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The Powerful Gift of Acceptance In Your Family

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The Amazing Power of Acceptance in Your Family

This week my oldest son posted a link to My Son Wears Dresses Get Over It by Matt Duron. This is a powerful post from the parent of a young boy, ” who is a girl at heart.” This loving father speaks eloquently of what it means to parent a child who is “different.” Here’s an excerpt.

” I’m right here fathering my son. I want to love him, not change him. My son skipping and twirling in a dress isn’t a sign that a strong male figure is missing from his life, to me it’s a sign that a strong male figure is fully vested in his life and committed to protecting him and allowing him to grow into the person who he was created to be.”

THe Powerful Gift of Acceptance

The Gift of Acceptance

Matt Duron understands the amazing power of acceptance. He has grasped what it means to accept his children just the way they are. What a blessing he is to his family.

As parents we are called to give our children the gift of acceptance.

  • To embrace who they are right NOW, right at this moment.
  • Love them just the way they are.
  • Allow them to be who they are and not try to change them.

When we accept our children like this we are saying

  • You are enough
  • I value you
  • I love you just as you are

The Impact of Acceptance

Our acceptance is powerful. It gives our children permission accept themselves. Shame researcher Brené Brown explains that

” Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. When we don’t have that, we shape-shift and turn into chameleons; we hustle for the worthiness we already possess.”

Acceptance transforms families

The most important things about acceptance is the way it builds strong family connections.

Think about the people you like to spend time with. Do you prefer someone who is always criticizing or the person who accepts and loves you just as you are?

I have worked with young people for many years and I have seen the amazing power of acceptance at work in families. Teens who experienced acceptance tended to have strong relationships with their parents. It was wonderful to see.

Unfortunately I also saw the other side of the coin. Young people who experienced constant criticism did not usually connect well with their parents. Now they are adults some of them refuse to have any contact with their parents. It is heartbreaking to see.

It took me a while to learn how to accept my children. I wish I could have discovered this a lot earlier. The trouble was I didn’t know what acceptance looked like. I didn’t realize that my criticisms sent negative messages to my children. No matter how well intended they were.

It can be really hard as a parent. I wanted the best for my children and I worried that if I didn’t push them they would not succeed. As a parent I wanted to give them the skills I thought they needed for life. If only I could go back in time and redo those early years. I would definitely take a different approach.

How to know if you need to work on your acceptance skills

This week I would encourage you to take a step back and examine your relationship with your children. One of the hallmarks of acceptance is a lack of criticism. Think about these questions

  • Do you find yourself constantly criticizing your children?
  • Do you criticisms outweigh your words of encouragement?

If the answer is yes, then you may need to work on your acceptance skills. I will be writing more about that next week. Meanwhile here are two resources that I have found helpful.

Looking for more?

Ben’s Brother is a band from the UK who have written some thought provoking songs. Their song I Am Who I Am really helped me think about the whole issue of acceptance.

“Why when you dream do you see me as something I’m not?
Why don’t you wake up and see all the good things you’ve got?
A heart isn’t made out of clay
Not something you shape with your hands
Understand?”

Rachel from Hands Free Mama wrote a beautiful piece about the sudden realization that she was trying to change her daughter , how damaging that was to the whole family, and how she changed her attitude. It is a lovely piece about the transformative power of acceptance.

Now it’s your turn

I’d really like to hear from you. When and how have you experienced acceptance? How to you convey acceptance to your children? What struggles do you have?

THe Amazing Power of Acceptance in Your Family

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

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27 thoughts on “The Powerful Gift of Acceptance In Your Family”

  1. It’s a great, and definitely important, post. I think the more one can accept oneself, the easier it is to accept others. And that’s also true for parents and children. It includes that my vision and dreams are not my daughter’s one and that if I want her to respect others, I need to respect her at the first place. Even it’s not always easy to keep this in mind.

    1. You are so right Daniela. One of the most important things I’ve had to learn is to let go of my expectations and dreams, so my children could pursue their own. As you say it’s not always easy to keep it in mind, but with practice it becomes easier.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I can’t wait to read the articles you referenced! I feel like generally, I am pretty positive, but there are times when I go upstairs and find that for a couple days, the kids have done NONE of the things we’ve talked about being their responsibility (they’re 7) and I can easily begin a ranting, “What are you supposed to do with your cup in the morning?” (Bring it downstairs…) and more questions like this, showing my frustration as I go. What seems to be behind this (when I step back) is a fear that I’m not doing well enough in teaching them responsibility. When I see they’re “failing” I feel I’ve “failed,” and I feel unsure how to proceed with better results. I even fast forward to imagining them as adult slobs. :{ The result is a wilted daughter, who feels badly. So I see I need to work on my self-talk if I’m going to stop ranting!

    1. Oh Kendra I totally relate! I had 3 boys that were very similar. Their bedrooms were a sight to behold. I want to reassure you that they are all independent adults living in clean organized houses and holding down jobs. I identify with the fear of not doing a good job as a parent. We are not alone. Parenting skills are a huge shame trigger for many women.
      When it comes to helping children with their daily tasks I found that written prompts really helped my boys. A check list was a visual reminder of their daily tasks. It might also be helpful to sit down with your daughter and help her develop her own strategies. You might ask something like, “What can we do to help you remember to bring your cup down” Children can be amazingly creative.

