Acceptance of your child is the single most important factor in insuring your child’s self-confidence and strength of will to resist the negative influences we spend so much time worrying about. Acceptance is often a hard concept for parents to get because it sounds as if we’re supposed to accept everything our child does—and that’s just not good parenting.
It’s easiest to think about acceptance through your own experience. Did you feel accepted for who you are or did you think that your parents would love you more or be prouder of you if you were different, more like your brother, got better grades, excelled at sports—just simply someone else? Did you feel accepted or approved of only when you behaved a certain way, felt a certain way? And did feelings of rejection (unintended on your parent’s part yet perceived on your part) cause you to pull back or try to be different? You probably can’t answer this because these changes are very subtle and slow to adapt.
“People stop showing the parts of themselves that have been rejected, trying to tuck away these traits in order to survive,” says Nancy Rose in her new book, Raise the Child You’ve Got—Not the One You Want. Nancy explains that, “As parents, we create stories about our children….The story comes out of our perception of who our child is, based on reality, but heavily influenced by our beliefs about ourselves and the world. The story we’re creating then becomes our reality, and our perspective narrows.”