The Three MAJOR Ways PARENTS Create UNSUCCESSFUL Adults

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It is THE WISH of most parents that their children become successful adults, using their UTMOST human potential.  What parent DOESN'T want that for his/her children? After all, they want their children to have the opportunities they DIDN'T have.
It is THE WISH of most parents that their children become successful adults, using their UTMOST human potential. What parent DOESN'T want that for his/her children? After all, they want their children to have the opportunities they DIDN'T have.
Or.....DO THEY REALLY? Many parents oftentimes have THEIR OWN AGENDAS when it comes to their children's success. Many times, they ENFORCE their definitions of success unto their children.
Or.....DO THEY REALLY? Many parents oftentimes have THEIR OWN AGENDAS when it comes to their children's success. Many times, they ENFORCE their definitions of success unto their children.
Parents inculcate their children re: success based upon their particular paradigm e.g.mindset, purview, educational & socioeconomic backgrounds.  They tell their children that there are CERTAIN, LIMITED paradigms which to be successsful.
Parents inculcate their children re: success based upon their particular paradigm e.g.mindset, purview, educational & socioeconomic backgrounds. They tell their children that there are CERTAIN, LIMITED paradigms which to be successsful.
There ARE parents who deride their children because they have different dreams & goals of success from their parents. Instead of applauding & encouraging their children, such children are considered oddities, even pariahs.
There ARE parents who deride their children because they have different dreams & goals of success from their parents. Instead of applauding & encouraging their children, such children are considered oddities, even pariahs.

I Only Meant..............WELL


Most parents want their children to be successful in life. They also want their children to use the most of their human potential. They desire for their children to have the opportunities that they did not have growing up. After all, what parent does not want these things for their children?


Although many parents proclaim that they want success for their children, it is often on their particular terms. They teach their children how to be successful based upon their particular purview of life and no more. They also inculcate their children regarding success according to their upbringing, educational level, socioeconomic/sociocultural backgrounds, gender specifics, and work attitude among other variables.


There are parents who contend that their children should be successful but only within certain parameters. They strongly maintain that one should be acceptably successful with the limitation dictated by their particular/respective family and societal paradigms. They fear that if their children go against this paradigm, their children would be considered to be outsiders at best and weird/oddities at worst.


Then there are the parents who contend that their children should reach for practical and/or realistic goals regarding their success. They strongly indoctrinate their children that certain goals are realistic and/or practical while others simply are just too unrealistic and impractical and the chances for success is simply little to none. So such parents teach their children that some things are just too fantastical/idealistic to strive for, goading them to face reality in terms of their goals.


Parents who want and/or desire for their children to succeed, really do not in actuality. They inadvertently refuse to allow them to explore areas that are not within their particular paradigm and worldview. They even deride and verbally ostracize their children from exploring different avenues and having goals which are not sanctioned by the former. To reiterate, they want their children to be successful..........but only by THEIR definition of success, not their children's.


Many parents contend that they are teaching their children what is considered to be a realistic and practical ideal of success for the good of their children. They want to stead the latter in the right direction, not wanting them to encounter more difficulties than they will naturally encounter. In essence, they want their children to have as easy as humanely possible regarding success. They do not want their children to obtain a goal which they deem will have little chance of becoming true. However, they do not realize that they are condemning their children to be risk averse failures or at best, settling for being far less than what they COULD be.

Some parents contend that their children should reach only acceptable paradigms of success.They further maintain that there are PREORDAINED paradigms of what is success & to go beyond such paradigms, is forbidden, even TABOO.
Some parents contend that their children should reach only acceptable paradigms of success.They further maintain that there are PREORDAINED paradigms of what is success & to go beyond such paradigms, is forbidden, even TABOO.
To some parents, their children going against THEIR prescribed paradigm of success is considered to be egregious. They contend that it for the GREATER GOOD of their children not to go against this success paradigm.
To some parents, their children going against THEIR prescribed paradigm of success is considered to be egregious. They contend that it for the GREATER GOOD of their children not to go against this success paradigm.
There are parents who feel that it's QUITE an UPFRONT to them that their children would subscribe to a different success paradigm than THEIRS. They consider it quite odd that their children would choose something unheard of.
There are parents who feel that it's QUITE an UPFRONT to them that their children would subscribe to a different success paradigm than THEIRS. They consider it quite odd that their children would choose something unheard of.
Many parents' idea of success are controlled by their familial, educational, economic, cultural, religious,&/or even gender background &/or purview.  They feel that their children will have it EASIER if they adhere to the former's idea of success.
Many parents' idea of success are controlled by their familial, educational, economic, cultural, religious,&/or even gender background &/or purview. They feel that their children will have it EASIER if they adhere to the former's idea of success.
Some parents don't want their children to rock the prescribed boat in terms of success. They will resort to invalidate,even denigrate their children's aspirations & success in order to get their children to adhere to prescribed ideas of success.
Some parents don't want their children to rock the prescribed boat in terms of success. They will resort to invalidate,even denigrate their children's aspirations & success in order to get their children to adhere to prescribed ideas of success.
So many children subvert their own aspirations& goals because they want to conform to their parents' paradigm of success. They flounder, even fail, never attaining THEIR  levels of success-OFTEN becoming EMBITTERED,even ANGRY at what might have been.
So many children subvert their own aspirations& goals because they want to conform to their parents' paradigm of success. They flounder, even fail, never attaining THEIR levels of success-OFTEN becoming EMBITTERED,even ANGRY at what might have been.

