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Teen Voice - 11/25/2012

Parental Success
updated: Nov 24, 2012, 5:00 PM

By Kelsey Abkin

As a parent, one signs a contract agreeing to dedicate their lives to their children. Even if it means entering sleep deprivation as you stay up late mulling over what you may have done wrong only to find out you really have no idea what wrong is when it comes to parenting. With this in mind it seems fair enough that the kids should hold up their end of the deal and become the best versions of themselves.

However, the problem lies in the fact that some parents measure this "best version" using success. It is a dangerous term to throw at your children as the definition of success is fickle and therefore easily overlooked, or even worse taken too seriously. My mother always tells me the key to success is education, following the designated route toward the best college in order to obtain the best job possible. But see, I view success differently and it is this disparity that accounts for the countless arguments between us.

It seems to me the reason we all strive toward challenging objectives is to feel accomplished. Through school, we are taught that the more prominent our goals are, the more likely we are to be successful. However, this is not the case. Formidable goals allow a great amount of room for failure and little for success. Our education system is overflowing with good intentions yet manages to take the prime years of our lives that should be the most carefree and memorable and fill them with a collection of stress and a neurotic fear of failure. Success is a term full of contradictions, urged by all respectable educators and parents, yet full of risky repercussions. It seems that if we instead judged success by happiness it would not only relieve children of an over-whelming pressure, but also alleviate parents' fear that their children will fail.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 346434P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 05:20 PM

As a parent of one that was in High School a while ago, one that is still in High School and one that is a couple of years away from High School I can say from MY perspective as a parent that the number one goal of MOST parents is that their children be happy. Often times the first key to happiness is to be independent and capable of supporting yourself in whatever lifestyle you choose. With the economy the way it is the job market is very competitive and will remain so, for a while longer. Your parents want you to do well in school right now so that you have more options in college because more options = more opportunities to find what makes you happy and to be successful at it.

If you want to be a writer then go to school and major in something that involves writing so that you will have that extra edge. It is not an easy profession to be successful at and the competition is more fierce than you may realize. Yes I know that teenagers have it all figured out but sometimes your parents may actually know even more about the real world outside the home they raised you in because they have lived longer and experienced more. Hoping you and your mother can learn to communicate better without fighting so much because it would be great for you to be able to see her as a valuable, and unconditionally loving, resource.

Ultimately, if you're going to be the one paying for college and supporting yourself while you go, then it is up to you. However, if you are fortunate enough to have parents that are able to help you pay for it then you may have to listen to their input. It is for sure your life and your future but if they pay for your education it is a great deal of financial investment. Weigh it out and try to make mature decisions, your parents never signed a contract to do anything for you but have instead CHOSEN to be there for you all these years and even if you disrespect them, they'll forgive you and always be there for you.


 COMMENT 346475 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 08:10 PM

Kids today, oy vey!


 COMMENT 346476P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 08:13 PM

I want to see the contract that her parents signed...


 COMMENT 346478 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 08:19 PM

My dad put cig's out on me to wake me up and my mother is a perp drunk. My only goal everyday everyway is just to breathe and try to show others a life better than mine. Whatever that be.

So for you child, be lucky you even have parents. Mine were absent and more concerned with themselves than the ones they created. Enjoy everyday like it's your birthday :) Peace


 COMMENT 346479 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 08:21 PM

The key to success is to be content and happy with how you live your life, that you don't sell yourself short or pretend to be more or less than you really are. Strive for what makes you sing and the effort is what makes you feel that the struggles are worthwhile, that the failures are nothing but learning moments or stepping stones to getting there... wherever that might be.

It's not the destination that marks success but your attitude on the journey you choose to be on.... your choice and no one else's.


 COMMENT 346495 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 09:52 PM

And we wonder why America's rating in competitiveness is going down the toilet. Here's another gem of wisdom from someone else (apparently not Bill Gates):

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

I really appreciated the movie The Incredible's. Really spoke to a lot of these issues.

In summary, America is going down the toilet exactly because of stupid articles like this one becoming common belief.


 COMMENT 346500P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-24 10:35 PM

Kelsey, I usually enjoy your articles and like getting your perspective on things. BUT -- this is a lot of rot. You can be happy and accomplished. There is nothing wrong with having goals. There is also nothing wrong with occasionally failing. It is by our failings that we learn.


 COMMENT 346508P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 01:24 AM

Parents and teachers- the respectable ones- are taking away the prime years of life that should be the most carefree and memorable? The age of entitlement speaks.


 COMMENT 346635P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 01:05 PM

I know that I would be happiest if I did NOT have to work and could go to school and have my parents (if they were still alive) pay for it. That would make me happy. Unfortunately society doesn't care to foot the bill and it is up to me to provide for myself so I have to determine what my own personal needs and successes are and then go for it. Kelsey, that's life, you're lucky that you're still young and have the opportunity to argue with your mother about how she's wrong and she should let you do what you want. You totally have the freedom to do what you want to in this country so go do it instead of complaining about your mother on edhat. I would be really hurt and disappointed if MY kid wrote something like what you wrote...


 COMMENT 346650 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 01:56 PM

Wow... "the prime years of our lives that should be the most carefree and memorable"

By my estimate I've lived about two of your lifetimes. And I have to tell you, every year has been more memorable than the last.

I'm sure you don't realize it, but this statement makes you sound like an "ageist" little brat. It sounds to me like you are saying your parents' lives are over because they are not young and carefree and they should just foot the bill for you to have a good time since their life is over anyway. Well let me tell you, if they kicked you out on your spoiled little but and made you be COMPLETELY responsible for your own happiness then they would probably be a lot more carefree themselves.


 COMMENT 346694P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 05:02 PM

650 you are the bomb! I agree 100%. More carefree and more wealthy as well!


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 06:17 PM

Dear Teen Columnist, I appreciate your effort toward thinking through issues, and then going public- especially as some of the responses to your column could be viewed as alienating. Happiness is such a wide concept. It usually changes as we do. And perhaps that is what your parents are aware of, and are trying to make sure you have made preparations (good grades) to support any changes along the way. I wantred to be a waitress and my parents had to practically sit on me, force me, to finish college, for which I am truly grateful although...I really really wanted to be a waitress. Needless to say, I drove my own kids crazy getting them to study in high school so they'd get into a 4-year college. Hang in there.


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 09:02 PM

719: Thanks for the compliment.


62% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.


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