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CunningFox's avatar

Are you a good parent if you provide for your child's needs and do not abuse them physically, yet fail to provide emotional support?

Asked by CunningFox (1235points) July 12th, 2017

Question as is. Are you a “good” parent if you take care of your child’s basic needs and are involved in their life but do not provide any emotional support, or are you just “decent”, or even downright “bad”? What’s your perspective?

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30 Answers

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Personally, I feel being defined as a ‘good’ parent requires you to provide physical and emotional support to your child. I always saw my role as not just providing food, shelter and clothing, but as nurturing my children. Helping them to grow into confident, intelligent, interested, caring and engaged members of the broader community. That takes a dedication to being a caring and loving parent.

chyna's avatar

Sure. My mom had kids because she was supposed to in that time period, but didn’t really know what to do with them. Especially me. She didn’t know how to raise a girl. But she wasn’t a bad person, just remote.

CunningFox's avatar

I am enjoying the varied responses so far. It’s very interesting to see how different people define good parenting and what that should entail. Please keep the thoughtful responses coming!

cookieman's avatar

I might say “adequate” as opposed to good. I mean orphanages and foster care can provide food, shelter, and clothing. Does that, by default mean they (collectively) are good parents?

Coloma's avatar

I think emotional support is very important. I was always very emotionally supportive of my daughter and always championed and encouraged her interests and she knew, from a very young age, that I valued and supported her in whatever she chose. Being the free spirited type myself and being raised by conservative, old school parents, one of my major parenting goals was to be much more emotionally and physically demonstrative. I gave her back rubs and massages every night at bedtime for years, and spent a lot of time in creative interactions with her.

Providing emotional support is just as important as good nutrition and other physical needs. Kids that don’t get a lot of emotional support or affection from their parents tend to be stilted in those areas as adults, emotionally distant and poor at expressing their feelings which is not a good trait in adult relationships. A distant, critical parent is not a good parent.

zenvelo's avatar

Nope. Nurturing a healthy emotional growth is a huge part of meeting a child’s needs.

Love/belonging is third on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is right after meeting physiological needs (food, shelter) and safety.

anniereborn's avatar

In my opinion that is neglect. So no, that is not a good parent.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Sometimes needs are defined differently.
I was raised by parents who didn’t hug or kiss. I rarely sat on either’s lap.
I love my kids, and I am supportive, and proud, but sometimes my daughter has wanted more cuddling, and other attention she doesn’t get because the way I was raised prevents me sometimes from making the first effort, or recognizing what she wants unless she tells me.
Does it make me a bad mother when I fall short even though I try very hard to be what she needs?
I hope not. I give of myself down to bare bones. It is painful for me to think I’m a bad mom because of things I can’t change.

Sneki2's avatar

Breaking your back to make sure your child is well and secured can be done only by a good parent. If you didn’t care for your kid, you’d never go that far.
Sometimes, you can’t have everything. Priorities need to exist. While your child can survive without you telling them you love them, it will die if you don’t give them food on the table and roof above head. Deciding to limit the emotional needs in order to provide security is a big sacrifice on the parent’s side. No bad parent would leave their kid living in misery just to “have some quality time”.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Yes, but not enough. What a child needs from parents is a dependable figure who they can run to when the world feels threatening, who can make them feel comfortable around, and who can be a role model of what kind of human they should be. The child needs to grow up as a human being with developed emotion. If they love their parents enough they will try to find a way to support themselves physically, and even help the parents, if the parents can’t provide them enough physical support.

Sadly it isn’t something all parents know. They provide children with enough physical support and neglect their emotional need. And their children end up feeling detached to them or growing up to be the same detached parents.

canidmajor's avatar

“Good” parent? No.

Adequate physical caregiver? Sure.

longgone's avatar

No. That’s low standards. You might be a good person, but definitely not a good parent.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s not up to me to judge other parents critically, for the most part, and as much as I can – it’s difficult when you’re as near perfect as I am! ~ – I try to avoid negative judgments of others. I’m not going to say “this is bad parenting”.

