Many parents justify strong attempts to mold their children into a preconceived pattern by saying, "After all, they are my children, aren't they?" or "Don't parents have the right to influence their own children in whatever way they think best?" A parent who feels possessive of a child, and therefore feels a right to mold the child in a certain way, will be much more inclined to feel unaccepting of the child's behavior when that behavior deviates from the prescribed mold.
A parent who sees a child as someone quite separate and even quite different-not at all "owned" by the parent-is bound to feel accepting toward more of the child's behavior be- cause there is no mold, no preconceived pattern for the child. Such a parent can more readily accept the uniqueness of a child, is more capable of permitting the child to become what he is genetically capable of becoming. An accepting parent is willing to let a child develop his own "program" for life; a less accepting parent feels a need to program the child's life for him.