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Thread: Children who are given excessive affection

  1. #1 Children who are given excessive affection 
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    I'm curious to hear what effect, in your opinion, if any, it would have on a child to be given excessive affection as it is growing up. Perhaps I should have posted this in an off topic forum, because what I'm interested here is really not results of scientific investigations of this question, rather I'm curious as to what your intuition tells you.

    I ask because I witnessed this recently and had a discussion with a friend about it and it turned out we had different views. I don't want to say yet what my own opinion is, I don't want to sway anybody.


    Last edited by dionysius; February 21st, 2014 at 03:39 PM.
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    the basic answer is there is no standard universal norm. Everyone is diffrent. Children can grow up to be multi-million success or a mass murderer, regardless of the ammount of affection they receive at home

    A good average would likely be the child would be better equipped in society than one that is neglected. Nature, nurture, enviroment, & the childs own personality is going to come into play. There is no set rules.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    I'm curious to hear what effect, in your opinion, if any, it would have on a child to be given excessive affection as it is growing up. Perhaps I should have posted this in an off topic forum, because what I'm interested here is really not results of scientific investigations of this question, rather I'm curious as to what your intuition tells you.

    I ask because I witnessed this recently and had a discussion with a friend about it and it turned out we had different views. I don't want to say yet what my own opinion is, I don't want to sway anybody.
    If you are classifying the affection as excessive then it is too much, too much of anything will turn out negative.
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    An interesting finding that some researchers came up with a year or three back, is that bullies are people with high self esteem. Since excessive affection builds self esteem, maybe those kids will become bullies? Probably arrogant and possibly narcissistic as well.
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    As Stargate has pointed out, if the affection is excessive, then it is a bad thing, by definition. However, if by excessive you simply mean significantly more than the norm, then the result will depend upon the individual and the where and when of delivery. For example, if a parent lavishes affection on a child when they behave cruelly, but withholds it when they are kind, then the outcome would not be a surprise.
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    I don't know what would be considered excessive. I think babies naturally need and usually receive a lot of physical contact and affection - holding carrying, nursing, feeding, bathing, dressing, etc. Then as they become mobile, babies want short segments of time to explore independently and unrestrained, with the security of knowing you are near by, or if they are left with a baby sitter, that you'll be back. And their independent activity increases and lengthens, but even teenagers need a hug now and then, and I like to braid my daughters hair. It's an excuse to be close.

    At any rate, experiments in the 1970s with monkeys indicated that lack of affection makes baby monkeys highly anxious and avoidant later in life, even if they are given adequate nutrition, etc. They have trouble socializing. Some of the monkeys were so emotionally disturbed, that the experiment would probably be considered cruel and unethical now. One thing that isn't always mentioned, though, is that these experiments also showed that monkeys that grow up with a normal mother, but no peers to play with, aren't socially well adjusted either, so this would suggest that it's all about balance.
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    I doubt if it would make any difference except the kid would think his parents were even more battier than most kids think their parents are.
    Last edited by dan hunter; February 21st, 2014 at 07:17 PM.
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    Years ago, one of my young riding students was an only child of fairly affluent parents who lavished considerable time, attention and money on her. The young lady was very adept at getting her way with her parents but she was well behaved and respectful with me because I had what she wanted, that being horses and the knowledge of how to interact safely with them.

    She was very focused and diligent in her lessons and all of the horses afforded her more respect than they showed most of my adult students. I found this very interesting and decided that it stemmed from the fact that not only did she learn and emulate the skills that I shared very precisely, she was also very confident. She had the expectation that this 1000 lb animal would do as she asked because she had seen that it was biddable and she had quite an 'edge' for one so young. Quite a dominant youngster. As she grew into a teenager, comments from her peer group were that others considered her to be self-centered and selfish.

    Another circumstance involves a young man who was the youngest of his family by thirteen years. He was raised as the youngest of four for the first few years and then very much as an only child after the others left home. He had far more time, attention and opportunities than his three half-siblings, simply by the timing of his birth. He has never been able to cut the apron strings and shows up on his mother's doorstep unannounced at regular intervals.

    Both of these individuals observably had more attention and affection than the average, IMO, yet they turned out quite differently, the one very focused and confident and the other constantly undecided and changing course.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    what effect, in your opinion, if any, it would have on a child to be given excessive affection as it is growing up.
    I suggest that the child might acquire some personality traits often attributed to "an only child" (ie, no siblings), but which traits, I don't know. I say this because to many people, it seems that an only child receives all the affection toward children by the family's other members (most likely excessive affection).

    I understand that Buddha grew up without a wanting and even without knowing the suffering of others.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    I'm curious to hear what effect, in your opinion, if any, it would have on a child to be given excessive affection as it is growing up.
    I think it is very hard to give a child too much affection. (In other words, at almost no time should a parent or caregiver think "I am showing this child too much affection.") You can spoil them, pamper them, coddle them etc which are in general bad things - but all those things are quite different than showing affection.

