SYF: Unconditional Love


Can you remember a time when you were acting cruel, angry or mean, and a family member loved you despite your behavior? Have you seen the twinkle in your grandparent’s eye and known they loved you with all your shortcomings? If you’ve had the fortune of knowing unconditional love from your family, you know that you are blessed. If you’ve never felt this acceptance, don’t deny your own children this reassurance.

Can you love your son or daughter without conditions or demands? Sometimes we need to make some demands on our teens, which is very normal and natural. Sometimes it’s necessary to withhold rewards from our kids in order to get them to do what we expect. You can withhold the amount of time you spend with them or how much attention you give them. You can keep the car keys, deduct from their allowance, or ground them for a weekend. But you should never withhold your love.

You may get angry at your teen, but try not to shut down your heart. You must find ways to honor your child even when she disappoints you. You can clash on many issues, so long as your love for them is not an issue. When your teen is supported, she thrives and everyone benefits. Teenagers who are appreciated are eager to learn and to be involved.

There are many stereotypes about teenagers. Parents, teachers, and other adults are influenced by the negative publicity teenagers receive. In fact, some folks become so alarmed by seeing a group of teenagers walking down the street that they assume the teens are up to no good.

Unfortunately this assumption influences how we treat teenagers in our homes, our schools, and our communities. When we think of teens as aimless, irresponsible, troublemakers, we don’t have the patience or compassion for them that they need. If we think of teens as worthless, we don’t take the time to teach them what they need to know.

Such a negative attitude towards the upcoming generation eats away at our collective spirit, leaving us pessimistic and cynical. With such a cloud of suspicion, it’s no wonder that teens often feel deserted. True, it’s hard to be the parent of a teenager today; but then it’s even harder to be a teenager today!

Teens need parents who are public-relations experts focused on how well so many of them are coping with the daily challenges of their fast-paced, demanding world. Teens need your admiration, they need to know that you cherish them, that you take delight in who they are, and that you’re willing to speak up for their generation.

Additional information is available from your local office of Penn State Cooperative Extension. In Clearfield, the office is located in the Multi-Service Center, or by calling 765-7878. In Brookville, the office is located at 180 Main Street, or by calling 849-7361. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

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