I agree that positive reinforcement is indeed very important thoughout childhood, but it's not the end to all problems. My father had very little positive reinforcement while growing up, and I think he's turned out reasonably well. I was lucky enough to receive lots of encouragement, but that hasn't helped much with my insecurities and bitterness. I'm definately better off than I would be if I hadn't had support, but it doesn't necessarily make you more happy or less bitter. In my case, much of the negative reinforcement was internalized to balence out the positiveness I was receiving.