    A child who is shown a lot of affection will be able to return it to someone else later in life. A child who is shown little affection will learn to be comfortable with less affection and will, in general, seek a situation/relationship/life with less affection. (IMO of course.)
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    Anything done in excess can have negative lasting consequences. I’ve read a number of articles that suggest children who are lavished with too much parental/guardian attention or affection, often develop narcissistic personality disorder. I’m sleepy now, but I will find some articles (sources) to that effect. Very interesting reading. Narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder that causes a person to have a grandiose vision of self.

    A narcissistic often lacks empathy, and from being coddled too much as a child, looks for that same time of dynamic in adult relationships with friends and lovers. The opposite is true too, as to a cause of NPD. Parents, who neglect and/or abuse their kids, can also be the cause of their children developing NPD. In reality, narcissists are very insecure and it’s often due to an upbringing that rendered them vulnerable, if only in their own minds, to some degree.

    This isn’t to say that a child who’s been raised with a balance of love and discipline won’t have issues when he/she reaches adulthood, but it’s more likely if the parents of said child raised them, on one extreme side of the spectrum or the other.
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  13. #12  
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    Here you go: What is narcissistic personality disorder? - Medical News Today This is a good read about NPD. Not saying it would be guaranteed that a child would develop this from too much affection, but it's definitely possible.
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    I am a huggy kissy Mom and we are an affectionate family.

    Son would often just want to come when little and lay on my lap and take a rest or watch tv......normal affection for me.....we still have that affection.....my son kisses his father on the lips..not the cheek...in a very son way..and me and his sis, also.....and hugs.

    In turn....they are that way with everyone in our family. I think that is very heathy!

    I think, In my humble opinion, affection varies between families. Natural affection is wonderful.

    Excessive? I would like to know what your definition of that is.
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    I read a paper a few years ago about parenting skills and how much they mattered to how children turn out. The paper suggested that the natural inclinations of the children, peer pressures etc had so much more influence on behaviour that it really didn't matter much what the parents were like unless they were truly egregious in their behaviour.
    Buried in the conclusions was the suggestion that parents should quit worrying about their parenting skills and just do what seems right and fair because fairness seems to be one few thing kids really are sensitive about.

    I wish I could find the paper again because without it my statements above have no support at all, but either it is not on the internet or it is buried under so much spam that it is undetectable.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Years ago, one of my young riding students was an only child of fairly affluent parents who lavished considerable time, attention and money on her. The young lady was very adept at getting her way with her parents but she was well behaved and respectful with me because I had what she wanted, that being horses and the knowledge of how to interact safely with them.

    She was very focused and diligent in her lessons and all of the horses afforded her more respect than they showed most of my adult students. I found this very interesting and decided that it stemmed from the fact that not only did she learn and emulate the skills that I shared very precisely, she was also very confident. She had the expectation that this 1000 lb animal would do as she asked because she had seen that it was biddable and she had quite an 'edge' for one so young. Quite a dominant youngster. As she grew into a teenager, comments from her peer group were that others considered her to be self-centered and selfish.

    Another circumstance involves a young man who was the youngest of his family by thirteen years. He was raised as the youngest of four for the first few years and then very much as an only child after the others left home. He had far more time, attention and opportunities than his three half-siblings, simply by the timing of his birth. He has never been able to cut the apron strings and shows up on his mother's doorstep unannounced at regular intervals.

    Both of these individuals observably had more attention and affection than the average, IMO, yet they turned out quite differently, the one very focused and confident and the other constantly undecided and changing course.
    In the first case it might not necessarily be how the parents treated the daughter, but how the parents treated other people around them and their own feelings of entitlement. Kids learn what they should expect from the world by watching their parents interact with it, and whether other people are a means to an end, or full human beings like oneself.

    One of the problems with being the youngest is getting stuck in that role, and constantly receiving the message that you aren't really competent to do things, possibly because you are always surrounded by people who are slightly bigger and better at almost everything, but then you said most of his childhood he was by himself, so that may not apply. I'm probably biased but I don't think it's too much affection, just lack of something else, something that inspires confidence or curiosity or enthusiasm in tackling life.
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    Excessive affection is when that affection is applied all the time, even when not appropriate. When a child disobeys, or does something 'naughty', they need to be remonstrated with, so they can know without doubt that what they did was wrong. If such actions are met with affection instead of a chiding, that is excessive. Of course, giving lots of affection when the child has done something right, or simply to show love, is not just fine, it is desirable.
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    I think we'd find the research is pretty solid in showing it's just about impossible to give young children too much affection. And by affection, I mean continuous sense of safety, comfort, support, sharing, hugging, reading stories with them, role playing with them etc. I'm not talking about giving them every material thing they want, establishing no boundaries, or letting them run the house--all too often confused with affection by ineffective parents.
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    And by affection, I mean continuous sense of safety, comfort, support, sharing, hugging, reading stories with them, role playing with them etc.
    One area where I think "affection" may be excessive is where it's not really affection at all.

    Think of all the times you've seen, or have suffered, adults urging children to hug or kiss people or to allow others to hug or kiss them when they are unwilling to embrace the other person/s voluntarily - along with all the families you see where children who object to being tickled are tickled even more.

