On Not Raising An Asshole

This has been on my mind since I participated in a focus group last week. The discussion was around what our hopes and dreams were for our children and how we, as parents could influence that. One of the mom’s commented that she hoped she’d raised a child who would not be an asshole. Right? I’m sure we can all relate to that. I’m pretty sure that this is a goal we all hope to achieve when raising our children.

But what happens if we do raise an asshole?

Because let’s face it, when raising children, there are so many factors that can affect who they will be as adults and a large percentage of those factors our outside of our control. Does it mean that we have failed as parents if our child does grow up to be an asshole?

My opinion – NO!

Although with mommy guilt worn like a 10-ton shroud, I doubt any of us will be able to accept this, should our precious children turn out to be assholes.

From my own experience, there are so many factors that shape who we are and how we move in the world. Parenting does play a large part. But so does temperament, personality, intelligence, emotional intelligence, mental illness, relationships outside the family unit, life experiences and consequences, and a large number of those are outside of our parental controls.

Just look at any average family, with two or more children, all raised the same way and yet, it’s possible that one of them can be an asshole.

Of course, I worry about this all the time with my own two girls. Life has already been hard for them. Tough experiences already shaping who they will be one day. But as their mother, their parent, what can I do to change that?

Aside from loving them and guiding them?

My dad always used to say that you can only do your best for your children. Teach them morals and good values, guide and nurture them to adulthood, but at some point, you have to accept that they’re going to make their own choices, be their own people and live their own lives and all you can do is hope that you guidance as enough, the rest is up to them.

And I think he’s right. We can do the best we can and it can still, sometimes not be enough.


    • Sharon

      November 4, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I think that’s the toughest part of being a parent, is realizing that you can do the best you can and still your child will choose otherwise.

      • Cassey Toi

        November 4, 2016 at 9:52 am

        It’s scary really. But I’m hoping it won’t freak me out too much when/if it happens. After all that is why we focus on making sure to remember that our kids are people unto themselves and nt just extensions of us

  • suzannacatherine

    November 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    It’s sort of the luck of the draw. And it is scary. If it turns out that one is an asshole, well as long as you did your best, I don’t see the need to feel guilty. (I’m speaking from experience. It’s taken a lot of prayer and a lot of years of therapy, but basically IMO it comes down to “it is what it is”.)

    I’m not saying it isn’t hard. It is. I’m saying try to keep yourself centered and be in the moment for yourself and the other people in your life.

    Thanks for all your thoughtful posts over the years!


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