my fault. I don't like to scapegoat in my life AT ALL, so I should say, it was my responsibility. I learned that I say no to a lot of certain things, but YES to quite a bit. One of the areas I say yes to a lot is to let my daughter go out a lot and do stuff, and be involved in school and activities. This girl is involved in dance, show choir, student council, student officers, drama club, church...I'm sure I've left out a few. Oh ya, band and choir.

Not only is she very involved but she lives life to the fullest, which is what I taught her. But she gives all of her self, %100 to everyone, even her teachers. That can be exhausting and with the combo of all of this, she crashed in the winter of 2010. She was diagnosed with Mono, and it went to her blood stream, so now she has Epstein Barr.

I give that background to say this: I am learning to say no more to "protect" her. She was gone in Michigan for 2 weeks, and toward the end of her trip, she got a high fever. It was able to resolve itself, but I know it was her body screaming at her to take a break. So I need to step up and be her advocate. I know I'm going to be her worst nightmare this summer, but it's because it's what's best for her. If it were up to her, she would not slow down. She's constantly on the go.

So I've started to implement this new advocacy over her, and it's not going horrible, but it's not quite going the best either. For instance, the other night after she had been resting and chillin most of the day, she got a phone call from a friend to see if she could go swimming for a few hours. This phone call came at like 8:30p at night, and I thought what was best for her was to just keep laying low because she had her best friend coming from St.Paul for a few days, and she'd be on the go. She was NOT happy with my decision.

Between the hours of 9pm and Midnight, she treated me completely differently. This was based on my NO to go swimming. I gave her my reasons, and she didn't agree, which is fine-that is her right, but my answer wasn't going to change.

This is something that is quite common between us. She will treat me differently based on my yes or no's if she can do something with her friends or not. I know what you are thinking, "This is common/typical teenage behavior" and I would agree with you--BUT why accept it? Why not think of a different/new way to deal with this? We all experience it as parents, and it's annoying and can actually be hurtful.

So I was thinking on my walk about the concept of unconditional love. When my daughter treats me different and acts the way she does when I say "no", she is loving me based on conditions, and that isn't right. I need to love her unconditionally and I do, (although if I am truthful, I could think of areas that I haven't)- but she also needs to love me unconditionally, which I know she does, but when it comes to this--she doesn't. She's putting a condition on me due to my answer.

I asked her today if she understood this concept and she said she did. She told me she had been thinking about it for a couple of days now too and felt bad the way she treated me.
My daughter Madelynn said that she thinks using and remembering this concept for these kind of situations could really help her!

I want to encourage all parents to know that we don't have to accept "typical teenage behavior"--yes we know it is inevitable, and it will be difficult--but we can view things in a new light, and try different concepts that can build and help our relationship with our teens.

Don't accept the status quo! I refuse to do that, and am making an effort-and it IS effort--to create peace, and resolve conflict and try new things.

I think unconditional love is a neat place to start. Ask you teenager to love YOU unconditionally and ask yourself if you are loving THEM unconditionally. Discover what that looks like together.


  1. I like that concept, good reminder for me, and I need to talk to my teen about loving not based on circumstances, like what he did or didn't get in regards to things or his way.

  2. Thank you Jules and Aj! Aj, thank you for always being so supportive and encouraging, it's so uplifting to read your comments.
    Jules-For sure it's so difficult as parents to not love our kids off of our expectations of them. And to humble ourselves in awareness knowing that we need to love them no matter what but that they also need to love us no matter what. Parents usually think the "respect" thing goes only one way, but it goes both ways. Kids need respect too! I'm happy you liked the article, feel free to write me sometime!