    This is about people who have more power and control than the child has exerting physical strength to violate the child's own boundaries and sense of self or comfort or safety.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Can someone tell me the word for "excessive attention of their children"? I know there is one.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    Can someone tell me the word for "excessive attention of their children"? I know there is one.
    coddling?
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    Can someone tell me the word for "excessive attention of their children"? I know there is one.
    Are you thinking of "helicopter parents"?

    Those who fuss frantically about the 3 year old on the playground equipment and who still ring the 23 year old every day to check on their study/ work/ laundry habits.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    No, it might be "sophism", but I think there was another very particular and accurate word that is not often used in everyday rhetoric. It is one word.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    OK. Let's go through the mental thesaurus.

    Cosset. Pamper. Mollycoddle. Indulge.

    Differing degrees of attention versus affection implied there. And not necessarily child-parent anyway.

    Does that help?
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    My kids were loved, cherished, praised and disciplined as needed. They also heard laughter, teasing, and I am sure some not so wonderful things along the way.....but they are thoughtful, caring, loving and funny in spite of their parents.
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    None of those help. Unless it was "sophism" (which doesn't fit too well), it's something else.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    The modern meaning of 'sophism' is a clever argument designed to deceive. I do not think that is what you mean.
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    I sort of get the idea that pyoko might be getting at. That some overly attentive parents are doing it for reasons other than parental affection.

    Whether it's out of ignorance - from people who were raised by incompetent or neglectful parents and don't have any clear idea of what to do with a child they love dearly - or some kind of ideology or hypocritical intention to go through what the parent/s think is the right or publicly acceptable way to do things when they really don't feel affectionate towards the child as a person. Or some version of the always ugly "stage mother" or wannabe footy star dad doing stuff with their child to satisfy their own unfulfilled ambitions rather than to help the child with their own desires.

    Or half a dozen other things.
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  29. #28  
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    Maybe Pyoko means smothering?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Maybe Pyoko means smothering?
    Good point.

    Smothering is NOT healthy for any relationship!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Maybe Pyoko means smothering?
    smothering and coddling, yes...both are pretty commonplace when I've heard people describe kids who have been pampered too much by their parents. I will say that in addition to potentially developing a personality disorder as mentioned above, it's not unusual to see adults who were once pampered as chidren by their parents, feel that they are somehow 'entitled' when they become adults. SUPER EASY to spot in a work environment. They do the least amount of work, yet are the loudest voices come raise-time. They often call in sick, and don't think much of stealing others' ideas and passing them off as their own. So, as to the OP, I think that coddling kids can (potentially) do irreversible damage to the kids when they enter adulthood, and it also affects society, in an adverse way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    If such actions are met with affection instead of a chiding, that is excessive. Of course, giving lots of affection when the child has done something right, or simply to show love, is not just fine, it is desirable.
    I agree that children often need to be told "no" and corrected when they do things that are unacceptable/wrong - but correction and affection are not opposites. It's quite possible to tell a child they've done something while making it clear that it doesn't change how you feel about them. Indeed, acting as if you care less for them when they do something wrong sends (IMO) a very bad message about how to deal with emotions.
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    OK, but what would the opposite of excessive affection look like?
    Neglect I assume.
    Maybe outright abuse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    OK, but what would the opposite of excessive affection look like?
    Neglect I assume.
    Maybe outright abuse.
    Disinterest....detachment....uncaring.....indiffer et.....all which would be, in my humble opinion...abuse....
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    Of course, giving lots of affection when the child has done something right, or simply to show love, is not just fine, it is desirable.
    I know you were focusing on something else when you wrote this, but it sparked something in me. I once had a friend - who was a lovely person - so long as you overlooked the fact that she was diabolical as a parent.

    One thing she did - in spades, over and over again - was that conditional love thing. I love you when you come first in class, win prizes, perform on stage, exhibit art in shows, anything with bragging rights attached - but only then - the rest of the time she was a nagging harpy who never gave the kid a moment's peace, let alone the idea that she might be loved just as she is. And discipline? She was willing to yell and not-quite hit the child, but it was more or less random - certainly not consistent or predictable so the kid could really work out what limits did and didn't apply.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Of course, giving lots of affection when the child has done something right, or simply to show love, is not just fine, it is desirable.
    I know you were focusing on something else when you wrote this, but it sparked something in me. I once had a friend - who was a lovely person - so long as you overlooked the fact that she was diabolical as a parent.

    One thing she did - in spades, over and over again - was that conditional love thing. I love you when you come first in class, win prizes, perform on stage, exhibit art in shows, anything with bragging rights attached - but only then - the rest of the time she was a nagging harpy who never gave the kid a moment's peace, let alone the idea that she might be loved just as she is. And discipline? She was willing to yell and not-quite hit the child, but it was more or less random - certainly not consistent or predictable so the kid could really work out what limits did and didn't apply.
    That is sad. Unconditional love is what a parent gives.
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    Unconditional love is what a parent gives.
    Hah. I had to bite my tongue when we were part of a conversation between these two. (Kid was about 16ish, and lived with us from time to time after her father died and the friction between the two of them without dad to intervene was sometimes intolerable.)

