How much do parents matter?

I’m still kind of new at this – my son just turned 3 months today (yikes), but I’ve already come to realize there’s a lot to worry about as a new parent.  Some of the things I worry about daily:

  • Is the Nanny we hired decent?
  • Why is he still getting up at 3 AM?
  • How can someone go from happy/giggling to a complete terror 3 seconds later?
  • Why does that little evil smile he throws at me every once in a while mean?
  • Will I ever quit dreaming of diapers?
  • Why aren’t my diapers working (seriously? What’s the point of diapers if they don’t contain what they’re supposed to contain?)?

But, most of all, we worry about being a good parent, right?  We worry about things like exposing our children to the right things, providing the right experiences and being a good role model.

You especially think about these things when you live in Brooklyn and are surrounded by parents wheeling their children about from their piano lessons to soccer practice.  It’s even more awesome when they stop you on the corner and do a run down of their son’s activities for the year.  Doubly more awesome when they ask why your son isn’t in such and such day care or why he hasn’t joined Joe Jingles’ sing-a-long group (some names may be slightly altered) – basically just questioning your parenting skills or maybe even rights.  My friend calls these types of moms soy-nuts.

Anyway, what if none of that mattered?  What if you all those activities you forced your kids into doing did nothing to expand their growth?  That exposing them to new things really doesn’t give them a leg up on their later life?  What if those Brooklyn moms were wasting their time?

I know this podcast is a few months old, but I find it really enlightening for new parents (plus, I’m the new guy here and can post what I want).  The podcast from Freakonomics radio explores just how much influence a parent really has on a child’s life:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/08/17/new-freakonomics-radio-podcast-the-economists-guide-to-parenting/

Without spoiling it entirely, let’s just say we don’t really matter all that much!  As long as you love your child, odds are they will turn out just fine.  Pretty simple, right?  What do you think?

1 Comment

  1. Parents DO matter and all we Parents can do is the BEST job we can. There’s a certain amount of luck involved as with all aspects of life. Give your kid(s) the best opportunities, be there for them, and the rest is in God’s hands!

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