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The Daily Groove

Love the Behavior, Too

When a child's behavior is deemed inappropriate, the conventional wisdom is to "Love the child, hate the behavior."

Hmmm... It'd be nice if children could make the subtle distinction between self and behavior, but even adults have a hard time with that! If your partner tells you s/he hates your behavior, is it any less discouraging to hear, "but I love YOU"?

Our behavior is a reflection of who we are at the moment. Hating your child's behavior is like saying you don't love the part of your child that wants to behave that way. To love unconditionally, you must find a way to love the behavior, too.

Fortunately, loving unwanted behavior doesn't mean wanting it or even tolerating it. You can love unwanted behavior even as you take steps to change it!

But be open to the possibility that Love will transform you, your child, and your relationship, such that you no longer feel a need to change anything.

(See follow-up, below...)

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