      1. That’s so good to hear, Sharon. It also helps to trust that I’m not the only guiding light for them as they find their way. That IS too big for me and anytime I try to take that on, I would be right to panic, but I don’t have to. 🙂

  3. Great post! My daughter in many respects is quite different to me and the differences are in areas that test me. However, I too have decided to accept her as she is because that is who she is and I cannot change her. Mind you it took me a while to figure that out 🙂

    1. My youngest son is almost the polar opposite of me and those differences tested me sorely at times! Eventually I figured out that we were just different and slowly learned to embrace who he was. At that point things became much easier for both of us. It also took me a while to get to that point 🙂

  4. Beautifully written article. I think this is one of the fundamental lessons that we have to learn: to love and accept others as they are. I don’t have children, but I feel this is a universal need that can be applied to all relationships. I know I could be more accepting of my husband, my parents, and myself, and someday when I have children, I imagine this will be something I will need to regularly remind myself of. Thanks so much for writing this!

    1. Thank you Kristin. Yes you are absolutely right, acceptance is something that is vital in all relationships. I love that you included yourself in your list. I have found that the more I accept myself, the easier it is to accept others. Having children also caused me to grow in this area.

  5. I think this is one of those really hard lines to walk in parenting. Accepting your kids just as they are, but also realising that there are something’s about them that do need to change. I adore my son absolutely, but he is easily offended, so it’s my job to help him cultivate his sensitive side, whilst teaching him to protect his heart.
    It’s not a one or the other scenario, but just a balance issue that needs to be worked on I think.

    1. Thank you Jess for your thoughtful comment. Yes it is a balancing act. I will try to write about that next week, but I think it is something every parent has to figure out as every child is different.

  6. I still deal with not feeling accepted by my family. I’m in my forties now and I’ve only recently truly owned that “I am enough.” Growing up this way, I vowed not to convey that message to my own children. I strive to accept them as who they are and to let them know they are enough–they don’t have to do anything, be anything, or say anything–I love them unconditionally. I think we all have a need to hear from our parents at some point in our lives, “You are enough. You matter. I love you just the way you are.” Sometimes we don’t get that and that hole needs to be healed in order to fully grow into the person you are. By healed, I mean therapy or a loving and supportive partner; you might never hear it from your parent. Thanks for a very thought-provoking post. Love Brene Brown! Oh, and found your blog through The Jenny Evolution’s Friday Flash Blog.

    1. Oh Nicole, thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you did not feel accepted by your family. That is hard to deal with. I am really glad that you have been able to work through this and are now on the road to self-acceptance. That is such a blessing for your family. As you can probably tell I too am a Brene Brown fan 🙂 I am very glad you found your way to my blog.

  7. Melissa @ Home on Deranged

    I have become so much more attuned to just how much power words have on our two toddler girls recently. I think up til now I just assumed that they either didn’t understand me or that they quickly forgot it, but I’m starting to recognize that the things I say today will have a lasting impact all the way through their lives.
    Found this post on the Parenting Pin-It Party!

    1. How wonderful that you have come to this realization while your girls are young. It’s going to make a big difference. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  8. We all hopes and dreams for our kids. I had to let go of what I had envisioned and just let my son be. It’s a very hard thing to do, to accept that they are different and accept things aren’t going to turn out the way you hoped. I’ll never stopped telling him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. I still love getting huge hugs and I love yous from him too.

    1. Aren’t those hugs and love yous great? I still enjoy getting those from my children, even though they are adults. It is hard to accept that things aren’t going to turn out the way you had hoped, but it sounds as if you are doing a great job 🙂

  9. Wow, this is awesome, I don’t generally like to read things for other people, but I’m going to share this with my husband when he gets home, I think it will be helpful! Thank you!

    Visiting from the Parenting Party, Dawn

    1. Thanks for visiting Dawn. It really encourages me to hear that something I wrote has been helpful.

  10. I loved this post. What I am struggling with is a fine boundary between guiding and teaching values and pushing. It’s one thing to force your child to do dancing if she wants to play soccer and quite another thing to accept that she does a sloppy job because she wants to get it over with.

    1. Oh Natalie I hear you loud and clear. It is such a fine balancing act isn’t it? What I eventually realized was that when it came to schoolwork (or developing other skills) the motivation to do a good job had to come from within. Nothing I said or did made the slightest snip of difference *sigh.* If it was important to them my boys would work at it. When they did a sloppy job in their chores, well I learned to raise my eyebrows, smile, and send them back to redo the chore properly!

  11. Quite honestly this post has made me feel terrible. But I thank you for that. I have had one of THOSE days with the toddler. I have criticised him constantly today as his behaviour was just awful. I am now thinking that may be of my own making. You raise some very good points and `i am going to try and make tomorrow a better day for both me and him.
    Thank you for linking up with the Monday Parenting Pin It Party. This post will be a useful resource for many of us I think.

    1. Oh Mom of One I’m sending you virtual hugs. I’ve been there. Parenting a toddler is hard, exhausting work! It does get better I promise! Fortunately we can always try again and our children are remarkably forgiving at that age. I hope that today is a much better day for you all.

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  13. What an amazing post – this has really, really got me thinking about how I am parenting, and what my behaviour does to my kids, and the knock on effect…Thanks so much for taking the time in linking this up to the Parenting Pin it Party this week 😀

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