What Traditional Parenting Techniques May Be Teaching Our Kids About Love

In this post I want to highlight what a lot of mainstream parenting principles teach children about love and relationships.  I personally believe that what we expect in our adult relationships, personal, professional or intimate, can often be linked to the way we were parented ourselves.  So I want to highlight here, what mainstream, traditional techniques are teaching our kids about love, and also some of the lessons we may have gotten growing up.

What is authoritarian parenting really teaching our children about love?

  • That you either control or be controlled, there is no other way, its either / or.
  • The bigger / older / stronger person has the control and we use it against those smaller / weaker / younger than us.
  • I will control you for your own good.  This is what a loving relationship looks and feels like, because I love you, this is what love is.
  • I often won’t take into consideration your feelings, needs or desires, because I know best, you will have to get used to tending to doing things or not doing things based on my own convenience, yes because I love you and this is what love is.
  • I will expect you to behave the way I want you to at home and in public, so you really don’t get much of a break to be yourself. Yes, this is also love, this is what love is.
  • You will have to do things on my schedule, you will have to eat when I want you to eat and sleep when I want you to sleep, because I don’t trust your own body wisdom, and because I love you and want what I consider best for you.  Yes thats what love is.
  • If you do something I consider wrong or bad I will punish you, because I love you, and yes thats what love is.
  • Even if you had good intentions, I’m going to assume that they were negative without even asking you first, because I know I know better than you, and you need my infallible wisdom and guidance, because I love you and yes thats what love is.
  • You need to win my love and approval, if I don’t like something you do I may not only punish you, but I may ignore you, shout at you or criticise you, because I love you and this will make you see the error of your ways.
  • Although my love for you is unconditional, I’m going to scare you into believing its not, because then I can control you into behaving the way I think is appropriate, so if I withdraw my love and affection, I still love you, its just my way of making you become a better person.


So we grow up with this warped view of love.  We grow up with this dysfunctional attitude around relationships.  Any many of us go on to replay this in our adult relationships, because that’s what love is right?  And if we parent this way, thats could be precisely what are children are going to learn about love too.


So what are your thoughts? Has the way you were parented affected your adult relationships?  Has it affected the way you parent your own children?


Emma Combes

Emma helps parents overcome the automatic negative reactions that are stopping them from parenting consciously and with love through her coaching practice. She also helps parents live the most awesome life in all areas, so they can know they were the best role model they could be for their children.