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“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.” -- Rosaleen Dickson

We've reached the final step of our series Ten Steps to Unconditional Love.

Step Ten? 
Repeat daily to rewire your brain for love. Watch your life transform. 

Healing our ability to love unconditionally requires daily practice. Most of us don't wake up overflowing with love every morning.  So each day we start over. Managing our moods. Finding ways to reconnect with the deep springs inside that replenish us. Choosing love.

Research shows that certain habits do rewire our brains. Habits like meditation, exercise, feeling gratitude, and serving a higher good actually change our bodies and brains so that over time we can regulate ourselves better emotionally. (Our immune systems work better, too!)  

And every time we stop ourselves from sliding into a "parent tantrum," we're building our ability to self-soothe so we can stay centered. The only catch? These habits have to be "practiced" daily.  READ POST

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Permalink

"You may become flooded by feelings such as fear, sadness or rage. These intense emotions can lead you to have a knee-jerk reaction instead of thoughtful responses.  When emotional reactions replace mindfulness, you're on the low road and it is very unlikely that you will be able to maintain nurturing communication and connection with your child." -- Dan Siegel

You know what the high road is. When you’re feeling really good, nothing fazes you. You respond to your child’s foibles with patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.

You know what the low road is, too. It’s when you’re stressed, exhausted, resentful.  When you insist on being right or wringing an apology out of your child.  When your fuse is so short that you feel justified in having your own little tantrum. When you're in the grip of fight or flight emotions and your child looks like the enemy.   READ POST

Thursday, December 05, 2013 | Permalink

 "Dr Laura....I only found Aha! Parenting a month ago. Already things have improved so much with my kids and I no longer act like a crazy person when I get frustrated with them.  But I  keep wondering if I have messed my children up forever...."

"Understanding alone cannot prevent disrupted connections from occurring.  Some will inevitably happen. The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness. To continually chastise ourselves for our "errors" with our children keeps us involved in our own emotional issues and out of relationship with our children.." -- Daniel J. Siegel

Have you made mistakes as a parent?  Join the club.  The bad news is that you're human, like all parents. So we all fall short.   READ POST

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 | Permalink

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom." -- Victor Frankl

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." – Willa Cather

I know, you never actually stop loving your child, even when she acts like a monster and you can't stand being with her another minute.  But unfortunately, the love you feel isn't the most important factor in your child's emotional development.  READ POST

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | Permalink

"Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label.  Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds.  You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom." - Anonymous

Unconditional love isn't just what we feel.  It's what the object of our love feels: love without strings attached.  That means our child doesn't have to be, or do, anything in particular to earn our love.  We love her exactly as she is.   READ POST

Thursday, November 14, 2013 | Permalink

"What can you do if the people in your life, in particular family, continue to inflict wounds although you keep forgiving?  Isn't it better to keep them at arms length ?" - Ruby

“Healing comes when we meet our wounded places with compassion."  -- Stephen Levine

Last week, Step 4 in our series Ten Steps to Unconditional Love was Are You Drinking Rat Poison? The Secret of Forgiveness   Many readers thought I was saying that forgiveness means you make up with anyone who has hurt you and give them access to your heart again.  NOT.  You don't want people in your life who inflict wounds. Arms length? Toss them out of your life altogether!   READ POST

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Permalink

"Families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness. At some point you forgive the people in your family for being stuck together in all this weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to forgive anyone... Not forgiving someone is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rats to die.” -- Anne Lamott 

When your child pushes your buttons, you automatically move into "fight or flight."  It's hard to love unconditionally.  Of course, your child might need you to set a clear, kind limit, but you'll do that better if you aren't seeing him as the enemy while you're doing it.

Often, we think it's our child's fault that he's pushing our buttons. But do you ever wonder when those buttons were built into your psyche?  That's right -- during your own childhood. Those are your buttons, and life will keep pushing them until you heal them. 

It's hard to love unconditionally when part of our heart is closed off behind the bars of anger or resentment. If you want to liberate your heart to access all the love there, you have to heal your old wounds.  READ POST

Thursday, October 31, 2013 | Permalink