    Mother says, "You can stay and live with me and you'll have unconditional love ... ... provided that ... "

    Adehusband and I had to rescue several eyes which had rolled themselves all the way across the other side of the room. But we kept our traps shut until it was our turn to make another offer to help out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Unconditional love is what a parent gives.
    Hah. I had to bite my tongue when we were part of a conversation between these two. (Kid was about 16ish, and lived with us from time to time after her father died and the friction between the two of them without dad to intervene was sometimes intolerable.)

    Mother says, "You can stay and live with me and you'll have unconditional love ... ... provided that ... "

    Adehusband and I had to rescue several eyes which had rolled themselves all the way across the other side of the room. But we kept our traps shut until it was our turn to make another offer to help out.
    and THAT was a show of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE...
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    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO. Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.
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    I finally found that word I was looking for. Nepotism!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepotism

    Now I can requiescat in pace.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    I finally found that word I was looking for. Nepotism!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepotism

    Now I can requiescat in pace.
    You may want to rethink your use of that Latin phrase unless you are expecting an early demise, lol.

    "Rest in peace" (Latin: Requiescat in pace) is a short epitaph or idiomatic expression wishing eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. The expression typically appears on headstones, often abbreviated as "R.I.P.".
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    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO. Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.
    Why does there have to be a limit on affection?

    Teaching children age-appropriate responsibilities doesn't limit affection.
    Applying authoritative discipline (not arbitrary authoritarianism) doesn't limit affection.
    Insisting on proper table manners and pleases and thank yous and excuse mes doesn't limit affection.
    A regular bedtime routine doesn't limit affection.

    All these good parenting practices actually give parents and children more opportunities and circumstances where affectionate words or physical contact like pats on shoulders, hugs, or a kiss are the right response.
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    It is also a reduntant statement. If a person is dead, the resting in peace thing is not an option. It is compulsory!
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    I finally found that word I was looking for. Nepotism!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepotism

    Now I can requiescat in pace.
    You may want to rethink your use of that Latin phrase unless you are expecting an early demise, lol.

    "Rest in peace" (Latin: Requiescat in pace) is a short epitaph or idiomatic expression wishing eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. The expression typically appears on headstones, often abbreviated as "R.I.P.".
    I know I used it on purpose. *jumps off the couch*
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    There's been quite a bit of research on Romanian orphans, and MRIs showing permanent changes to the brain in these children. We tend to associate behavior problems or brain damage to overt abuse - trauma, physical harm, lack of the basic necessities of life. But these studies suggest that simple social one-on-one interaction, and yes, affection, are necessary for normal development.

    Early Neglect Alters Kids' Brains | Romanian Orphanages | LiveScience
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO.
    I disagree. Affection does not need to be limited.

    Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.
    Agreed. But affection does not equal smothering, nor is affection the opposite of responsibility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO.
    I disagree. Affection does not need to be limited.

    Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.


    Agreed. But affection does not equal smothering, nor is affection the opposite of responsibility.
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    Again, I disagree. You do not need to limit affection to keep it "manageable."

    Should we limit innovation so it doesn't become unmanageable?
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    Again, I disagree. You do not need to limit affection to keep it "manageable."

    Should we limit innovation so it doesn't become unmanageable?
    Ironically he's spot-on with regard to cranks and nutcases on internet forums though.
    Himself being a prime example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    Again, I disagree. You do not need to limit affection to keep it "manageable."

    Should we limit innovation so it doesn't become unmanageable?
    I think we humans can only operate in a specific confinement of the total of anything, we cannot occupy all the areas of possibilities without limits. if there is no limit we ourselves become limitless. I know we are limitless at one point, but limited at the other end.
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    My point illustrated perfectly...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO.
    I disagree. Affection does not need to be limited.

    Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.
    Agreed. But affection does not equal smothering, nor is affection the opposite of responsibility.
    Too much affection, especially for impressionable people as small children, leads to pampering and negative psychological states. This is clearly documented by many studies.

    Though the topic is based on excessive affection, and frankly one doesn't need a degree in psychology to deem that as unhealthy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    Again, I disagree. You do not need to limit affection to keep it "manageable."

    Should we limit innovation so it doesn't become unmanageable?
    huh? Innovation can be bad. Anything can be bad, given the right scenario. Innovation leading towards, say, a new type of weapon can be bad. It depends on the motives, morals, and needs of the tool-maker.

    As said, there are stacks of studies out there citing how excessive affection/pampering is psychologically damaging for children. It's common sense really, and I as a non-parent (and hopefully that way forever since I don't like children) can even see that a toddler without the social processing of an older child or an adult can get sucked in/distorted by excessive affection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Years ago, one of my young riding students was an only child of fairly affluent parents who lavished considerable time, attention and money on her. The young lady was very adept at getting her way with her parents but she was well behaved and respectful with me because I had what she wanted, that being horses and the knowledge of how to interact safely with them.

    She was very focused and diligent in her lessons and all of the horses afforded her more respect than they showed most of my adult students. I found this very interesting and decided that it stemmed from the fact that not only did she learn and emulate the skills that I shared very precisely, she was also very confident. She had the expectation that this 1000 lb animal would do as she asked because she had seen that it was biddable and she had quite an 'edge' for one so young. Quite a dominant youngster. As she grew into a teenager, comments from her peer group were that others considered her to be self-centered and selfish.

