I realized something very important around me: people think that children love them unconditionally just because they are their parents or grandparents. Many grandparents think that their grandchildren will love them even if they don't spend any time with them.
My best friend has an amazing boy. He is fantastic, well-behaved and extremely polite. And he has a grandfather who - let’s say - suffered in life and drinks from time to time. He lost his self-esteem and have difficulty to talk about anything else other than how he suffers in the world. For him, everybody is an enemy. When he is around his 7-year-old grandson, he does not talk to the boy or play with him. But he loves to make sarcastic jokes to the boy, hurting him. Because by doing so, the grandfather thinks he is the god of the hill for harming a 7-year-old. Yes, this is an extreme example, so I can give another one, which happens quite more often.
There is a grandmother who is so busy with her work and with her thoughts. When she is with her granddaughter, she has difficulty on being in the present. When the small one asks to play with her, she is always on the phone or doesn’t want to sit on the floor to play because she can’t even sit at one place anymore for more than 10 minutes.
In both cases, these people think that the children should still love them unconditionally. Oh really?
And why? Just because that they are their relatives? They think that a child will understand that he needs to love somebody just because they are in the same family. I think we become an adult when we understand what unconditional love is and when we practice it with somebody, even with the people who are bad to us, which requires a high spiritual level.
When it comes to children, they need to feel that it is you who should give them something first. And that something depends on what their love language is. Do you have that lovely aunt in the family who always brings something when she comes? She knows the trick. My son needs emotional care, my daughter needs lots of attention, and time for playing and being together. They do not give you unconditional love easily. But from the moment they feel the connection with you, they will continuously build that connection with you forever. And even if you fail, they will still believe in you. So that's really unconditional.
The only real unconditional love is between mother and child. Mothers can be the kind of mother they want to be; the child will never stop giving her a chance. For connection between father and child, the first 3 years will be the time to build up that strong relationship that's grounded on love.