Joy of Love – 175

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  1. A mother who watches over her child with tenderness and compassion helps him or her to grow in confidence and to experience that the world is a good and welcoming place. This helps the child to grow in self-esteem and, in turn, to develop a capacity for intimacy and em­pathy. A father, for his part, helps the child to perceive the limits of life, to be open to the chal­lenges of the wider world, and to see the need for hard work and strenuous effort. A father possessed of a clear and serene masculine iden­tity who demonstrates affection and concern for his wife is just as necessary as a caring mother. There can be a certain flexibility of roles and responsibilities, depending on the concrete cir­cumstances of each particular family. But the clear and well-defined presence of both figures, female and male, creates the environment best suited to the growth of the child.