    Another circumstance involves a young man who was the youngest of his family by thirteen years. He was raised as the youngest of four for the first few years and then very much as an only child after the others left home. He had far more time, attention and opportunities than his three half-siblings, simply by the timing of his birth. He has never been able to cut the apron strings and shows up on his mother's doorstep unannounced at regular intervals.

    Both of these individuals observably had more attention and affection than the average, IMO, yet they turned out quite differently, the one very focused and confident and the other constantly undecided and changing course.
    I guess it depends on how the OP is interpreted, it's just to me attention in excessive amounts can have a negative affect on one's psyche/behaviour. It's established fact, as I see it at the least.
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    As said, there are stacks of studies out there citing how excessive affection/pampering is psychologically damaging for children. It's common sense really,

    I guess it depends on how the OP is interpreted, it's just to me attention in excessive amounts can have a negative affect on one's psyche/behaviour.
    I think you're making the same error that some parents make. They think that affection is the same thing as indulging a child's every whim or making the child the centre of attention all the time or both. I've even heard some parents say quite openly that they wouldn't want their child to have any of the negative feelings that they'd had towards their own parents so they won't "discipline" them. I see that as a failure of imagination and an abrogation of responsibility.

    You can be loving and affectionate and a strict parent with high standards all at the same time. All you have to learn to do is to say what you mean and mean what you say right from the start so that children can trust your word. There's no need to hit or spank children when they disobey rules, but there must be consequences that the child understands. And you have to be willing to sacrifice some things yourself - like walking away from a full shopping trolley when the child doesn't comply with something and you've told them, warned them first then told them firmly, that continuing the bad behaviour means you'll go straight home without the stuff you've been selecting. With most kids you only have to do it once. They'll believe you thereafter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO.
    I disagree. Affection does not need to be limited.

    Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.


    Agreed. But affection does not equal smothering, nor is affection the opposite of responsibility.
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    You don't manage affection!

    It is SPONTANEOUS!!!
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    Manage as it how it's applied over the long-term?

    Though I read this as excessive affection, not affection per se. Maybe I can't talk as I'm not a parent (never understood that logic, children are humans and I know how to get on with humans and how humans respond to given actions...) but then if a child is given little to no affection this is just as bad as being handed too much affection. Like all things, it must exist in a balance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    As said, there are stacks of studies out there citing how excessive affection/pampering is psychologically damaging for children. It's common sense really,

    I guess it depends on how the OP is interpreted, it's just to me attention in excessive amounts can have a negative affect on one's psyche/behaviour.
    I think you're making the same error that some parents make. They think that affection is the same thing as indulging a child's every whim or making the child the centre of attention all the time or both. I've even heard some parents say quite openly that they wouldn't want their child to have any of the negative feelings that they'd had towards their own parents so they won't "discipline" them. I see that as a failure of imagination and an abrogation of responsibility.

    You can be loving and affectionate and a strict parent with high standards all at the same time. All you have to learn to do is to say what you mean and mean what you say right from the start so that children can trust your word. There's no need to hit or spank children when they disobey rules, but there must be consequences that the child understands. And you have to be willing to sacrifice some things yourself - like walking away from a full shopping trolley when the child doesn't comply with something and you've told them, warned them first then told them firmly, that continuing the bad behaviour means you'll go straight home without the stuff you've been selecting. With most kids you only have to do it once. They'll believe you thereafter.
    Perhaps. But then excessive affection IMO is bad, and this is supported by numerous psychological studies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Manage as it how it's applied over the long-term?

    Though I read this as excessive affection, not affection per se. Maybe I can't talk as I'm not a parent (never understood that logic, children are humans and I know how to get on with humans and how humans respond to given actions...) but then if a child is given little to no affection this is just as bad as being handed too much affection. Like all things, it must exist in a balance.
    You cannot give a child too much spontaneous affection. It is impossible.

    It is not planned or derived or orchestrated.

    You know when they need to be hugged.....or cuddled....and surprisingly even when they are in the 20's or 30's there are times they just need your hug and a kiss on the cheek or sometimes to fall into your arms and be comforted.

    Affection isn't PLANNED...it's given with spontaneity and never with thought....it is a bond....I call it unconditional love.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Manage as it how it's applied over the long-term?

    Though I read this as excessive affection, not affection per se. Maybe I can't talk as I'm not a parent (never understood that logic, children are humans and I know how to get on with humans and how humans respond to given actions...) but then if a child is given little to no affection this is just as bad as being handed too much affection. Like all things, it must exist in a balance.
    You cannot give a child too much spontaneous affection. It is impossible.

    It is not planned or derived or orchestrated.

    You know when they need to be hugged.....or cuddled....and surprisingly even when they are in the 20's or 30's there are times they just need your hug and a kiss on the cheek or sometimes to fall into your arms and be comforted.

    Affection isn't PLANNED...it's given with spontaneity and never with thought....it is a bond....I call it unconditional love.
    lulz.. you sound like a sociopath anyhow. All the more funny when you post "benevolent" posts as above.

