parents just don’t understand

This NY times article talks about the possibility that, no matter how good the parenting, a kid can still turn out bad.

“We marvel at the resilient child who survives the most toxic parents and home environment and goes on to a life of success. Yet the converse — the notion that some children might be the bad seeds of more or less decent parents — is hard to take.”

The piece concludes that not everyone will turn out brilliant, or nice and loving, simply because of good parenting or environment.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised many people don’t understand, or fathom, this fact. I think life has far too many variables–external factors that goes beyond parenting and neighborhood–that can change a person. It’s hard to find the right level of parenting. I’ve seen kids turn out good because their parents worked hard to keep their asses in check and I’ve seen kids turn bad for that exact same reason. In the end, you are who you are for choices that you’ve made, and well, luck. Life changing events usually don’t come from parenting.

Of course I’m not dismissing parenting. I equate good parenting to playing good cards preflop in poker. You’re giving yourself (the kids) a better chance at hitting the flop and success. There are no guarantees, and everything is out of your hands once the flop hits. I believe that as a parent, your job is to pound in morals and values early and then just…pray for good luck. They’re out of your hands once they hit 14 or so…it’s up to life–and the kids themselves–whether or not what you taught them stick. You do your best to lay the rules early, and then you let go and watch the turn and river fall, hoping not to get bad beat like Mike McD.

On a related matter, here’s a NYMag cover story on why parents are beginning to hate parenting and another piece from Slate about how more women are choosing to go child-less.

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