Loving with strings attached means using your love to get what you want from children. It means overpowering children and controlling them by using your love as a reward for being who you want them to be or doing what you want them to do. For example, when you show love for children only when they are high performing or making you look good. Loving with strings attached is NOT helpful for children. Instead, it is a lot like bullying where the threat to the child is losing an adult’s love.
What is helpful for children is loving them “no matter what.” However, loving no matter what is only helpful if it includes adults expecting good behavior, having reasonable rules with consequences, and teaching children good behavior. (To learn more about loving no matter what see: Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 2.