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Parenting Series: Paul's Points On Love For Parents

In what is called Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians there is the most wonderful and often quoted description of love.  Paul apparently wrote his 16 point description for all types of love.  Here is an attempt to apply what he wrote to the job of parenting.

1.  Parent Love Is Patient with Children
Patience is needed for children’s growth, development, and learning.  Impatient desire for children to behave at adult speed tends to backfire.

2.  Parent Love Is Kind toward Children
Many research efforts have concluded that the best and most productive parenting is saturated with loving kindness mixed with firmness.  Without loving kindness parent actions often come across as anti-loving, cruel, or non-loving indifference.

3.  Parent Love Is Not Jealous of Children
Parents who are jealous of their children’s successes, attributes, opportunities, fortunes, etc. are usually in need of greater self-love, and especially self love’s sense of self security.  Jealousy from a parent generally undermines their child’s sense of being loved by that parent.

4.  Parent Love Is Not Pretentious toward or about Children
Parents who are self disclosing of their own shortcomings, and do not pretentiously attempt to seem perfect, always right, and never wrong, etc., nor attempt to seem intrinsically superior, prejudiced, or patronizing do best.  Parents who overly identify with their children’s success, or overly take credit for children’s victories, etc. can rob their children of self-confidence and self-esteem development.

5.  Parent Love Is Not Arrogant toward Children
Parents who arrogantly put down, demean, ‘lord it over’, criticize, dominate dogmatically, don’t listen well, preach, downplay, act to deflate, etc. undermine a child’s growth of healthy self-love development.

6.  Parent Love Is Not Rude toward Children
Parents who encourage child level participation in family interaction, show children consideration and politeness get better results.  Parents who rudely ignore, degrade, or are dismissive of children tend to get the same back from children.  Kindness and consideration help children be and grow harmoniously with their families and with themselves.

7.  Parent Love Does Not Always Insist on Its Own Way with Children
Parents who allow mistakes help learning occur.  Parents who dictatorially rule usually produce either rebels or defeatists.

8.  Parent Love Is Slow to Take Offense Concerning Children
Having a firm and non-angry discipline approach, and being non-offended by children’s acts and words helps children learn to improve their behavior.  Excessive ‘should-ing’ on children, guilt tripping at children, shaming, acting with manipulative hurts, and doing anger trips aimed at children tend to just upset them emotionally.  That in turn prevents reasoned learning.

9.  Parent Love Keeps No Score of Children’s Wrong doing
Repeatedly referring to what children have done wrong in the past, condemning them with their previous failures, embarrassing them with former mistakes, and not giving children fresh new chances tend to help the negative past repeat itself, as it also diminishes motivation to improve.

10.  Parent Love Is Not Happy over the Mishaps of Children
Laughing at a child’s efforts, ideas, mistakes, mishaps, etc., gleefully pointing out a child’s ignorance, making demeaning fun over childish behavior, and the like tend to help children hide, not share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings, and not seek guidance from parents.  Emotional distancing from family and especially parents is common when these things happen.

11.  Parent Love Rejoices in the Truth of Children and Delights in Their Honesty
Parents who support a child’s truthfulness even when it’s troublesome, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or painful tend to get more open and honest children.  Parents who look for the underlying truths in children’s words and doings discover much to rejoice about.

12.  Parent Love Can Face All Things Having to Do with Their Children
The core of a child’s being is supported as intrinsically good and potentially dominant over all that is negative in a child’s behavior – no matter what.  The ‘doings’ of a child may be negative but these negatives are not confused with the core being of the child, and it is the core being that is loved.  Likewise no sickness or disability is viewed as primary or more important than the loved core or the loved essence of the child.  This naturally good core may be buried under trauma, poor programming, and various kinds of illness (both physical and psychological), but no matter what the problem it can be faced with healthy real parent love.

13.  Parent Love Has No Limit Of Faith in One’s Children
The loving parent makes a gamble of faith in a child’s healthful potentials becoming preeminent in their child’s life.  Thus, acceptance, support, tolerance, and forgiveness are repeatedly put forward; unless they are found to be enabling of destructiveness.  They are never permanently unavailable, and they continue even if it is only in secret faith, along with hope.

14.  Parent Love Has No Limit of Hope for the Well being of a Child
Parents show hope repeatedly and, thus, express confidence in a child’s ability to grow, surmount difficulty, and live happily healthfully.  Hope is repeatedly shown by encouragement and challenge, along with active experimenting and exploring the ways and wants of a child.  Hope also is repeatedly modeled for the child so the child can incorporate hopefulness no matter the difficulty being confronted.

15.  Parent Love Endures All Things That Come with or from a Child
Problems, difficulties, defeats, sickness, mistakes, failures, disabilities, deficiencies, losses, and all manner of maladies are suffered with children.  If division occurs reunification and reconciliation without condemnation is made available.

16.  Parent Love for Children Is Eternal
Throughout life and even after death parent love continues.

May you and your child, or children grow with love!

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Parenting Series

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