This is BEYOND Your Purview, You SHOULDN'T Do This


There are parents who contend that their children reach acceptable levels of success. To them, anything beyond what they consider acceptable levels of success is considered to be taboo and/or against the preordained order of things. For example, a farmer may contend that his son, who wants to be a doctor, is going beyond the family's particular purview of success as his family were farmers and have been so for generations.


To this father, his son is reaching too high and going beyond this particular family's idea of success. The father asserts that the son is idealistic and his dreams are too fantastical for a mere farmer's son and that he should give up this dream and settle for being a farmer. After all, no one else in the family aspires beyond being a farmer. So the father, in one way or another, discourages the son from obtaining his goal of becoming a doctor.


There are parents who believe that their children's aspirations and goals should be within certain preordained paradigms. They contend that to go beyond such prescribed paradigms will only cause their children psychological, even social alienation. They believe that the latter should adhere to particular paradigm as far aspirations and goals are concerned. In the parents' purview, what is good enough for them is good enough for their children. These are the parents who feel that it is quite foolhardy for their children who have aspirations and goals that no one in their particular circle or group has.


Such parents are controlled by familial, and other paradigms such as educational, sociocultural, socioeconomic, and/or even gender based regarding what acceptable goals their children should aspire to and attain. They assert that their particular group and/or circle knew what it is best regarding what avenues of success was atttained. They maintained that this had to be the case as the majority of their group and/or circle has attained this success and are quite comfortable, content, and secure regarding this success. They want their children to follow their idea of success in order to adhere to the paradigms established by their particular social group be it family, religious, socioeconomic, or a related social group as this is the way it always have been done. They do not want their children to rock the boat so they resort to ways to invalidate their children's aspirations and goals if they choose a different path.


Many times as a result of such parental inculcation,there are children who reluctantly choose the path of the majority in their particular circle/group. In essence, they choose the path of the least resistance as far as success goes. They are often floundering in their fields of endeavor instead of using their utmost human potential and reaching unimagined levels of success. They live below their levels of success, wishing that they had followed their own path, not the prescribed path of their particular familial circle and/or group. They exist instead of thriving, often being embittered and angry for being passive regarding their life choices. Instead they let their parents decide what success should be based upon prescribed paradigms whether it is the family, economic, educational, and/or sociocultural group of origin they belong to.

There ARE parents who BELIEVE, NURTURE &ENCOURAGE their children's aspirations & goals. To them, there is NO such thing as unrealistic/impractical aspirations & goals. Such words aren't in their vocabulary & such goals CAN be attained.
There ARE parents who BELIEVE, NURTURE &ENCOURAGE their children's aspirations & goals. To them, there is NO such thing as unrealistic/impractical aspirations & goals. Such words aren't in their vocabulary & such goals CAN be attained.
Then there are OTHERS who deem, even decry, their children's goals/aspirations as being highly unrealistic,even fantastical in nature.They feel that their children's aspirations& goals should be more realistic if they wish to succeed.
Then there are OTHERS who deem, even decry, their children's goals/aspirations as being highly unrealistic,even fantastical in nature.They feel that their children's aspirations& goals should be more realistic if they wish to succeed.
Some are fearful that if their children's aspirations & goals are deemed impractical, they will have a more difficult road to success, if they do succeed.To them,their children would've an EASIER road to success if they temper such aspirations/goals.
Some are fearful that if their children's aspirations & goals are deemed impractical, they will have a more difficult road to success, if they do succeed.To them,their children would've an EASIER road to success if they temper such aspirations/goals.
So many children reluctantly temper their so-called impractical/unrealistic ambitions to settle for more practical goals.Some go through the motions of their jobs/careers,knowing that there's SOMETHING BETTER! Why/what for, they....wonder... &WONDER.
So many children reluctantly temper their so-called impractical/unrealistic ambitions to settle for more practical goals.Some go through the motions of their jobs/careers,knowing that there's SOMETHING BETTER! Why/what for, they....wonder... &WONDER.
Many simply CAN'T keep up the act anymore,  acting in ways that are perilous to their jobs/careers.While many live secondhand lives via their jobs/careers,others eventually are FIRED from their jobs/careers because such WEREN'T their passion.
Many simply CAN'T keep up the act anymore, acting in ways that are perilous to their jobs/careers.While many live secondhand lives via their jobs/careers,others eventually are FIRED from their jobs/careers because such WEREN'T their passion.

