This question obviously applies mainly to people who have their own children, but can equally apply to people who as children are aware of their own upbringing, and can also apply to how an individual treats other people in his life who he effectively has some responsibility for, either at work or in some other type of social context. The issue is perhaps clearer when referred to an individuals own children, but has a very important focus in terms of how an individual relates to any group of people who he has responsibility for.

Any parent is likely to at some level have mixed feelings between the need to let their children have the freedom to grow and develop and be themselves, and at another level be moved to be overprotective and maybe dominate them either in order to keep them safe or to keep them close to the parent, especially if the family dynamic is not a particularly healthy one.

The issue of whether or not an individual guides or dominates their children opens up the question of how you love another person. In an ideal world a parent would love their child, age dependent, by providing a safe and secure environment by way of the relationship between the two, where the child will grow feeling safe, and as such be able to express themselves and grow independently into an autonomous adult.

This calls for a balance between where the parent gives the child enough freedom to learn for themselves what their boundaries are and what their boundaries are not.

It is quite easy to write about this stuff and tell other people how it should work in an ideal world, but the reality of many families are that they grow up without this healthy dynamic either of safety or healthy boundaries within which to express themselves.

The most obvious example is perhaps that of families where there is alcoholism present either in the parents or related family members. Aside from the practical consequences of an active alcoholics drinking, the emotional drives tend to reflect varying levels of dominance and control that can both stifle and destroy the creativity and individuality of all the family members involved.

There is no sense or relatively little sense of an individual guiding other people to their own best self or their best level of personal growth. In families where active alcoholism is present, the focus of the family tends to be very isolated and withdrawn, and the children and other family members involved tend to become much more shut down emotionally and unable to express themselves.

The recovery process from alcoholism shows the healthy process of restoring both guidance and love for children and family members in the context of recovering from alcoholism. The recovery process is about establishing safe boundaries and a secure emotional environment that allows individuals a high level of internal freedom that benefits the entire family dynamic.

Author's Bio: 

Peter Main is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes extensively about all areas of self growth and self development. He has a particular focus on self help issues for people who are in recovery from or who have been affected by alcoholism and other addictions. Some people begin their journey of recovery and healing in a rehab, others in a twelve step fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous, some in rehabs in other states to where they live, where it is especially important to check the rehab is properly accredited, others in a religious or spiritual setting.