What Our Children Need to Know About Love
Fairy tales paint a rose-tinted version of what love is, which is why it is up to us to teach our kids about the realities of love. For one, children should know that love does not always involve knights in shining armor and happily ever afters. Similarly, they shouldn’t be told that rude people who tease them have a crush on them.
Bright Side looks at some of the most essential messages about love that we should teach to our children.
Abuse is not love.
When your kids come home crying about being teased by other kids, do not tell them that is because those mean kids have a crush on them. Letting them think that way will teach them that abuse is a sign of love and that is not healthy.
There is give and take in love.
It is easy to want to dote on your children and allow them to receive all your love and attention. But they should also know that they cannot only be on the receiving end. As much as they deserve love from others, they should also be taught to compromise and give love to others.
Loving others does not mean you need to love yourself less.
Your children need to know that when they love someone, it does not mean that they should sacrifice themselves and bend over backward for their loved ones. Sure, compromise is important in any relationship, but they shouldn’t love themselves less in order to love someone else. Children learn this from looking at their parents’ relationship.
Respect is crucial in love.
Children should know that respect and love should go hand-in-hand. They should earn respect from others and give respect to others. They should also be taught that they deserve respect, just as much as any other person. Love without respect can be toxic.
Loving yourself is the most important kind of love.
The little ones need to know the difference between being selfish and loving themselves. While they should be taught to not trample over others for their own benefit, they also need to know to accept themselves for who they are. They shouldn’t change themselves just to fit into a mold and be loved by someone.
Sometimes love does not last forever.
Romantic comedies may lead your growing children to believe that love lasts a lifetime. But the truth is that love is fleeting and sometimes it is better to end a relationship and move on. They need to understand that all the moments spent while they were in love were not a waste. They were lessons for a better experience in the future.
Long-lasting love requires effort.
The young ones need to learn that for something as fragile as love to last, they need to put effort into it. If someone they love is worth it and is willing to put in as much effort as they are, long-lasting love is not impossible.
Sometimes someone you love does not love you back.
As parents, of course, you try your best to give your children everything they want and need. But sometimes things are beyond anyone’s control and your children need to come to terms with not always getting what they want. One-sided love can bring a lot of heartache, but they need to learn to let go. The experience will be less devastating if they already know what to expect and know that you will be there to support them.
Love should make you a better person.
There are many types of love and your kids have to understand that they deserve the kind of love that makes them a better person. Let them know that love should encourage them to have a brighter future and be a good human being.
Love is not just rainbows and butterflies.
Contrary to what fairy tales would have them believe, love is not all about the pretty things. The kids need to be ready for the less beautiful part of love, for example, their trust being challenged and clashes with their loved ones. Most love, in real life, is nothing like love in fairy tales.
Do you agree that these are important for children to know? What else do you think children need to know about love?
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me