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The nurturant parent model envisions a family model where children are expected to explore their surroundings with protection from their parents. This model believes that children inherently know what they need and should be allowed to explore. The parents are responsible for protecting their child during this exploration, including protecting their child from themselves by offering guidance. A child will be picked up if the child cries because the parent wants the child to feel safe and nurtured. If a child grows up believing that its needs will be met, it will be more confident when facing challenges.
The nurturant parent model is discussed by George Lakoff in his books, including Moral Politics and Whose Freedom?. In these books, the nurturant parent model is contrasted with the strict father model. Lakoff argues that if the metaphor of nation as family and government as parent is used, then progressive politics correspond to the nurturant parent model. For example, progressives want the government to make sure that the citizens are protected and assisted to achieve their potential. This might take the form of tough environmental regulations or healthcare assistance.
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