Parenting insanity

My piece from today’s about modern parenting, and the craziness too many of us bring to the table.

This isn’t a columnist drumming up attention to something he feels moderately passionate about. I am, in an old-school, Public Enemy sort of way, militant. I can’t stand the increasing number of parents who feel the need to ensure their kids’ success, without knowing what success actually means.

Here’s what I want:

A. My kids to be happy.

B. My kids to be giving.

C. My kids not to work in any sort of stock trading industry.*

Otherwise, we’re good.

* I’d also prefer they’re not hookers, drug dealers or cattle farmers.


6 thoughts on “Parenting insanity”

  1. Loved your column. The ongoing saga of the American parent confusing money with happiness and success, pusl the growing inequalities in our society that result in an ever shrinking slice of the proverbial pie, leave us nothing but families composed by exhausted parents raising stressed-out kids. Hey, your website doesn’t let me do the “anti-spambot-math”

  2. I read this over at and wanted to applaud. I was one of those kids that was out all day, playing, climbing trees, playing tag with flashlights at night during the summer. We were always a pack of kids roaming the neighborhood, catching frogs, and riding our bikes everywhere. We came home from school, dumped our books, had a snack, tackled that homework, had dinner and were out the door. Every free second was spent playing and having fun. My mom encouraged me to learn on my own, tackle what made me curious, and above all? Play and have fun.

    I find it ironic that society bemoans the loss of “innocence” for children with violence, etc., and yet we’re pushing, pushing, pushing for them to be “mini adults.” We’re piling on stress, forcing them to behave the way we think benefits a child, forcing them to live the life we (now adults) THINK we should have had as children. It’s just sad.

    All I’d want is for my kid to be happy and have joy and passion for *something* in their lives. The last thing on my list is for them to work all the time or live for their job. At the end of their lives, I highly doubt they’re going to spend their last minutes thinking, “Dang, I wish I had worked more instead of gone on that vacation with my family…”

    Life is about living, not about paychecks and test scores.

    So great article. I’ve shared it with everybody I know.

  3. But what if one of your kids find out that they have a real passion and/or talent for the stock trading industry (otherwise known as financial markets.) If you DO NOT allow them to pursue this, aren’t you violating you first rule about wanting them to be happy? What if success in financial markets enables them to be extremely generous “givers” and they set up a philanthropy?
    I hope your kids rebel in the Alex P. Keaton mode……LOL.

  4. Melissa Markquart

    Thanks for this article…..I heartily agree. I have three kids aged 17, 14, and 11 so I’ve been around this for a few years now. I’m sure there are many reasons why this is happening, but one repeating factor I see is a parent who has unresolved ambitions of their own possibly reaching to address it through their kids.
    I think the “art” part of raising children is to differentiate ourselves from them, and allow them to become who they were created to be, not a creation of our own. You defined what success was to you, and I’ll share what it means to me. I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can trust me and rely on me, that life is full of surprises-joys-tragedies, but with a family or community around them, them can face the unknown and even walk through the struggles and come out the other side changed but blessed. I do want my children to live a life of faith ( this is something my husband and I cherish), to consider “the other” in their words and deeds, be grateful for what they have, share their bounty with a world in need, and see themselves as a part of a global community in need of peace makers and justice. I do want them to appreciate how hard it is to make a living, and to be serious about finding life-work that can support them and their families. I want them to find a life partner to share their adult life with because when it is good, it is really good.
    There are so few guarantees in life, and I think that is what drives a parent to work so hard for “success” for their kids. Unfortunately, we’re not baking cookies, we’re not following a recipe, we’re dealing with a wonderful yet complex thing called “life”. I wish for people to become more at peace and not be so anxious….to enjoy the time, the ordinary moments of daily life with their kids. What kids need is the people around them to see them, hear them and accept them the way they are with love and respect. And of course, provide for their basic needs.

  5. Great article, father of three (20,8,5), very sound advice. living in a world where it seems everybody is in competition with everybody, it’s nice to be reminded by another dad of what the end game is.

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