Loving Parenting Paradox


In my prior article, “Loving Parenting”, I raised the question as to why we are more at ease and more effective when managing other people’s children than our own. It seems that when we take “love” out of the equation, we are better able to utilize more rational and problem solving approaches to management, and that children are more able to identify rules and conform to expectations. As adults we all know that it’s not right to yell at someone else’s children. Children also know that it’s not right to disobey or frustrate someone else’s parents. Not surprisingly, these “expectations “are exactly the same ones we look for in an effective and loving home environment. The interplay between emotionality and rationality seems to be at the foundation of effective and loving parent-child relationships. In many cases, I’ve observed that emotion in moderation is an important part of parenting good and successful child behavior, and that rationality is a better tool for managing difficult or unsuccessful behavior. Conversely, excessive emotionality seems to fuel inappropriate behavior, while excessive rationality dampens good behavior. If you add to the equation the idea that not all children are the same and some may need different proportions of either approach, and that parents have their own experiences to deal with, then the complexity of the situation becomes even more obvious. Effective parenting in a multiple child home could be even more complicated than organic chemistry or advanced calculus. What this all leads to is the enormous amount of problem solving, parental communication, ongoing retrospective assessment, organization and practice necessary for a successful family environment.

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