To what extent do you think social norms and expectations influence the love parents feel for their children? Do you think that many parents might not love their children very much if there were no disapproval or condemnation of feeling that way?
I think it plays a huge part in it. From my observations of families around me, children's biggest problems come from parents who don't feel about their children the way society, tv and social media tells them they should. This leads to over indulgence due to guilt. I'm always leery of people who claim to be head-over-heals in love with a person they've never met before just because of a biological connection. I love my son because of WHO he is not because of WHAT he is. I didn't know that about him until I met him and he developed a personality completely independent of gestation.
I can only speak for myself but there is no way social norms could affect the way I feel about my children. My youngest has really been struggling in school; truancy, failing grades, not doing homework, you name it. I'm supporting her the best I can and the school has been absolutely amazing, one teacher and counselor in particular.
I was messaging with 2 friends of mine regarding her several weeks ago (they know most of her issues) and one "friend" commented something to the effect of "do you just give up on her now?" I was absolutely baffled and waited a good hour to respond to her. Eventually I told her there's VERY few things that would ever make me give up on one of my children. MAYBE if she had been addicted to drugs for 20+ years and had stolen from everyone I knew. But even then, if she made an effort to get clean, I'd still probably support her. I just couldn't believe she would suggest I would give up on my child....my heart.....for not doing well in school!
Look at those families that pop up on national news abusing or killing their kids. Are there more out there? Probably yes, when they show up on social media. Why? Probably based on how they were brought up as kids. The ones that use the religious defense are to me the worst ones.
The love comes first, societal norms second. Social expectations are learned; a mother loves her child without learning to. Same goes for beliefs. We can believe what we wish But knowing is far better. Again, a mother doesn't believe she loves her child...she knows she does. Love is the ultimate reality. If we limit our love to family we are not fulfilling our human destiny...to love all. I like the Aboriginal definition of family...that which is famil-iar! Some traditions include the forests and mountains as family. How wonderfully expansive!
Maybe sometimes I tend to give too much importance to the influence of norms, social expectations, and cultural conditioning. Parental love is probably something most parents feel naturally. It sounds like it's a very natural thing, pretty much inborn to most parents and perhaps mothers especially, to want to protect and nourish their children, and to take joy in them.
Yup. I'm 65, and even in my childhood, parents lived their own, adult lives and let their kids raise themselves. Kids were to stay quiet, be instantly obedient, and were expected to be "useful," do chores, and uphold the family name.
Mothers usually put food on the table, and made sure the kids got baths and did their chores.
The father was expected to discipline any disobedience.
Adults talked down to children, if at all. My father never told me he loved me and my mother almost never touched me, even when I was a baby, so she wouldn't "spoil" me.
Today, both parents are expected to cuddle and nurture their children, constantly telling them they love them. I don't know if that makes them love them more, but it makes it seem that way, since parents who express hostility toward their children might be reported by concerned neighbors.