The love between children and parents is a special thing. It is possibly one of the most beautiful connections in nature. There is usually a blissful moment when parent and child stare down in each other’s eyes.

This wonderful relationship can occur when the balance is right. There are situations where the parents may have unresolved childhood issues or unmet needs which can create some confusion in this interaction. When the parent feels resolved and fulfilled the need to be loved is not transferred onto the child. However, there exist parents in the world who may have these issues. What seems to happen is that some individuals plan to resolve their need to be loved by having children. Their expectation is that they will reach completion once the child will love them.

However, the child-parent relationship often feels unidirectional, especially in very early years of the child. During this time, children are hugely dependent. They are yet developed and their needs are absolute. Their linguistic ability are not yet established and therefore they (usually babies) cry in order to inform the adult caregiver that there is a need to attend to. This, of course, becomes a game of guess work for the parent, who must attempt to decipher what the need is – and it can be that an answer is not found on some occasions. Some parents may indeed feel that the crying is taking place to spite them. In their exhaustion they begin to perceive the crying as an outright attack on them, harbouring emotions of anger, frustration and despair. As these feelings grow the needy parents realises that the baby is not loving them back, thus reinforcing their idea that they cannot be loved.


– Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness.  He offers parent coaching and social work sessions.  He can be contacted on