Real Love in Parenting
Nine simple and powerfully effective principles for raising happy and responsible children
by Greg Baer
Reviewed by Richard Urban on 1/1/2016
Real Love in Parenting is a must read for prospective and current parents. The core premise of the book is that children’s behavior reflects their need to feel loved. When this need is not met, they behave badly.
As a parent, I have often acted with irritation towards my children. I learned from this book that this is always wrong. I would always tell my wife or daughter that I was not angry when I was irritated. In fact though, Greg Baer explains that, for children, it is just a matter of degrees. Whether you are irritated or overtly angry, your children will still feel a lack of love. In response, they will use “Getting and protecting behaviors.” These behaviors are lying, attacking, acting like victims and either clinging or running.
The book has many practical examples of typical interactions between parents and children. These include talking about fighting among siblings, failure to do chores, avoidance of one’s parents, and many other situations. The author believes that we can teach our children to be happy and responsible by giving them real love and teaching them to practice real love. The more our children can choose to make good choices, the more happy and responsible they will be. If they are not making those wise choices, it is largely because we have not loved our children with real love, but rather with conditional love.
To get into a state where we can give real love to our children, we have to feel unconditionally loved ourselves. We have to admit our mistakes and feel loved by others who can accept us as we are. The author calls these people “wise men and women”. Then we can see and love our children as they are, not for what they do, which is conditional love. For example, If we love and praise our children when they make good grades, but then withhold that acceptance and love when they make bad grades, that is not real love, but conditional love. In general, this is the way most parents operate.
Another striking point that is emphasized repeatedly is that anger is always wrong. What our children need is love, and yes, guidance and to learn the consequences of bad choices. But they do not need us to be angry. This in itself is quite revolutionary and eye opening. This can also be stated as “No one ever makes us angry”. Anger is always a choice.
To find people with whom we can be truthful about ourselves, we need to be making phone calls and personal visits every day. This book can help us to make meaningful relationships with others who understand the points being made in the book and who want to experience and to give real love in their own lives. This in itself will help to make a revolution of real love versus conditional love.
In conclusion, get this book, read it again and again, put it into practice and share it with others. Greg Baer has also written several other books on real love in relationships, and I look forward to becoming familiar with some of those.