This is UNREALISTIC/IMPRACTICAL, Such a STUPID Dream


Vanessa Williams related during an interview that her parents never told her to get a real job and to settle for less than her goal to be an actress. She revealed during an interview that when she informed her parents of her career choice, her parents indicated that they would support her every step of the way. She added that her parents believed in her aspirations and goals. She further remarked that it is so sad that many actors do not have such supportive parents.


There are parents who staunchly believe that their children's aspirations and goals should be of a practical, even pragmatic nature. They decry the notion that their children would even have the audacity to have aspirations and goals which the former deem to be unrealistic at best and quite fantastical at worst. They would even tell their children to have aspirations and goals which will guarantee a stable and secure career even if such career is not to their liking nor interest.


There was an executive at my last job who initially wanted to be an actress. However, her parents decried such aspirations and goals as totally ludicrous and highly impractical, pushing her to go into a more secure career, law. It was clear that she was not happy in her position and took out her angst on her subordinates. In essence, because of her dissatisfaction with her career of choice, she made her subordinates' lives miserable whenever possible. Whenever she could, she would give piano recitals to fulfill her creative, innate need and passion.


So many children temper their aspirations and goals that is most compatible to stability, even security. They believe that having impractical aspirations and goals will be a disservice to them in terms of success. They contend that in order to be successful, their aspirations and goals should be practical. So they subvert their original aspirations and goals, going into something that is considered to be more realistic thus attainable. However, their yearnings are not satisfied so they express such aspirations and goals in other ways, sometimes not so positive.


Oftentimes, they subvert their aspirations and goals so much to pursue more stable, acceptable, and secure roads to success that they become depressed, knowing that they are not doing what they are passionate about. They merely meander in their jobs/careers, performing at an acceptable level but never using their fullest potential because they are in areas they really do not care about. It is all an act to them, many times an act of utter desperation and longing.


There are some who cannot keep up the act anymore and act out in ways that can be detrimental to their jobs/careers i.e. calling in sick and performing in ways that oftentimes result in their termination. Many stay in stultifying areas because of stability and security simply going through the motions, being mediocre and never having the job/career which is their passion and source of happiness. Their lives are full of regrets of why did not they pursue their innate passion instead of settling for a job that is more stable and secure. They feel that they have lived a life of failure, selling their souls for stability instead of having a job/career which would allow them to express their true passion.


There ARE parents who PLAN & PRESCRIBE their children's career/educational goals from the beginning.Their contention is that they're doing what is BEST for their children which will be APPRECIATED once their children are adults.
There ARE parents who PLAN & PRESCRIBE their children's career/educational goals from the beginning.Their contention is that they're doing what is BEST for their children which will be APPRECIATED once their children are adults.
Such parents CONTEND that childhood/adolescence is stressful enough without their child/teen worrying about his/her aspirations& goals. They, as parents, are more qualified re:deciding what their child/teen SHOULD be than the latter.
Such parents CONTEND that childhood/adolescence is stressful enough without their child/teen worrying about his/her aspirations& goals. They, as parents, are more qualified re:deciding what their child/teen SHOULD be than the latter.
Some parents mandate their children's career/education aspirations & goals as part of tradition. They assert that since their chosen arena was quite profitable & beneficial to them, it is reasoned that their children should follow suit.
Some parents mandate their children's career/education aspirations & goals as part of tradition. They assert that since their chosen arena was quite profitable & beneficial to them, it is reasoned that their children should follow suit.
Woe to the children who have different aspirations & goals from such parents. They accept NO refusal as far such aspirations & goals go. They often resort to any means necessary, overt or covert, to force their children to follow their footsteps.
Woe to the children who have different aspirations & goals from such parents. They accept NO refusal as far such aspirations & goals go. They often resort to any means necessary, overt or covert, to force their children to follow their footsteps.
Others select their children's education/career goals as a result of the former having unfulfilled/unfinished goals.They want their children to have ADVANTAGES that they didn't have. In essence, they want to live vicariously through their children.
Others select their children's education/career goals as a result of the former having unfulfilled/unfinished goals.They want their children to have ADVANTAGES that they didn't have. In essence, they want to live vicariously through their children.
Such children feel like impostors in their educational/job/career choices. They feel unfulfilled as their choices were not their own. They would be successful & happier if they'd adhered & stuck wTHEIR OWN choices instead of THEIR PARENTS' choices.
Such children feel like impostors in their educational/job/career choices. They feel unfulfilled as their choices were not their own. They would be successful & happier if they'd adhered & stuck wTHEIR OWN choices instead of THEIR PARENTS' choices.