Let me just say that the OP’s description is not the kind of parenting I tried (and still try) to provide to my kids (now in their 30s), and it’s generally not the kind of parenting I received from my most excellent parents.

For whatever reasons, and because of the incredible diversity of personalities, cultures and capabilities (not to mention disease or other defect that interferes with a person’s wishes), some parents can’t provide the same as others. I might suggest, encourage or seek to assist them to do otherwise – “better”, that is – but I try not to judge.

For the most part. The world is also filled with assholes, and this needs to be acknowledged as well.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve never been a parent to a human, so I probably judge a bit harshly. I know it’s a tough job, I’ve seen what parents go through to raise a child. But I think we are here to make this world a better place and, in light of this, I believe that the parent’s job is to ensure, the best they can, that each child is given the tools to reach their highest potential. This also means that they must make their child’s welfare the top priority in their lives.

THIS is a simplified graphic of Maslow’s Pyaimid of Self-Actualization. I believe it is the parent’s job—and it is in all of our interests—to provide the first four levels, without which it is very difficult for that child to reach their highest potential.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, being aloof isn’t like being physically or emotionally abusive. I don’t think it makes them a bad parent. They’re just doing what they know how to do. My Dad was pretty aloof and I always wished for a closer relationship than we ever had but it’s a blip on my radar.
Mom didn’t express much positive emotion, either, unless she was contrite for having gone ape shit on me for no reason the day before.

I am curious, though, how one could be “involved in their child’s life,” yet be unemotional at the same time? Does that mean going to their games and never commenting on them, or what?

canidmajor's avatar

It means doing all the stuff they’re “supposed” to do, scouting, recitals, school plays, whatever, while not caring about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’d have to have some deep emotional wounds to have absolutely 0 feelings about any of it. But, it’s better than getting drunk instead of going to all that stuff, and making the kid go by themselves, if they want to go.

canidmajor's avatar

Or they just simply don’t care. Not necessarily suffering from “deep emotional wounds”, and they probably don’t have ) feelings, they are inconvenienced or annoyed but know better than to show it.
It’s not necessarily “better” than other forms of neglect, it’s just different. The wounds of physical abuse are awful and obvious. The wounds of emotional neglect/abuse are not so obvious.
You seem to have a two dimensional approach to this, it is much more complex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But how could you not feel some pride when your child is in a school play, or recitals, or games in which they did well? To just not care about anything, to me, sounds like a sociopath.

CunningFox's avatar

I think it’s okay to not care much about your kid’s school play because you can’t help if you feel that way, however, it’s not okay to show your child that you don’t care. The right thing to do is go to the play and cheer them on. That being said, I do find it hard to believe someone would not care at all about the activities their child is involved in. Sure, the school play isn’t really a big deal, but it is a big deal to their little six year old self, right? I feel that if it matters to them then it should matter to you, as a parent should want to encourage their child to succeed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. I mean, to actually not care about anything the child does? There is something really wrong there.

Rarebear's avatar

There are two rules to being a good parent:
1) Be honest
2) Be present

Patty_Melt's avatar

Well, I DO have ^^ that covered.

flutherother's avatar

It depends what is meant by ‘emotional support’. Maybe what one person understands by the phrase is different from what others think it means. What is most important as @Rarebear says is simply being there for your children, not because you want to be a good parent, but because you like your children, take an interest in what they do and want to be with them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Taking interest and liking them, and treating them like you like them, is giving them emotional support.

Zaku's avatar

You could be worse – you could be not providing the things you do provide. But you could be better, and emotional support is very important, so try to do that.

One way to start providing good emotional support to children is to avoid shaming labels for yourself, them and others – try to stop rating people as good/decent/bad.

flutherother's avatar

@Zaku but some people are decent and some people are bad. This isn’t a shaming label but a fact.

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