    Sorry, but I interpreted this OP differently than you did. If that annoys, irks or offends you, I don't care. And if I am being "rude", I don't care also, people aren't always nice to others. I'd imagine you are and will be benevolent to ALL people during the course of your day... I simply believe that affection (as I interpreted the OP) by means of not just hugs or providing material/emotional needs, but by smothering, pampering, etc. is not healthy. The OP mentioned excessive after all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO.
    I disagree. Affection does not need to be limited.

    Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.



    Agreed. But affection does not equal smothering, nor is affection the opposite of responsibility.
    The other side of the equation is, if you do not limit things they grow out of proportions and become unmanageable.
    You don't manage affection!

    It is SPONTANEOUS!!!
    Yes, I do agree with you that it is spontaneous, what I think is missing in your analogy is that, affection is not just one thing, it entails everything, it is also control. If you want to define what you are identifying as "affection" then you will have to see that some parts of affection is indeed spontaneous,while other parts are not. Some parts of affection needs control or that part will grow and become unmanageable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    All humans, not just children, need affection. But then there has to be a limit IMO. Affection should be met with responsibility, and not smothering them.
    Why does there have to be a limit on affection?

    Teaching children age-appropriate responsibilities doesn't limit affection.
    Applying authoritative discipline (not arbitrary authoritarianism) doesn't limit affection.
    Insisting on proper table manners and pleases and thank yous and excuse mes doesn't limit affection.
    A regular bedtime routine doesn't limit affection.

    All these good parenting practices actually give parents and children more opportunities and circumstances where affectionate words or physical contact like pats on shoulders, hugs, or a kiss are the right response.
    It's just how I interpreted the OP. What then is excessive affection, and how should it be defined?

    I don't believe affection per se is bad, I'm not stupid or cold-hearted enough to say as such. But then I'd define it as not allowing the child to grow and develop emotionally or materially. Hugs and kisses are fine, I have no issue with that.
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    Well, this all went in a slightly different direction than I was hoping it would

    I'll make a few points:

    1. I'd expected that people's views on whether there is such a thing as too much affection and what constitutes it would differ and I was hoping not for a discussion of those questions, I was rather hoping people would post their INTUITIVE judgements about HOW a child who's given too much affection would grow up. So not just whether it would have positive or negative results on the child, but what you intuitively think the impact would be on the child.

    To illustrate what I mean I'll take an example completely unrelated to this matter. This example is not what I mean by excessive affection. But, for ex., I suspect (and, what do I know, this is just a gut feeling) that children who are encouraged to do things for themselves, for ex. tie their own shoes rather than have them tied, walk as soon as they are able to rather than be carried, who are expected to try to resolve problems or difficulties they encounter on their own (provided it is within their power) would develop a sense of power. A sense that they can affect things in the world rather than being at effect. That things that happen in their life, positive or negative outcomes, are a result of their actions rather than circumstamces. So, in a sense, that they make things happen rather than that things happen to them. I suspect these are the kind of people who, in a bad situation, will strive to better their situation rather than blame circumsamces and make excuses, because when something bad happens they will see it as their own fault, not the result of something outside themselves. In other words, I think these are the people who always think that they CAN do something rather than that they can't.

    On the other hand, I suspect that if parents expect a child to solve some problem they encounter on their own they have to be careful to be sure it is in the child's power to resolve the problem, because I suspect the opposite effect can happen if the child tries to solve the problem and finds it beyond them.

    I was hoping for some sort of explanation like that, as to how you think excessive affection would affect a child. Research is fine, too, but I was rather hoping people would just appeal to their intuition and so we would get an overview of what different people's judgements are on this matter, not a heated debate on whether or not too much affection is bad generally, but rather SPECIFICALY each person's sense of what excessive affection would lead to.

    2. I think some of the posters are talking past eachother because they are talking about different things, so I should say what specifically I mean by affection.

    I mean a child who is hugged and kissed very frequently or who is given a lot of affectionate physical contact such as caressing.

    I don't mean, and would like to avoid discussing this, because if we go in too many directions we'll just lose the thread, children who are given a lot of attention.

    I also don't by affection mean children who are parented in a very permissive way where they are not reprimanded, punished, or whatever else you think is an appropriate response to a child who's done something wrong.

    And lets assume also that this hypothetical child we are talking about is paretnted "properly" (wahtever that be) in all other regards. And to this point I want to point out that I don't by excessive attention mean a child who is not given responsibilities, who is not expected to be independent and be able to make decisions for itself, do things for itself, be strong etc. I'm talking just about a child whose parents, along with being good parents in all other respects (again, let's not get into what a good parent would be in these other departments) get very mushy over their child very frequently and express it frequently by kissing the child, hugging it, touching it affectionately etc etc. So basically mush. And, naturally, some mush is always going to be expressed, but I'm talking about being very mushy and frequently.

    3. For the parents out there, try not to get defensive if someone attacks your parenting style We don't want this to devolve into name calling.


