Setting Children Up for Success

A recent interview with the so-called tiger mom has prompted parenting discussions around the web. I read some of them. I have my own opinion and thoughts about the subject, but they don’t really pertain to this post. It took longer for the topic to trickle to our local AP board, but it finally did during the past week. Reading what mothers I often see had to say about the topic was interesting, even in a group where supposedly everyone practices attachment parenting.

There seemed to be a clear division between parents who specifically stated they wanted their children to succeed and those who said they wanted to support their children in what they wanted. There were added depths to the discussion, bringing in cultural differences, schooling choices, and parenting styles. One side seemed to think the other was too controlling while the other thought the first was uninvolved.

Photo by Paul Schultz

I read the discussion on our message board without participating. What was clear to me was one simple thing: most parents want their children to succeed. The differences are threefold:

Individuals define success differently. For some, success means a well-paying job which will support their child, providing their grown children with necessites or perhaps even luxuries that they themselves may have not had. For others, happiness and enjoyment of life is more important.

Methods for success vary. Partially dependent upon, but not inclusive to, individual definitions of success are the methods by which parents support their children. Two parents whose definition of success are similar may utilize very different methods in their attempts to support their children.

Finally, a defining factor in the implementation of setting children up for success is dependent upon a parent’s beliefs concerning the acceptable treatment of others. This is a defining factor, not only for how we treat our children, but also of how we view and treat others in general.

Differences in definitions are miniscule when it comes to what we believe concerning how others should be treated. Our children will grow up and have their own definition of their success, which may or may not correspond with our own. How we treat them now will set up our future relationships with them.

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