Parenting Issues: Beyond Cuddles and Comfort—The Courageous Love Our Children Crave

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 19, 2024

Over the years I have observed that Real Love® consistently changes people’s lives, especially with children.

They haven’t been wounded as much as adults.  

They’re still in the process of forming their perspectives about who they are, who other people are, and how they fit in the world.

I have seen parents present children to me who are in obvious agony, suffering from whining, anger, defiance, withdrawal, anxiety, ADHD symptoms, depression, suicidal thoughts, failure in school, and addictions to phones, games, social media, and physical appearance.

Many of these children have been in therapy, taken medications, and been treated in inpatient facilities.

The Courageous Love Our Children Crave

The solutions I present to the parents are quite simple and consistently effective, as we have outlined in the Ridiculously Effective Parenting Training. So why do children fail to respond to Real Love®?

By far the most consistent underlying reason is that parents are AFRAID of their children. Changing the patterns of a lifetime takes real courage. Children tend to resist such changes, and the moment children express discomfort at the changes, most parents fold like a paper sculpture in the rain. They surrender to the first hint of pain.

We parents are so very afraid of that angry, accusatory look our children give us when they feel discomfort and blame us for it. We’re also afraid of other people blaming us for hurting our children.

But sometimes a little pain now cannot be avoided if we want to solve a big problem later, one accompanied by much worse pain.

Courageous Love May Require Some Pain

As a surgeon I routinely caused people a little pain now to avoid much worse pain later. I didn’t hesitate to pound on someone’s chest and stick needles in them, for example, if it caused their heart to start and prevented death.

And that’s exactly where we often find ourselves as parents. Our children are headed toward emotional heart disease and even possible death, but because they SEEM to be surviving in the moment, we don’t want to cause them any pain that they might blame us for.

We are cowards. I wish there were another name for it, but we’re afraid. I have been in the room when people’s hearts have stopped, and I have seen how timidly inexperienced medical students have administered CPR to the patients.

They don’t have the many experiences of watching people recover from such treatment—often physically violent—so they’re too afraid to cause potential discomfort or injury to a patient who will die without it.

And so it is with parenting. Most of us have never seen the miraculous results of consistent and firm loving and teaching, so we have no faith in the results.

Instead we fear the immediate and minor pain we might cause, and thus we stand by, wringing our hands while our children suffer severe emotional disability and even death.

We have a clear choice: a little pain now or a lot of pain later (or worse). When saving a life requires discomfort, we must have the courage to live with the discomfort we feel and the discomfort we cause. Without such courage, we cannot be real parents.

Want to learn more?

Eliminate confusion and conflict with your children.

  • Where in the parenting can this be explained in more depth. I’m experiencing this and wanting to understand more on how to implement what your saying

    • Hi Cyndie. Excellent question.
      In the training, Greg provided the needed information needed for being courageous for different scenarios as he taught about specific scenarios. But because of the importance of being a courageous, loving, deliberate teacher, he’s recorded a lot of videos that talk directly, and indirectly about this. They’re on YouTube:

      You get our Wednesday newsletters because you have the parenting training. He talks about being LovingandTeaching courageously a lot in those weekly newsletters. He does the same thing in our Real Love newsletters that we send out on Mondays and Fridays. If you don’t get them, you can sign up here:

      If you want to search for a particular subject there are two online master indexes for that:

      Let me know if you have questions.

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    About the author 

    Greg Baer, M.D.

    I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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