Maybe you've heard the old saying "treat a girl like dirt, and she'll stick to you like mud." As a parent, you can tweak the saying, and apply it to kids. The result is as follows:
"Treat your kids like dirt, and they'll stick to you like mud."
I am not advocating that you treat your kids like dirt. However, there are some sad truths that can be found in that statement.
Treat your kids like dirt
The "easy" part is treating your kid like dirt. Everyone either knows someone, or is that someone whose parents treated them like dirt. Perhaps the parents didn't come watch their child perform as the lead in the school play. Maybe they never attended any chess club tournaments. Or maybe everything the child did never quite met the expectations of the parent. Perhaps the pain was indeed physical, and the child was beaten and bruised. Any way you slice it, the kid has been abused.
They'll stick to you like mud
Children seem to have an overwhelming capacity for love, and this is one reason that they will stick to an abusive parent like mud. They are always hoping to find that one thing that will cause their parents to reciprocate that love. Maybe if they got better grades, or perhaps helped out just a little more around the house, then surely the parents would love them more.
Don't exasperate your children
Parents, remember to treat your children like human beings. If they are always seeking your approval, I truly believe it prohibits them from spreading their wings and reaching their full potential. Like it or not, you are that child's parent, and with that role comes great power to either do good, or create a mud pie.