False Assumption 9: Need Me, Love Me.

by | False Assumptions Series

If I want my kids to love me, they must need me.

It can be easy for us parents to confuse our kids needing us with their loving us. If there were indeed a connection between the two, then let’s hear it for raising kids that never learn how to live life without assistance from us! Let’s hear it for raising kids that never leave home!  After all, what parent in their right mind would encourage their kids to grow and mature into a free standing, independent person if they believed that in doing so, they would no longer be the recipient of their offspring’s love and affection?

Clearly, if we believe that as our children become more self-sufficient and independent, that their love for us dwindles, then because of our understandable desire to be loved by them, it stands to reason that we would do little if anything to help them develop the independence necessary for healthy and mature adult living.

When parents raise their kids under this false assumption-and it is usually subtle rather than a conscious decision they have made-then it follows that there will be greater likelihood for relationship problems and difficulties to develop between them, not to mention setting the stage for relationship issues throughout the course of their adult life.

The truth is however, that in healthy and growing relationships, there is no connection between being needed and being loved.  If you believe this, then your parenting will look remarkably and positively different.

There is a sad irony in all of this:

When we falsely assume that in order to be loved, we must be needed, the outcome is likely to be the very opposite of being loved. This is because when a child has been deprived of the necessary guidance and encouragement to be independent, and in so doing maintains his dependence on others, he will likely become angry and bitter toward the very one who so badly needed his love in the first place. Anger and resentment is a common outcome because their dependence has created weakness, much like when muscular atrophy occurs due to lack of use. They feel helpless and incapable of taking care of themselves and typically, they blame their enabler.

There are of course, all levels of severity to the possible outcomes of dependence. But in any case, creating undue dependence in our kids in order to be loved by them is never a good idea.


Suggestion: recognize there is no connection between being loved and being needed, and that there are much better reasons for your kids to love you.


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