A Popular Obsession

Our culture is obsessed with perfection: perfect babies, intelligent preschoolers, kindergartners who speak French, third-graders who know algebra, fifth-graders who make the all-star club team in soccer, eighth-graders who spend their Saturdays in SAT prep courses, and sophomores suffering sleep deprivation from studying until 2 AM for their AP test.


We have also have been deluded by the myth of enrichment: that if a little bit of activity, stimulation, challenge and prep is good, than MORE is better. 

It isn’t so. In fact, we’re finding that this obsession with perfection and pursuing enrichment have diminishing returns. We wind up with disappointed parents and fatigued children and teens. 

But it’s so easy to be caught up with it because it’s so common in our culture. We are on our teens about peer pressure, but I’d suggest that some parents need to think about parental peer pressure. We don’t want to be the only family on our block that doesn’t have our kids involved in the right activities. That would make us The Loser Parent. ‘We gotta keep up!’


When we have the wrong focus, we look to the wrong metrics for success with our kids. It’s easy to look at external metrics to measure our impact as parents. But externally-oriented parents produce externally-oriented kids. What about the internal metrics for success? Like resilience, work ethic, honesty, compassion and impulse control? There aren’t club teams for those.

Check out this short video to see if you have bought into the Four Decoys for Success as a parent. It’s from my book, The Danger of Raising Nice Kids. 

Feel free to contact me about becoming effective parents with capable, healthy kids.