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I Love You, But I Don't Love What You Do

photo courtesy of Stuart Miles and

It's hard to remember when your child does something bad, to tell them that you love them, but you don't love what they did.

Kids don't always understand our anger and disappointment... immediately they misunderstand it as rejection.

And true, depending on what they did, you might not want to look at them for a while because you're so upset, but your child NEEDS REASSURANCE that they are still loved and accepted.

Here are some ways to do this:

1. Tell them that indeed you love them, but not what they just did
2. Admit your disappointment with their behavior
3. Tell them they are good (because all children are good inside)
4. Hug them when you tell them (this can be difficult and might have to wait until you cool down)
5. Ask them questions about what brought them to that behavior 
6. Be sure to apologize if you didn't handle yourself well (i.e.; exploded, assumed, spoke poorly)
7. Put in place clear expectations, set up consequences, follow through with appropriate discipline 
8. Remind them of either their faith, house rules, values, morals or ideals
9. Ask them to tell you how they feel about what they did (and what they think of themselves)
10. Tell them they are forgiven (yes, with more hugs and kisses)

(Pay attention to the list of rules at the end because they are very helpful.)

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