One of the more common explanations for why parental bullying is, if not optimal, at least morally permissable, is that it simply impossible to avoid doing it. This particular excuse is usually unconsciously premised upon the idea that that children are so ignorant or evil that bullying simply must come into the equation.
Often the parent who offers this excuse also knows that bullying is in some way suboptimal. Sometimes they may even be clear that when they bully they are forcing their progeny to enact a theory that is not active in the mind and they realise that this is a poor way to live and learn. However, because they believe their children to be deeply ignorant or evil, they feel that bullying occurs, a bit like abortion, as a necessary evil in their lives.
Why is this parental position suboptimal, for it would seem that in the best possible world and the happiest families, some parental bullying will occur? The reason why one could look to better this situation is that the premise that children are so irrationally difficult or evil, predisposes one to the bullying position.
Instead, if possible, the best position on the matter seems to be to accept one's own fallibilism and to understand the limits of knowledge. With this humiility about the extent to which one can apply one's reasoning to another, one starts to really listen to one's child and they can suddenly start to make a lot more sense. The parent may still feel that the child needs further help with sorting out the issue, but again, all theories offered by the parent will be tentative and may be rejected by the child. He will only take them on board when they actually make sense to him and true learning, with conjecture, refutation through critique will have taken place. The premise that children are grotesquely ignorant or evil simply disappears. The apparent egoism of the toddler should vanish when it becomes apparent how desperately they need the parent in order to survive, for example.
All this is written as a reminder to myself. In the course of the last month with the physical exhaustion resulting from illness, it has been all too easy to imagine that almost any demands made upon me were the result of evil intent. My goodness, this has been so wrong and so sad. But we had a lovely time yesterday evening, playing, writing and drawing till just before midnight. Perhaps things are looking up.