Many parents refer to loving their children unconditionally, but what about in those stressful moments where everything seems to go awry? That's when children need unconditional love the most, and supporting them through the low moments is critical to building self-confidence.

We've all experienced those low parenting moments. The homework is nowhere to be found, each child has only one shoe or sock, you are already two minutes past the first bell and the toddler dumps a sippy cup of milk all over the floor. What do you do? How do you react? It's hard not to cry over spilled milk when that spilled milk sends your blood pressure through the roof.

Parenting is not easy. It sometimes looks easy if you live your life through the extraordinarily filtered lens of social media, but it's not easy.

Parenting is not easy. It sometimes looks easy if you live your life through the extraordinarily filtered lens of social media, but it's not easy. Every family faces unique stressors and no matter how perfect those neighbors across the street might appear, something has to give. The key to happy parenting is finding balance and keeping a healthy perspective. That spilled milk might threaten to push you over the edge in the moment, but in 20 minutes it will all be ancient history.

For kids, growing up involves a fair amount of trial and error. It's how they learn. Some trials have happy endings, and others end up all over the floor. We need to love them anyway. When children experience unconditional love from their parents, at every stage of development, they experience greater self-confidence. While we all want to raise responsible and competent kids, we also need to think about raising happy kids. Unconditional love plays an important role in reaching all of these parenting goals.

Take chances

Little kids sometimes fear failure. They are pleasers by nature and don't want to disappoint parents, teachers or other important figures in their lives. When children grow up knowing that their parents will love them even when they fail, they are more likely to take chances.

When kids take risks they find their strengths,
become more assertive and embrace opportunity.

Healthy risk taking is a vital part of growing up. When kids take risks they find their strengths, become more assertive and embrace opportunity. If they are bound by a fear of failure, kids will avoid taking personal risks. "Perfection" might look nice in a family photograph, but it certainly won't lead to greater happiness.

Talk about failure with your kids. Share your own failures (the age appropriate ones, anyway). Make sure your children know that failure doesn't impact your love for them.

Express emotions

When children grow up knowing that all thoughts and feelings are OK, even the not-so-nice ones, they are more likely to express their emotions.

Expressing feelings is critical to developing self-confidence and increasing happiness. When kids carry around big feelings, they are likely to internalize negative emotions. They need to get their feelings out. They need a safe place to work things out. It can be very difficult to sit and listen while a child describes negative emotions. As parents, we tend to be fixers. But we need to allow children the opportunity to discuss their emotions without judgment so that they can learn to cope and work through the obstacles that arise along the way.

Reminding your child that you love them even when they are overwhelmed, expressing negative emotions about a friend or are struggling emotionally increases the likelihood that your child will continue to express her emotions.

Find their way

It's tough to be a kid. Peer pressure starts early and kids tend to worry about how they measure up compared to their classmates. You might notice that your child begins to take on the persona of one or more of her friends at some point. That's all part of self-discovery and growing up.

The key is to love your child for who she is, and reinforce that often.

The key is to love your child for who she is, and reinforce that often. Kids tend to fear being "different." They might not want to stand out from the crowd. When you demonstrate unconditional love for your child, your child learns that she is wonderful just the way she is. That opens the door to truly finding strengths and becoming self-confident.

So go ahead and take a few deep breaths when the milk topples over for the tenth time today or you find paint splattered on the wall. The small mishaps will fade into the background, but a foundation of self-confidence and happiness will last a lifetime.

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