It's Okay If You're Not Raising 'Successful' Kids

Parenting is not something you can prosper at. It’s not a thing that creates wealth or opulence.

08/30/2017 08:27 pm ET Updated Sep 06, 2017
Michelle Zunter

I probably scroll through at least one article a day on the internet making statements such as, “Parents of Successful Kids Always Do THIS,” or, “How To Raise Truly Successful Children.”

So what exactly constitutes a successful child? Well, there’s actually a lot of opinions about that.

There’s a voluptuous stream of parenting advice on the internet. Some of it is quite useful. But the well-formulated articles talking about mastering the art of magically producing consistently well-behaved, highly intelligent, financially savvy, socially adept children can be utterly defeating for any parent who doesn’t feel they’re measuring up to a certain level of “parenting success.”

The definition of the word success is, “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” It’s also defined as, “The attainment of popularity or profit.” Words that are often associated with success are prosperity, affluence, and wealth.

While it’s great to have goals and it’s certainly a good thing to raise kids who eventually learn to follow through with their own goals in life, I’m left wondering if children ― especially young children ― really need to be labeled as successful or not successful just yet?

Some days parenting is just something you survive."

There are a stunning amount of articles out there aimed at parents in regards to raising kids who achieve success. What happened to well-mannered, considerate, or playful children? To me, a child that has any of these characteristics is already on the right path as a human being.

If a child is 3, 4, or even 7 years old, how do we define what success is for them? How am I supposed to fine-tune my child for the ultimate “success” in life when they still don’t even get dressed on their own some days?

I recently wrote an article about kids who are considered “advanced” and how we as a society have a tendency to obsess about our children’s academic achievements even when they’re only in preschool or kindergarten. The same can be said about the standards we sometimes set for parents raising kids.

In my world, a day in which everyone gets to school on time, the teacher doesn’t say anything negative, meltdowns are absent, and the whole family actually likes the dinner I made is what I call a successful day in our household.

Maybe I live in a different world than most, and perhaps my standards of “success” are way off. It just seems that societal expectations of children have evolved from simply being children to needing children to prepare for constantly winning at life 24/7.

The concept of success is nice. It tells tales of gleaming buildings, fancy cars, accolades, and oodles of money. But success is not the word I look for when I’m scouting for helpful parenting advice. I look for words like healthy, confident, strong, helpful, and empathetic.

Most of us parents fly by the seat of our pants on a daily basis. We have days when we’re too exhausted to even read a bedtime story and then we have great days when we’re totally on it. There’s no need for any extra pressure other than what we’re already working very hard at which is attempting to raise kind, healthy, sensible children.

Parenting is not something you can prosper at. It’s not a thing that creates wealth or opulence. Some days parenting is just something you survive. Other days, parenting is a rewarding experience full of awesome moments, hugs and kisses.

So the next time you scroll by an article that lists 10 different things you need to do as a parent in order to ensure your child’s “success” in life, don’t feel pressured. Your kids don’t have to be successful. They just need to be good to themselves and to others.

You got this.

You can visit Michelle at her blog, The Pondering Nook discussing relationships, marriage, divorce, parenting, step-parenting &more! You can also catch Michelle co-hosting at The Broad’s Way Podcast. Feel free to follow The Pondering Nook on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter.

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