    So, once again, I was hoping people would just give their intuitive judgement as to whether there would be any negative or positive consequences, but also SPECIFICALLY what KIND of results it would have, on a child who is parented in the way I described above. Very mushy, but not in a way where the child is not expected to be independent and to, speaking metaphorically, be carried rather than walk on its own, not in a way where the child is not given responsibilities, expected to be strong, or where the child is parented in an overly permissive way.
    Last edited by dionysius; March 1st, 2014 at 08:33 AM.
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    I gave my intepretation of the question. In that excessive affection can be unhealthy for a child.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    Well, this all went in a slightly different direction than I was hoping it would

    I'll make a few points:

    1. I'd expected that people's views on whether there is such a thing as too much affection and what constitutes it would differ and I was hoping not for a discussion of those questions, I was rather hoping people would post their INTUITIVE judgements about HOW a child who's given too much affection would grow up. So not just whether it would have positive or negative results on the child, but what you intuitively think the impact would be on the child.

    To illustrate what I mean I'll take an example completely unrelated to this matter. This example is not what I mean by excessive affection. But, for ex., I suspect (and, what do I know, this is just a gut feeling) that children who are encouraged to do things for themselves, for ex. tie their own shoes rather than have them tied, walk as soon as they are able to rather than be carried, who are expected to try to resolve problems or difficulties they encounter on their own (provided it is within their power) would develop a sense of power. A sense that they can affect things in the world rather than being at effect. That things that happen in their life, positive or negative outcomes, are a result of their actions rather than circumstamces. So, in a sense, that they make things happen rather than that things happen to them. I suspect these are the kind of people who, in a bad situation, will strive to better their situation rather than blame circumsamces and make excuses, because when something bad happens they will see it as their own fault, not the result of something outside themselves. In other words, I think these are the people who always think that they CAN do something rather than that they can't.

    On the other hand, I suspect that if parents expect a child to solve some problem they encounter on their own they have to be careful to be sure it is in the child's power to resolve the problem, because I suspect the opposite effect can happen if the child tries to solve the problem and finds it beyond them.

    I was hoping for some sort of explanation like that, as to how you think excessive affection would affect a child. Research is fine, too, but I was rather hoping people would just appeal to their intuition and so we would get an overview of what different people's judgements are on this matter, not a heated debate on whether or not too much affection is bad generally, but rather SPECIFICALY each person's sense of what excessive affection would lead to.

    2. I think some of the posters are talking past eachother because they are talking about different things, so I should say what specifically I mean by affection.

    I mean a child who is hugged and kissed very frequently or who is given a lot of affectionate physical contact such as caressing.

    I don't mean, and would like to avoid discussing this, because if we go in too many directions we'll just lose the thread, children who are given a lot of attention.

    I also don't by affection mean children who are parented in a very permissive way where they are not reprimanded, punished, or whatever else you think is an appropriate response to a child who's done something wrong.

    And lets assume also that this hypothetical child we are talking about is paretnted "properly" (wahtever that be) in all other regards. And to this point I want to point out that I don't by excessive attention mean a child who is not given responsibilities, who is not expected to be independent and be able to make decisions for itself, do things for itself, be strong etc. I'm talking just about a child whose parents, along with being good parents in all other respects (again, let's not get into what a good parent would be in these other departments) get very mushy over their child very frequently and express it frequently by kissing the child, hugging it, touching it affectionately etc etc. So basically mush. And, naturally, some mush is always going to be expressed, but I'm talking about being very mushy and frequently.

    3. For the parents out there, try not to get defensive if someone attacks your parenting style We don't want this to devolve into name calling.


    So, once again, I was hoping people would just give their intuitive judgement as to whether there would be any negative or positive consequences, but also SPECIFICALLY what KIND of results it would have, on a child who is parented in the way I described above. Very mushy, but not in a way where the child is not expected to be independent and to, speaking metaphorically, be carried rather than walk on its own, not in a way where the child is not given responsibilities, expected to be strong, or where the child is parented in an overly permissive way.
    I like the way you explain this.
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    I mean a child who is hugged and kissed very frequently or who is given a lot of affectionate physical contact such as caressing.

    And lets assume also that this hypothetical child we are talking about is paretnted "properly" (wahtever that be) in all other regards. ... I'm talking just about a child whose parents, along with being good parents in all other respects (again, let's not get into what a good parent would be in these other departments) get very mushy over their child very frequently and express it frequently by kissing the child, hugging it, touching it affectionately etc etc. So basically mush. And, naturally, some mush is always going to be expressed, but I'm talking about being very mushy and frequently.
    In that case I think you'd just end up with some people, who are not part of the family, referring to them as a rather touchy-feely crowd.

