Unconditional Love is Important in Launching Young Adults but it Doesn’t Mean Unconditional Approval.
Unconditional love refers to the deep, abiding love a parent has for a child that nothing can break or destroy. Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of two students responsible for the mass murders at Columbine High School, suffered greatly the tragedy of her son’s death and the loss of lives. However, at no point did she stop loving her son. As parents, we are hardwired to love our kids no matter what. Expressing this in actions and words is critical to their security and important to the transition they make into adulthood. Loving unconditionally is an expression of the heart, but it does not excuse or rationalize inappropriate behavior. Unconditional love and conditional approval are not mutually exclusive. One doesn’t negate the other. You can be very loving and yet be clear on what you believe is irresponsible and inappropriate behavior.
How Well are you Doing in Expressing Unconditional Love and Conditional Approval?
- You tell your young adult that nothing they do or say will ever cause you to stop loving them.
- You allow them to make mistakes and fail but continue to reach out to them in love.
- You allow them to be different and have their own separate identity.
- You clearly communicate your important values such as honesty, keeping promises, and being fair.
- You don’t try to ignore, explain away, or excuse irresponsible behavior. You allow your young adult to face the consequences of such behavior.