…happiness is an unfair thing to ask of a child. The expectation casts children as “antidepressants,” he notes, and renders parents “more dependent on their children than their children are on them.”
Just as important…producing happy children may not be fair to ask of parents. It’s a beautiful goal- one I’ve readily admitted to having myself- but as Dr. Spock points out, raising happy children is an elusive aim compared to the more concrete aims of parenting in the past: creating competent children in certain kinds of work; and creating morally responsible citizens who will fulfill a prescribed set of community obligations.
The fact is, those bygone goals are probably more constructive- and achievable. Not all children will grow up to be happy, in spite of their parents’ most valiant efforts, and all children are unhappy somewhere along the way, no matter how warmly they’re nurtured or how stoutly they’re protected.
from Jennifer Senior’s All Joy and No Fun
I’ve been thinking about the above quote the past few days. I read Senior’s book two years ago and found much in it that resonated with me. So much so that I’m still pondering it two years later. That’s a good book.