I once heard a wise man say, "We try to give our children everything that we did not get from our parents, but in the process we sometimes forget also to give them the good things we did get."

Often, the way we parent our children will go to one of two extremes. Either we try to do everything opposite to the way our parents did and give our children everything we did not get, or our parenting is a carbon copy of the way we were parented.

There are parents whose strengths are that they run a very disciplined home with clear boundaries and rules about what is accepted and what is not accepted. Yet they may have the weakness of not being able to provide unconditional love and affection at all times, since they are overtaken by their main ethos, being law and order.

When their children become parents they may choose to give their children everything they did not get which, in this example, is unconditional love and affection. To them, maintaining any sort of discipline is interpreted — perhaps on a sub-conscious level — as an unloving thing to do.

When these children (generation 3) become parents, they may choose to give their children (generation 4) everything they did not get, which is strong discipline and not give them unconditional love. They will parent like their grandparents did, which perhaps explains why grandparents and grandchildren get on so well.

On the other hand, there are parents who just repeat their own parents techniques. They only way they know how to parent is to duplicate their own parents.

This reminds me of a story about a little girl who is being very disobedient to her mother. The mother says to her, "As a punishment, your daughter will be very disobedient to you." To which her daughter replies, "Following that logic, I can imagine how disobedient you were to your mother."

Good effective parenting, like everything else in life, requires a careful balance. It needs both love and discipline; one without the other will not work.

Reaching this balance is not a goal but rather a journey. This is a journey where we constantly learn and grow and make adjustments as we go along.

We can use the analogy of an aircraft flying from Sydney to Melbourne. The chosen flight path may need constant adjustments due to factors such as wind and weather. The control tower will ask the pilot to make changes, while the ultimate goal remains the same to reach the desired destination.

The same applies to parenting. It is sometimes necessary to have a third party act like a control tower. It may be a rabbi, a psychologist, or a close friend, who will help us make the necessary adjustments for the balance between love and discipline.

Our sages tell us "Who is wise? One who learns from every person." There is something good we can learn from every parent. It does not necessarily mean that all their methods will apply to us, but we should still keep our minds open to what we can apply.

It is guaranteed that if we put in the effort and the time to upgrade our parenting skills we will definitely see results which will give us a lot of nachas for many years to come.