Parenting is an exercise in finding the balance in a never-ending string of tricky situations.
It’s not good to be an absent parent, of course, but it’s also not good to be a helicopter parent. It’s not good to do everything for them, but it’s also not good to be a Bean Dad. It’s not good to scream at our kids, but it’s also not good to let them walk all over us. It’s not good to spoil our kids, but it’s also not good to give them no affection.
Indeed, parenting is full of situations that illustrate Aristotle’s famous metaphor of the “Golden Mean”—the idea that virtue usually sits in between two vices. Courage is somewhere between cowardice and recklessness. Generosity between giving too little and too much. And being a good parent, well that’s somewhere in between not being involved and always being too involved.
It should comfort you to know that Aristotle talked about how difficult it is to find these halfway points. Finding the right amount, he said, is a high art. It takes work and study and practice to figure out what is the right thing to do in the right amount at the right time in the right way.