Monthly Article Archives: November 2019

Acceptance: A Parenting ChallengeRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

At a presentation I attended at the beginning of my graduate school years, a speaker remarked, “Parents must learn to accept their children for who they are and not what they want them to be.”  My initial thought was, “Of course we should accept our children for who they are.  How difficult a task is that?” How naive I was.  As I began to engage in clinical work, I soon learned that acceptance of who our children are often represented a formidable task, made even more difficult when children exhibited behaviors that parents viewed as problematic or not in accord with parental values.  Several years later when I became a father myself, first with Rich and then with Doug, I experienced first hand the challenges of acceptance.  An essential ingredient of acceptance is unconditional love, that is, loving our children even when they behave in ways that are questionable or when they follow interests and a path in life that are not necessarily in keeping with our dreams for them. In understanding what is involved with acceptance, I want to emphasize that it should not be interpreted to mean that we allow our kids to do whatever they want or

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