Raising Loving and Confident Children
Five tips to help your child’s understanding of love, authority, and personal dignity.
by Father Nicolás Schwizer | Source: Catholic.net
1. Authority. To seek God is the most important thing. The best path toward God is by means of a healthy attachment to the parents. Through the parents, the child will forge his experience and fundamental image of authority.
If the experience is positive, the child will understand authority as power of love and service. In God’s plan authority is meant to be protective and stimulates proper growth. A child who experiences abuse of authority by the parents, often sees authority as an oppressive power, unjust, violent, and fearsome.
This early experience determines the future relationship with all authority: God, priests, teachers, bosses, or political figures.
2. Personal dignity. From the experience of authority with one’s own parents depends another most important value: the value of one’s own personal dignity.
One’s view of personal dignity determines in a profound way individual security, the ability to love, and creativity. Anyone who does not feel dignified is insecure in facing life. This is also a person who often feels incapable of self love and acceptance. This person is not be able to love others, and cannot recognize with serenity the values of other people, because they are seen as competitors, and are subject of envy. This person is often on the defensive, and/or adopts a destructive attitude towards others as a strategy for self affirmation. This person sense of self-worth is direct related to how much other people can be denigrated.
We all know this type of person with whom it is very hard or seemingly impossible to live with. They are insecure and will not have the courage to unfold their talents. They will back down from obstacles and will gladly not assume the tasks they face, and blame others for it.
3. Our task as parents. A healthy conscience from one’s personal dignity comes forth in only one way: feeling loved, especially by one’s own parents.
Our great task as parents is to give this love to our children by means of concrete acts: making time to talk to them and to play with them, preferring to listen to them instead of the TV, caressing them, taking care of their needs and wishes, etc.
With this we tell them: You are valuable, you are the most precious treasure we have. You are much more precious than things or money. They have a unique dignity: they are persons and they are our children. They are going to believe it because they feel it at each moment. They are truly going to feel as persons (and not as things) and they are going to dare to see the world without fear. Throughout life, they are going to live a healthy attachment with themselves, with their fellow man and with work.
4. The father. All of this which sounds so beautiful is very difficult to make into reality. The problem especially affects the father. The mother naturally possesses a greater sense for the personal relationship. Her nine-month physical union with the child normally becomes a deep affective attachment. On the other hand, the father identifies much more with the functional and impersonal values of the world of work.
Men in general like progression, speed, and efficiency. Personal dialog and the slow and patient love- bond are not easy for them. At home, generally, the father is more distant from the children than the mother is.
5. The challenge. The renewal of the family requires conquering a new paternity. Without it, we will never be men capable of creating a new world, a really human world. Without rescuing paternity, we cannot be happy children, truly human beings and full-fledged Christians.
Questions for Meditation
1. Am I aware what my task as a father implies and its consequences?
2. Have I noticed some of the mentioned attitudes in my children: insecurity, envy?
3. Am I distant from my children?
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