Love and limits are terms that describe a parent’s discipline orientation. Parents who are oriented toward a "relational discipline" are said to use love as their primary style of parenting. Parents who use "action discipline" are said to use limits as their primary style of parenting.

All parents incorporate both love and limits in their style of parenting. It is the balance of love and limits that determine a parent’s particular style. Only the democratic or balanced parenting style has both high love and high limits. In addition, each style has strengths and weaknesses inherent in them and is learned from the important parental figures in our lives. These figures are usually our own parents.

Parents who use love as their primary style (permissive parents) considers love to be more important than limits. They also use attachment and their bond with their child to teach right from wrong. They spend a lot of time with the child communicating, negotiating, and reasoning. Their value is on "increasing their child's self-esteem" or "making them feel special."

Parents who use limits as their primary style (authoritarian parents) consider limits as more important than love (relationship). They use external control to teach right from wrong and are quick to act on a discipline problem. Consequently, children are usually quick to react and rarely get their parents to negotiate. The value is on "teaching respect" and "providing structure."

Parenting styles are defined as the "manner in which parents express their beliefs about how to be a good or bad parent. All parents want to be a good parent and avoid doing what they consider to be a bad parent. Parents adopt the styles of parenting learned from their parents because they don’t know what else to do or they feel that this is the right way to parent.
The democratic or balanced parenting style is high on both love and limits. It is based on the democratic concepts such as equality and trust. Parents and children are equal in terms of their need for dignity and worth but not in terms of responsibility and decision making. In large families, where there are more children than adults, parents would easily be outvoted, for example, on whether ice-cream should be served before or after dinner. Parents, like the president in a democratic society, have veto-power over decisions that may affect the health and well-being of younger family members.

Balanced parenting styles have a set of balanced parenting beliefs:
* Parents need to model right from wrong by their words and their deeds.
* Discipline is different from punishment.
* Blaming and shaming a child is not acceptable.
* Consequences are inevitable and some frustration is O.K.
* Children need encouragement in order to try new activities.
* Children must be taught how to solve problems.
* Discipline is used to teach and guide, not punish, manipulate, or control.

Author's Bio: 

Ron is the author of the book "Love and Limits: Acheiving a Balance in Parenting" and the founder of Parenting Tool Box and Angel Tool Box. Get no charge special reports, ecourses and newsletters now at Parenting Tool Box.