Parenting With Love

Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC

Photo by Cristin Spielman Photography, LLC

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC

Parenting is a wonderful job and it can be equally pleasant and hard. When we become parents, nobody hands us a manual that will teach us what to do for the next 18 years. Nobody has written instructions for the way we have to spend our days being parents, seven days a week, many hours a day. We figure it out one day at a time, we make mistakes, we sometimes learn from them, other times we repeat them. Sometimes we make a phone call to our parents and ask for their support or advice. Other times we look at our friends for encouragement and new ideas. Sometimes we doubt that we are doing a good job taking care of our child/children, and we wonder if we were even meant to be parents. Sometimes we cry out from the pain that being a parent can be, and other times our hearts cannot stand to be filled with so much happiness and joy. Sometimes we have a chance to have a good night’s sleep; sometimes we are lucky to get in a shower. We constantly worry if we are on the right track and try to make changes, adjust schedules, cook healthy meals, do laundry, and be present at our child’s school performance.

What we forget is that the teacher of this parenting thing is right there with us. It is our own child. My best parenting teacher was my child. I vividly remember how one day she got in trouble – she was probably four – and I sent her to her room. On the way to her room, with rosy cheeks and her beautiful eyes filled with tears, she looked at me and in a dramatic voice said, “I don’t want to go to my room right now. Mommy, all I need now is some love.”

This is the biggest lesson my child taught me at a very young age. She needed my love, she needed to know that she is loved even when she was naughty, she needed to know that I get her pain and I understand why she doesn’t want to be alone. I asked her to come back to me and I looked into her wet eyes and I said, “Come sit here next to Mama. I love you and you can be next to me all you need, but we will need to find a solution to this problem of being naughty.” She climbed in my lap and it felt like she melted there. And with her, my heart melted too. It melted because of the joy I felt when my child could express her needs, as well as me being able to respond in a way that made our relationship a little stronger and our love the secret to success.

Love is a very important factor in parenting, because with love comes acceptance, empathy, playfulness. With love, we can open our hearts and minds and let the little/big ones find a home in there even when we are mad or ready to explode.

Love is essential to growing and developing like water is essential to plants. Without love there is no empathy and there is no desire to be a better parent, to try harder, to make your relationship with your child a great one. Love is the basis of any human relationship and it helps guide us through the parenthood’s rough patches. So never give up love, never give up loving and showing your love to your child, regardless of the circumstances.