Tough love rules for dating

"You have to decide how much time you can give to each of your priorities, and how much of you want to give to each priority," says Carpenter."As professional opportunities start to arise, you'll have to make decisions.In your 20s, you dated around, kissed a few frogs, partied with your girls, survived school and got a firm grip on your career (finally! The twenty-something decade is full of exploration and change—but then, you blow out 30 candles and something feels decidedly different."There's this really unique thing that happens in your thirties," says psychologist Kristen Carpenter, Ph D, Director of Women's Behavioral Health at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center."You really begin refining and enriching your life, and gaining career traction so you are where you want to be in your forties."According to Carpenter, this is where work-life balance starts to become the top priority.We were completely convinced that our love would stand the test of time and that we were destined to be together forever.But like the overwhelming majority of high school dating relationships, ours ended in an explosion of drama and heartbreak.While the "tough love" approach to parenting – defined as combining warmth with firm rules and clear boundaries – was thought to have gone out of fashion in the 1950s, researchers found that children with this upbringing were a third more likely to have well-developed "soft" skills than those with more relaxed parents.In a blow to the huge numbers of parents who are divorced or remarried, the study also found that children with married parents were twice as likely to develop good skills as those living with stepfamilies or single parents.

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But a new study of 9,000 households found that children whose parents favoured this laissez-faire style of parenting were less likely to develop vital life skills – such as empathy, self-control and application – by the age of five than those whose parents took a traditional "tough love" approach.More time is now being devoted to cultivating soft skills in schools, with employers complaining in recent years that graduates and school leavers might have good exam grades but are lacking in social skills such as teamwork.The Building Character report, produced by the Demos think tank using data collected as part of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), found that parenting style is the most important factor in determining child character development, cancelling any differences in development between children from richer and poorer families."This report is right that parenting ability outstrips every single other factor in increasing social mobility and attainment – more than class, ethnicity or disability," said Iain Wright, Minster for Children, Schools and Families."This provides a strong rationale for all of Government to do everything it can to help families to achieve their goals and aspirations." Some point out that reports such as these merely add to the pressure many feel to be perfect parents, rather than providing useful advice.

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