I hear so many parents of troubled kids say, I don’t really love my child. They feel guilty, it’s a hard thing to say, and they feel like the worst human being on the planet because they don’t “love” their child.
Well, I beg to differ, parents.
Do you provide every resource you possibly can for your child? Do you look for new methods to help the healing process, spend your (tiny bit of) free time reading books on improving your parenting, new parenting techniques, searching the internet for new clinics that deal with attachment disorders, search out other RAD parents and seek their advice? Do you spend your money on therapy, repairing damage the child has done, ER trips and stints in the psych ward when the child has hurt themselves, instead of going on cruises and vacations to Mexico? Do you stay at home rather than go out all the time because having to put a babysitter through the terrorist known as your child is not fair to them? Is your child well fed, have warm clothes, sleep in a warm house, have all that they need materially? Do you do the best that you can in any given moment?
That, my friends, is love. That is action. Love is a verb, it is an action. By providing and doing everything for these kids, you are loving them. When Jesus washed the feet of someone, He wasn’t all “I love you, I feel intense pleasure when looking at you.” No, He sat down in the dirt, kneeled in front of their dirty, stanky feet, and went to work. Remember they didn’t bathe frequently or really wear shoes in those days. This was dirty, icky work. This was an action. This was love in action.
This other love, this thing that people so frequently confuse as the only type of love, this fuzzy warm feeling you get inside, yes, that’s love too, but that’s not the important love. I love my cat. When he purrs I get all fuzzy warm inside. But the purring is not why I feed and care for him. I care for him because I love him – the action.
Yes, it would be wonderful to have glowing warm feelings every time we looked at our child. Even parents of neurotypical children don’t have that! But just because those feelings are lacking, does NOT mean you don’t love your child. Don’t sell yourself short. You are still in the ring, fighting for the life and future of this child, giving it all you got and then some. You love your child. You love your child with true love, unconditional love, the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated.