Parents only have one duty: to bring up their children with love. The problem is that so many parents do not know this fact, or have a twisted understanding of the concept of “love”. Some never even hug their child, some abandon their child for their own lives and some even abuse their child. However, that does not mean one should obsess with their child either. Always teaching the child that “they are the best” is not love. Also, trapping a child and preventing them from leaving you is obsession, not love. Some parents tell their children that studying will lead to a happy, successful future, and compare them to other children who get better grades. This is a crucial mistake, as the children will probably live out an unhappy life with a deep wound in their heart for the rest of their lives. This is because the parents’ role is not to secure a successful future and instructing them how to get there, but to allow the child to independently plan their future, taste failure and develop their own values and philosophy, only supporting them from the side. A parent is not a leader who leads a child along a predestined path of life, but an assistant who supports a child while they pave their own path of life and walk down it. To support and respect a child’s decisions, dreams, talents and potential; to teach the wisdom and skills the child will need to follow their dreams; that is true love.
Of course, that is not to say that one should neglect and leave a child without any interventions. If a child clearly makes an objective error or misbehaves, it is a parent’s role to correct it. This kind of home education is not interference like obsessing about the child’s studies, but supportive intervention that helps the child follow their dreams and not be lost on the way. Home education is a very important form of love that imbues a child with skills such as social skills, ethics, morality, philosophy and love that will allow them to lead a happy and wholesome life.
Why is parental love so important to a child? Childhood is a critical period when the child’s brain is rapidly developing and when the child begins to form his or her personality and view of the world. Almost every mental illness (especially personality disorders) can be traced back to a childhood trauma, or at least be affected by it. For example, a child whose parents did not care for them will grow up lacking love and attachment, leading to constantly seeking love and attention from others, which may develop into dependent personality disorder. If a child has to live up to the parents’ great expectations, they will not receive sympathy and fail to develop a self identity. To fill this void, the child will continuously float from one person to another to seek this sympathy. A child with obsessive parents being led to believe that they are the best could develop narcissistic personality disorder, who becomes violent and enraged when someone points out a mistake they made. As one can see, parental love is a crucial nutrient that fosters a healthy personality in a child, helping them become a wholesome, independent “person”.
No matter how poor the parents are, a child who was raised on love is able to construct a plentiful, happy life. Then, when the child becomes a parent, they will know how to raise their own children with love as well. The best parents are those who respect the child’s decisions and allow them to be free when they set out on their pursuit of happiness. All you need is love.