“Dear Parent, as you understand further about what I’m going to tell, you will know more about how to help me grow up. Just to blurt it all out: ‘YOU’ are the most important person in my life! You may not believe it, but our relationship either shapes me or breaks me. No matter what is going on with you, I NEED YOU to be there for me!! MY LIFE IS AT STAKE! I NEED you unconditionally! I need you when I cry. I need you when I don’t want you. I need you when I can’t sleep. I need you when I say, “I hate you!”. I need you to help me when I make mistakes. I need you to say you’re sorry. If I scream or throw food on the floor, let me know you love me. Help me learn to calm down so I can let you know why I’m angry. With love and discipline, guide me as I try to figure out how to deal with my problems, don’t yell at me and tell me I’m a brat. I need you to love me through and through – no matter what, despite my mistakes.
Unconditional love is actually the main ingredient that helps my brain grow normally. You see, my brain shapes and grows as it is fed through my thoughts and feelings about what happens to and you and me; and the more I feel loved, the more I feel secure and safe and more able to put the pieces together. However, the more I feel dismissed or a problem-child, the more my brain tells me that maybe I’m not worth much. Even if you don’t mean it but I am placed in the shadows when you are struggling with adult problems, I can take it personally. Or, if you tend to be sad a lot or angry and we don’t have that love connection, I can blame myself for your heartache. Or, if you aren’t secure, will I learn that life is uncertain and project it through a monster under my bed who gives me nightmares, or even worse some day? My brain hasn’t fully developed so am wide open to interpretation.
It is time for you to help me figure out how to deal with all the stuff I don’t even know about. You know, I’ve never lived before so there is everything I don’t know. I am in your hands! You are the one to help me grow up with confidence and loved. Keep me in your mind. Let me know that you ‘get me’. Stay with me and share my mind with yours. As you enter my world, you will understand me. As you enter my world, I will better understand you. Let me feel loved and cherished. As we become like one mind, we may meld into our own beautiful dance together. I know that this, in itself, is the most important gift of all. Then, I will know you are with me and I can trust you to care for me, no matter what; even if your crabby or sad, even if you had a bad childhood, even if we have some bad genes…I know we are connected and you will always be there to be alongside me, especially to guide me as I try to figure out who I am and what I’m all about.
Thank you for being with me, through thick or thin. Thank you for thinking that I’m the best thing that ever happened to you. Thank you for dealing with your issues so that you can be the best parent in the world for me. We set our focus on tomorrow. Thank you. Luv, Your young little child.”
Claudia A. Liljegren, LICSW, Clinical Psychotherapist