The attitudes we hold play a crucial part in the way children think of themselves and others, as well as what they plan on achieving in life.

THE SUPERIORITY ATTITUDE (I'm all right but you are not.) The first assumption that parents are superior and that children are inferior beings, is destructive to a youngster's maturing toward a successful adult life.

Some persons call this a superiority complex but it really is a sham that is used to relieve the adult's wounded ego from the pain it suffered in childhood. Such a parent is unable to admit to mistakes in judgment or to attribute sound motives to the child -- while each youngster knows he or she makes many blunders that displease a perfectionist parent.

In comparison to the perfect parent, the child who is finding his way through life, is forced to think of himself or herself as incompetent. And that often leads to the development of the second attitude.

THE INFERIORITY ATTITUDE (You're all right but I am not.) This second assumption, that one is inferior and that everyone else is a much better person, is a fetid breeding ground for mental illness with depression, schizophrenia sexual disorders and many obsessions and compulsions.

All parents are frustrated by their kids at times and occasionally resentful of the fifteen or twenty year commitment that rearing a child requires. As H.L. Mencken quipped, Our kids ruin the second half of our lives. But most of us manage to make our way through those often difficult years and eventually experience great joy from the process.

We discover that we must make allowances for young learners, must accept many trial and error attempts to succeed, when we want to have our children accept the benefits of our vast wisdom! Children almost always respond better to encouragement rather than to criticism.

In fact, no criticism is valuable, because children learn far more from correction and sound instructions from their elders. Too much criticism leads to the third attitude.

THE HOPELESS ATTITUDE --(Neither of us is all right.) This is the whimper heard within families that have been crippled or even crushed by secular values, low expectations or simply by the a culture that has little need for families that do not earn a lot of money or make sophisticated choices.

Such sufferers feel, there is no point in trying to succeed, to achieve anything good, because there is little or no hope for a person such as myself.

THE ACCEPTING ATTITUDE --(Both of us are all right.) Although the parent and child will have different interests and play different roles in the family and community, this is the only positive attitude of the four.

Believing that children are all right, even when they cannot run as fast as an adult, lift as much weight or spell as correctly, is an important act of faith, providing that one doesn't cripple them with unrealistic expectations and draconian punishments when they stumble and need more instruction and patience.

The accepting attitude doesn't guarantee perfect, obedient children but it does give them a better opportunity to mature without excessive pressure that often leads to disaster. Judge children by others of their own age and competence rather than in comparison to adults and that includes yourself.

Parents and children who mature together, in different ways and at different rates of course, are generally well adjusted people who adapt when they should and persevere when they must.

A successful parent must understand that his or her children are growing up in a family, school, city and nation that is vastly different from the institutions that shaped the previous generation's values, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and choices.

When parents cannot accept these changes, which are irreversible within every family, community and society, they establish many stumbling blocks for their children and cause a great number of unnecessarily conflicts.

Author's Bio: 

Jard DeVille; Psychology Dept. Chair at Westminster College; Director of the Learning And Learning Disabilities Clinic with the University of Wisconsin, also taught in the Executive Development Program at the University of Arizona. He's published many psychology books, seminars and test instruments. He's considered by many to be one of America's foremost leadership scholars. Permission to use if attributed to author with his website address. Visit for FREE E-Books & Internet Business Tools.