In terms of parenting, the following article does a nice job of exploring the theory and research on unconditional vs. conditional parenting and the recommendations are summed up well in the following paragraph:
"In practice, according to an impressive collection of data by Dr. Deci and others, unconditional acceptance by parents as well as teachers should be accompanied by “autonomy support”: explaining reasons for requests, maximizing opportunities for the child to participate in making decisions, being encouraging without manipulating, and actively imagining how things look from the child’s point of view."
For the entire article, see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/health/15mind.html?_r=1 I see the above recommendation as a reminder that we are only consultants to our children; that they will grow up and lead whatever life they choose. Our best parenting is to give them all the acceptance we can and help them learn to choose their life thoughtfully, with the confidence in their own thought that our acceptance and love gives them. The hardest part is doing that when we don't like their current choices.