Sunday, May 16, 2010

Forcing Kids to Choose

Children do not need to be put in the position of having to choose which parent to live with, which parent to spend holidays with, or which parent to go out with Saturday night. Having to make those choices can be devastating for a child, and some children will try to please both parents.

"I remember one experience that to this day brings hurt," says Kennie, whose parents divorced. "My sister and I were with my dad, and my dad had called my mom on the phone. He wanted us to do something with him. My dad said to me, 'Well, you choose. Do you want to come do something with me, or do you want to go back with your mom and play Putt-Putt.'

"I didn't know how to read him. I thought, 'Does he want me to stay? Does he want me to go? What should I do?' So I said, 'Well, we'll go back.' Then he put on his sunglasses, and as he was driving us back, I could see the tears just coming down his face. That was real devastating to feel that pull and have to make choices."

Help your children to know that your love for them is not based on the choices they make or their words or behaviors. Show them that you love them unconditionally.

Unconditional love is what the heavenly Father has for you and your children. His love never fades, no matter what you do or say.

"The LORD appeared to us . . . saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness'" (Jeremiah 31:3).

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