Every parent has the same basic goals for their kids, no matter how different our lifestyles, parenting techniques, or circumstances may be: We all want them to grow up healthy, happy, and, hopefully, successful. Not necessarily rich, but self-sufficient and content.
Unfortunately, no one really knows how to make that happen. Sure, we have suspicions about what will work, and we do our best to enact parenting policies that encourage our kids to develop in the ways we want them to, but when it comes down to it, we’re all guessing.
Well, most of us are.
I love articles like this one from Business Insider. It lists, courtesy of SCIENCE!, the qualities/methods parents of “successful” children have in common. As if merely implementing the 13 things on this list (some of which may well require a time machine and/or hitting the lottery) guarantees that your kids will join the 1%.
At the risk of ruining my Friday, I took a look at the list in the hopes that much of it would apply to me and Mom and Buried and my kids would already – through absolutely no effort of their own – be on the fast track.
Let’s see how many of these thirteen things I checked off!
13 Things Parents of Successful Kids Have In Common
- They make their kids do chores – I like this idea; instilling a work ethic in your kids is very important, and assigning them chores is a great way to get started. Unfortunately I have a hard time making my 6-year-old put his shoes on, let alone push the damn lawnmower. (Strike)
- They teach their kids social skills – My kids learn by watching me. Which means when they’re not avoiding making eye contact, they’re saying something sarcastic and mean and then getting mad when you don’t realize they’re joking. (Strike)
- They have high expectations – I expect my kids to sleep past eight and to keep their voices down. Those are some freaking pipe dreams. I’m acing this one! (Hit)
- They have healthy relationships with each other – Is getting into a nightly argument over what to watch on Netflix healthy? If so, we’re totally crushing it! (Hit)
- They’ve attained higher educational levels – Mom and Buried and I both went to college. But we still decided to have more than one kid, so… Jury’s out on this one. (Ball)
- They teach their kids math early on – I can teach my kids math just fine, if I had any idea how to interpret the Common Core nonsense. I mean, I know what CC is trying to do, and it makes sense in theory, but when a 40-year-old needs to use YouTube tutorials just to understand your first grader’s homework, something’s not quite right… (Strike)
- They develop a relationship with their kids – Is Master-slave a relationship? Boss-employee? Guard-prisoner? I should probably ask my 6-year-old before I answer this. I don’t want to spend another night in the hole. (Balk)
- They’re less stressed – Haha! HAHAHA! Ha. (Hit by pitch)
- They value effort over avoiding failure – My kids are both under 10. There’s no avoiding failure. The baby can barely swallow and my 6-year-old can’t wear a pair of jeans more than once without ripping them at the knees. Of course I value effort. Effort is all I can hope for! (Foul)
- The moms work – This is a trick question, right? I don’t know any moms that don’t work. I’m not falling for this bullshit. (Sacrifice fly)
- They have a higher socioeconomic status – Hey look, privilege begets privilege! All you have to do is be born into the right demographic and you’re basically all set! Luck trumps everything! It’s the opposite of the American dream. I call it “Trickle-Sideways Economics.” But don’t worry, Trump will fix everything. From now on, there’ll be nothing but bad luck. Sorry, kids! (Rain out)
- They are “authoritative” rather than “authoritarian” or “permissive.” – Still working on this one, as I definitely lean more towards authoritarian. Everything I do is basically an executive order. Won’t be long before Detective Munch and his brother start protesting. (Bunt)
- They teach “grit.” – Um, grit as in toughness? I was in the marching band. Grit as in perseverance? I survived long enough to no longer be in the marching band. This one’s a wash. (Infield fly rule)
Lists like this are stupid for many reasons, and not just because so little of this one applies to me.
This one is inherently and immediately stupid because it doesn’t take into account the fact that many parents will have different definitions of “successful” for their kids. Not everyone defines success the same way. And it also seems to imply that if your wife doesn’t work, or you’re divorced, or you’re from a working class home, your kids can’t make it. That’s so gross.
Why don’t we back off and let everyone do their best and see what happens. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: there is no blueprint for raising kids right.
And no, I don’t know why I used baseball references either, get off me.
How did you fare?