    As for the effect on the child as they develop, they might feel the need for similarly expressive affection in other relationships. Others might grow up happy to behave differently with people from less expressive upbringing. A few might grow up preferring to maintain more emotional and physical distance from others, while still being comfortable with the touchy-feely vibe of their parental home.
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  67. #66  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    Well, this all went in a slightly different direction than I was hoping it would

    I'll make a few points:

    1. I'd expected that people's views on whether there is such a thing as too much affection and what constitutes it would differ and I was hoping not for a discussion of those questions, I was rather hoping people would post their INTUITIVE judgements about HOW a child who's given too much affection would grow up. So not just whether it would have positive or negative results on the child, but what you intuitively think the impact would be on the child.
    I find that intent sort of strange considering this is a science-based audience who are by training often completely discount intuition, gut hunches, the passage of black cats on their way home, and other such non-rational things.
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  68. #67  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    Well, this all went in a slightly different direction than I was hoping it would

    I'll make a few points:

    To illustrate what I mean I'll take an example completely unrelated to this matter. This example is not what I mean by excessive affection. But, for ex., I suspect (and, what do I know, this is just a gut feeling) that children who are encouraged to do things for themselves, for ex. tie their own shoes rather than have them tied, walk as soon as they are able to rather than be carried, who are expected to try to resolve problems or difficulties they encounter on their own (provided it is within their power) would develop a sense of power. A sense that they can affect things in the world rather than being at effect. That things that happen in their life, positive or negative outcomes, are a result of their actions rather than circumstamces. So, in a sense, that they make things happen rather than that things happen to them. I suspect these are the kind of people who, in a bad situation, will strive to better their situation rather than blame circumsamces and make excuses, because when something bad happens they will see it as their own fault, not the result of something outside themselves. In other words, I think these are the people who always think that they CAN do something rather than that they can't.
    What you seem to be talking about now is problem solving. If a child is a attempting a difficult task, should a parent:
    A) let him solve the problem entirely on his own without interfering
    B) offer suggestions or guidance ("'it might help if you started like this") but let him actually do the task himself
    C) just show him how it's done correctly so he will know how to do it in the future.

    Or perhaps you are asking if a child should be allowed to tackle, or prevented from ever encountering, a problem that is beyond his abilities. At any rate, none of this has anything do with hugs and kisses and smiles and I-love-yous etc.

    I think most parents, even very affectionate ones, use a combination of the above strategies. It's good for a child to experience the sense of accomplishment of figuring out something completely on his own. It's a bit cruel to subject a child to constant frustration and failure. But parents who shield children from any possibility of failure are, I believe, subtly giving them the message that failure, or simply not getting something right on the first try, is such a terrible, unacceptable thing that it cannot be permitted to happen under any circumstance, and if it does happen, we'll pretend it didn't.

    You seem to be implying that affectionate parents are more likely to select something like option C, and hinder their child's growth and initiative, but I don't see why that should necessarily be the case. In fact, affection can be very important in reassuring a child that just because he fails or makes a mistake, it doesn't mean he's totally inept and therefore unlovable. It simply means he needs to come up with a different solution or practice a skill, as we all do.
    Last edited by DianeG; March 2nd, 2014 at 02:23 AM.
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  69. #68  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysius View Post
    This example is not what I mean by excessive affection. But, for ex., I suspect (and, what do I know, this is just a gut feeling) that children who are encouraged to do things for themselves, for ex. tie their own shoes rather than have them tied, walk as soon as they are able to rather than be carried, who are expected to try to resolve problems or difficulties they encounter on their own (provided it is within their power) would develop a sense of power. A sense that they can affect things in the world rather than being at effect. That things that happen in their life, positive or negative outcomes, are a result of their actions rather than circumstamces. So, in a sense, that they make things happen rather than that things happen to them. I suspect these are the kind of people who, in a bad situation, will strive to better their situation rather than blame circumsamces and make excuses, because when something bad happens they will see it as their own fault, not the result of something outside themselves. In other words, I think these are the people who always think that they CAN do something rather than that they can't.
    A child who never gets any help will more likely develop a fatalist attitude - "I can't do anything, the things I try never work" - because they have never been taught how to do things. A child who has everything done for them (once they are even marginally capable of doing those things for themselves) will develop less of a sense of need to do things on their own. Thus a desirable medium - where they are encouraged to try things on their own, but given help when they need it - is probably ideal.

    On the other hand, I suspect that if parents expect a child to solve some problem they encounter on their own they have to be careful to be sure it is in the child's power to resolve the problem, because I suspect the opposite effect can happen if the child tries to solve the problem and finds it beyond them.
    Exactly.

    However this is NOT a good analogy for affection, IMO. Affection is not something a child must learn "to do on their own" - indeed, affection needs more than one person to have any meaning.
    And lets assume also that this hypothetical child we are talking about is paretnted "properly" (wahtever that be) in all other regards. And to this point I want to point out that I don't by excessive attention mean a child who is not given responsibilities, who is not expected to be independent and be able to make decisions for itself, do things for itself, be strong etc. I'm talking just about a child whose parents, along with being good parents in all other respects (again, let's not get into what a good parent would be in these other departments) get very mushy over their child very frequently and express it frequently by kissing the child, hugging it, touching it affectionately etc etc. So basically mush. And, naturally, some mush is always going to be expressed, but I'm talking about being very mushy and frequently.
    "Mush" is generally a negative term, and better describes overly sentimental, maudlin and/or falsely sweet. Yes, a child raised in that way will tend to expect that in future friends/spouses, and will tend to act that way towards others because it's what he knows. Again, that is different than affection, which is better defined by terms like love, fondness, tenderness, warmth, caring etc.
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