Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Hope I'm Never This Dad

I have to admit, I’m kind of proud of the parenting job my wife and I have done thus far. For first time parents I feel like we are doing OK navigating very new and scary waters. For first time parents of triplets, I feel like we hit it out of the park.

Something I like to keep in mind is that we are raising little adults.  Sure we have a broad idea of who we would like our kids to become, but in essence, what we parents are really doing is shepparding kids to adulthood.  As much as we'd like to think otherwise, genetic study after genetic study of multiples demonstrates that nothing but the very extremes of parenting conduct will affect your child.  Essentially, a child is born with genetic limits on athletic skill and intelligence.  Nothing you can do short of raising them in a closet will prevent them from reaching their "set point."  Try as you might, by second grade your kid will likely know X number of words.  Sure, you might be able to get him to X-Y words at age 3 whereas another parent's child might be at X-Y2 words, but by second grade that difference has largely disappeared.

It's worth stating again: Parents are merely shepparding - not shaping or forming them or reraising ourselves in our own image - shepparding.

So it disgusts me when I hear of these parents.  The parents who are worried about their “unmotivated” son. A son who lives (egads!) with his brother; oh, and who has a good job, to boot. Now, granted, it is as an automobile technician and not the lawyer/doctor job I’m guessing they want for their son based on the letter they wrote to’s Dear Prudence.
The parents are trying to “reconcile” themselves with their son’s chosen life, i.e. essentially his occupation and love of motor sports. They honestly describe it as “not healthy or what we consider fulfilling.” What about a 25-year-old living with a roommate/brother while being capable at a good job that pays good money is “not healthy” or “not fulfilling”? Who are these people?

They do mention that their son is 50 pounds overweight and that he sleeps at odd hours and eats junk food. Well, all but the first pretty much describes every 25-year-old I knew. The 50 pounds overweight describes about 25% of the 25-year-olds I knew, and about 50% of the population, according to statistics.

To me, these parents are so caught up in having “their” kid live “their” life that they have missed the fact that he has his own life now. And I think that is important to keep in mind. While we are raising and teaching our children we aren’t reraising ourselves; instead, we should be trying to foster whatever and whoever our children will become.

I try to keep that in mind. Please don’t let me ever become like the parents from the letter.

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