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Apparently Parenting doesn't matter in the Long run

(14 Posts)
bumblingbovine Fri 23-Sep-11 17:31:20

It may well not be true I suppose, but in this world obsessed with blaming parents for everything to do with their children, this lone voice in the wilderness has lifted my heart.

She is of course right that I will continue to love and help my "behaviourly challenged" son for no other reason than that I love him. After reading this I suddenly realised that all my worrying about how ds will turn out in the long run is pointless. I will do what I can to help him because I want to and I love him, but the outcome is really not in my control. The process counts not the result. What a lovely view of parenting compared to the usual results driven obsession (i.e if you children don't turn out OK you have failed!)

"Parenting" doesn't matter in the long run

HoneyPablo Sat 24-Sep-11 09:40:39

I think she is wrong. The way our children turn out is a mixture of nature and nurture. Parenting styles matter enormously.

parenting styles

tryingtoleave Sat 24-Sep-11 09:47:42

Freakenomics also argues that parenting doesn't matter - it's an interesting read.

cory Sat 24-Sep-11 23:41:21

"The notion that parents can ruin their children by rearing them poorly -- or turn them into happy, successful adults by rearing them well -- is a relatively new idea."

Really? So where does the expression "spare the rod and spoil the child" come from?

cory Sat 24-Sep-11 23:42:11

Not, I hasten to add, that I agree with it- but it certainly doesn't suggest an attitude that it is children will turn out the same whatever you do.

tryingtoleave Sun 25-Sep-11 08:38:50

Yes, that is a nonsense statement, Cory - think of Rousseau. But I was interested in the argument in feakenomics that who the parents are, rather than what they do, matters.

reallytired Sun 25-Sep-11 11:22:15

There are many approaches to parenting and no one way of doing things. Children need consistancy, fairness and a clear understanding of the world. There are many ways of achieving this and lots of good parenting styles.

For example two families with an Authoritative Parenting style maybe very different in their approach to life. It is possible for a Gina Ford devotee and Dr Sears devotee to both have an Authoritative Parenting style.

A lot of mumsnetters get caught up with the details rather than looking at the bigger picture.

My parents used to swing from being very permissive to being excessively strict. It was very unpredictable and neither my brother nor I have enjoyed good mental health as adults.

lisad123 Sun 25-Sep-11 11:27:04

So the numbers that show children from care backgrounds are at higher risk of committing crimes are just fodder!

TrillianAstra Sun 25-Sep-11 11:35:08


Parenting certainly doesn't matter as much as a lot of people think it does. If you do an OK job, everything will probably be fine. Trying really hard to be the perfect parent is unlikely to be worth it. (statistics on children raised in care probably indicate that at some point they were being raised by someone who was doing a less-than-OK job)

When people talk about nature/nurture as genes/parenting I always want to ask them why they think that no nurture is done by anything or anyone other than the parents.

reallytired Sun 25-Sep-11 11:40:28

lisad123, a lot of children in care have ensured quite extreme abuse. Its no wonder that they are more likely to experience mental health problems, leave school without qualifications or get into crime. Many of them have grown up in a world with abnormal values and have experience horrific physical/ sexual/ pychological abuse. To compound matters the LEA is not the best of parents.

Children need love to grow.

Pinkseren Sun 25-Sep-11 11:48:31

Having worked in a centre for 11-17 year olds who have been convicted for crimes ranging from theft to murder, I can tell you that parenting absolutely matters and the point that lisad123 makes is correct. We all do the best job that we can for our children and will sometimes get it wrong, but there are some cases where parents have no interest whatsoever in their children, impose no boundaires (which children like because they feel safe),do not teach them right from wrong and in many cases, don't provide the most basic level of care for their children (for example feeding and clothing them).

The care system is no substitute for the love and nurturing of a parent who parents their child, and whilst workers in this system work very hard todo the best they can for these children, the child knowing that they are not wanted/ cared for etc adds another sad dimension to this.

Greythorne Sun 25-Sep-11 11:59:30

I have read her book and "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker who picks up many of her themes.

I think she (and he, for that matter) is right.

The book is much more nuanced than that précis in the link.

In fact, she argues that if you take out kids who have suffered abuse or neglect (because these children can of course be very seriously damaged and their development stunted by the abuse / neglect), the majority of kids whose parents do a pretty OK job do not influence outcomes as much as they think.

UsingPredominantlyTeaspoons Sun 25-Sep-11 12:02:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Sun 25-Sep-11 12:07:12

It's about balance, isn't it? As a parent you can't take your child's genes away, but you can teach them how to deal with them.

I cannot take away dd's volatile temper and tendency to depression- in fact, I could give you a list of the relatives it came from- but I can teach her little tricks to handle it, I can provide a calm and loving environment and I can model ways of dealing with difficulties. Of course, it's going to make a difference. But it won't turn her into her placid cousin.

And Trillian's point about nurture being done by others than parents is also hugely relevant. Of course it makes a difference to dd that she is growing up surrounded by other caring, sensible people, that her friends and teachers and the parents of friends have, for the most part, values that will she will benefit from assimilating.

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