Parents tend to be more comfortable with either approaching parenting primarily through nurturing or by setting limits. There are many philosophical and psychological perspectives on this. Balancing both love and limits with awareness provides a solid foundation for children.
When parents doubt themselves or try extensively to follow a ‘provenmethod’’ whether the method is from an advising family member or a parenting “expert” approach, often frustration and ineffectiveness escalate. How does this happen? It happens because parents are most effective when comfortable in the role of parent, and drawing on their own authentic strengths, as well as a genuine empathy and connection with the child. Once this is established, defining boundaries and limits can follow.
Nurturing is as essential as physical nourishment for the growth of the whole child. Healthy manifestations of parental love and nurturing include respect, compassion, guidance, and clear communication. Containment involves a safe home environment and clear limits and expectations.
In the process of establishing limits, one consideration is safety, the other is conviction. If we attempt to set limits that we don’t feel strongly about, children will tend to sense this and act out. An approach may work for your friend, but if it doesn’t fit your style or belief it will not go far.
Attitudes and beliefs that we hold about ourselves as children and as parents come in to play with our children. It is helpful to be aware of our own experience and projections. We can develop insight and sort out what we want to carry over from previous generations and what to sift through and let go of.
Finding our own unique and genuine balance of compassion and containment can contribute to a more positive parenting experience and a well adjusted child.