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Can we love our children too much?

It would appear not.

At least according to this article published on Time online (found thanks to @ecotoys). Research indicates that responding quickly, instinctively and gently to our baby and young childrens needs develops both their moral and prosocial behaviours, such as the development of empathy and conscience. I particularly liked this quote;

“The brain becomes what it does most frequently. It is shaped every day by what we do — and what we don’t do.

If we don’t practice empathy, we can’t become more empathetic. If we don’t interact with people, we can’t improve our connections to them. If we don’t ease each other’s stress through caring contact, we will all be increasingly distressed.” ~ Dr. Bruce Perry

Food for thought. And timely as it arrived shortly after I read this thought provoking post, ‘You just broke your child. Congratulations.’ at Single Dad Laughing (found via Good Goog).

Although I wholeheartedly believe in parenting in ways which place importance on the developing relationship between parent and child, that are emotionally responsive, that are about consistency and gentleness, love and respect, I don’t always get it right (do any of us?) Especially in the wake of my recent see-sawing emotional state. Combined with the oftentimes challenging behaviour of my two-and-a-half year old as she learns to negotiate the world.

I am thankful for the reminder that parenting lovingly, gently and responsively (with consistency) is a good thing. That I am not spoiling her but instead helping her to learn to respond to others as a loving, caring individual. A reminder which will hopefully help me to take an extra breath the next time I find myself feeling snappy with frustration.

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Comments

  1. Oh, very true. And very timely reminder for me, too. The link from Single Dad Laughing had me in tears.

  2. Agreed – loving your child too much means knowing what they need and giving it to them. It's important to recognise that what they *want* and what they *need* are not necessarily the same thing.

    On the other hand, giving a child everything that they want can have truly deleterious effects.

    This is something that the "spare the rod, spoil the child" crowd would do well to acknowledge.

    Great post, Christie.

  3. What a nice thing to post! My husband and I often discuss whether you can spoil a kid through too many kisses and cuddles and always come to the conclusion that it can only be a good thing.

    The Single Dad Laughing post is a good reminder that we're right

  4. Loved this article too… was very timely for me as I'd just had a run-in with a family member over the 'little manipulator' thing…

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