Are you a parent that has tried all the “fear tactics” in getting your child to comply? Have you had to change the way you discipline as your child gets older? Have you had to continue increasing the consequences as your child gets older? Do you see your child’s behavior as a challenge to your authority? Many times parents parent according to what was modeled to them when they were children and follow the blueprints of what was provided as a foundation in attempts to getting children to obey, respect and comply.

Many parents see their child’s behaviors as manipulative and controlling and miss the underlying factors or root of the behavior. As a result, they try to use the power of fear, rather than unconditional love. Once a parent understands that behaviors, which look to be manipulative, controlling and uncooperative, are actually from a child’s unmet need or an adult’s unrealistic expectation, they don’t have to take it so personally and are much more able to stay in a loving relationship with them. Struggles don’t have to occur and relationships don’t have to suffer. The most powerful “tool” is the connection and bond that a parent has with their child. When a parent consistently and lovingly meets a child’s early needs, a strong, loving bond is created. When a parent provides emotional safety, the bond and relationship strengthens. Threats and fear tactics do just the opposite. They undermine the parent-child relationship and send the message to children that their needs, feelings and wants are not important.

As human beings, we all want and need to feel loved and we are all neurobiologically engineered to be in relationship. In today’s world, the power of “love” has been minimized and often times overlooked. Love has taken on a whole new meaning and love has gotten to be very complex. People have overlooked the power of love, as it is felt that the basis of “love” is way too simple to be effective. In today’s world, it has often times been assumed that in order for anything to be effective, it must be big and complex. It doesn’t have to be this way. Love is so simple, yet so powerful, so needed and so essential.

The next time your child displays behaviors that look on the surface to be manipulative and or controlling, look to them in love and try to find out what may be causing the behaviors----look below the surface. Understand that the root of their behavior is fear. This level of fear is most often times at a very subconscious level, but it is very real and it drives their reactive behavior. Connect with them through love and communicate to them that their feelings, needs and wants are important to you. Reconnect with your child, rather than scare them. Focus more on the relationship and the process to reconnect, rather than focusing strictly on their behavior or the outcome. Learn to listen to your child’s behavior rather than trying to control it. Meet your child’s behavior with love and empathic understanding, rather than instilling them with fear. Be present with them and meet them in love where they’re at emotionally. They need to know, believe and feel that you love them unconditionally and want to gain a true understanding of what they are going through and how they are feeling. Get in touch with your own emotions and ask yourself how you are truly feeling at that moment so that you can stay present with them. Allow them to truly feel your love. Love is amazing and love is powerful. Love is so very promising! Love is one of the most powerful God given gifts to human kind. Embrace yourself in it and embrace your children in it because true, unconditional love will never fail you. True unconditional love fulfills…… it heals……it is everything!