YOU Will DO As I SAY, You WON'T Decide

There are children whose parents have their jobs/careers/vocations planned out and prescribed, sometimes from birth. There are parents who believe that they know what is best for their children in terms of aspirations and goals. These are the parents who decide what school and careers that are most advantageous for their children. They want their children to have all the educational, career, and socioeconomic advantages possible.

However, something is missing. They fail to consider their children's aspirations, desires, and goals. They feel that their children do not possess the knowledge to decide how to attain success and contend that it is their duty, even obligation,as parents to set such goals. It is not unusual for such parents to decide a career/vocation for a child very early in life. They are of the school that the earlier a career/endeavor/vocation is decided for a child, the more successful, he/she will be in later life. After all, they do not want their children to be burdened with educational and/or career choices when they, as adults, have more knowledge and expertise than their children have in such areas.

They feel that childhood and adolescence are tough enough without a child/teen deciding what he/she wants to be. They contend that by choosing his/her child's educational/career lifepath, his/her child will have a smoother, easier road to success. They rationalize that their children should be thankful and if they are not thankful at the present time, they will be immensely grateful as adults.

Then there are parents who decide what their children should be out of tradition. They contend that their level of success and/or jobs/careers are good enough for them. They further argue that since their particular lifestyle has been good to them, it will be good for their children. This is the business owner who demands that his/her children go into the family business,accepting no refusal nor alternative career choice. These parents assert that it is a matter of family tradition, even honor, for their children to follow their footsteps as far as educational and/or career choices go. If their children elect not to follow such a prescription, their parents will either force them to do so, overtly or more subtly, in one way or another. Some will even resort to disinheriting and/or disowning their children until they see the light and agree to the parents' plan.

There are other parents who dictate what their children should be because of their own unfulfilled goals or missed opportunities. To them, their children exist to fulfill their missed and/or unfinished goals. They refuse to acknowledge that their children have aspirations and goals of their own but instead instill and implant their own particular aspirations and goals unto their children. The parents are living vicariously through the children instead of having the courage to implement their own dreams and/or success methodology. If their children balk at such dictatorial plans, such parents will assert how unappreciative their children, wishing that they HAD such advantages and/or opportunities.

Many children feel powerless when important matters such as educational and career goals are decided for them at a young age. They contend that their lives are not their own but someone else's. They feel as if they are following someone else's script instead of their own. Some of them go through the motions pertaining to the career chosen for them. They know that their "success" is not authentic and was not based upon their own choice and efforts but programmed by their parents. Their success would be called a half-hearted success if that. There are some who fail in their educational and/or career arenas because the latter was not what THEY wanted. They entered in a particular educational and/or career area because their parents mandated that they do so-often unwillingly.

So many people are in jobs/careers that AREN'T of their own choices but preordained by their parents.They don t have a genuine success/satisfaction in their jobs/careers.Many languish in such jobs/careers, not realizing this  until it's TOO,TOO LATE.
So many people are in jobs/careers that AREN'T of their own choices but preordained by their parents.They don t have a genuine success/satisfaction in their jobs/careers.Many languish in such jobs/careers, not realizing this until it's TOO,TOO LATE.

Conclusion

Many parents believe that they are doing what is best for their children welfare in terms of success. However, they raise and inculcate their children in ways that guarantees their failure as adults. Even if their children do not fail as a result of such parental indoctrination, they oftentimes achieve a modicum level of success. If they do achieve success, it is not success on their own terms but on their parents' terms.

They are living someone else's script instead of their own. So many people are in jobs/careers that they do not want but are in such jobs/careers because of parental paradigms and choices. A few are brave enough to rebel against such stricture, defining and implementing success on their individual terms. However, many are in stultifying jobs/careers, quitely commiserating and not waking up until it is much too late, living a life of utter desperation and regret of what might and could have been.

© 2014 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 13 comments

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 2 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I grew up in a family whose expectations are really high. When we got one mistake we were scolded for not perfecting the test. Now as a father I know what I should and should not do based on my experiences. God thing I have a degree in Child Development and I can make things better for my daughter.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Jpcmc, what an insightful and eloquent response. Perfectionistic is yet another reason why so many children become failures as adults. As a result of unrealistic and ruthless parental expectations, children are fearful of making mistakes thus becoming highly risk averse. This action is total antithetical to growth and success. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the discussion.


m abdullah javed profile image

m abdullah javed 2 years ago

The life is a struggle between parents dream and children's effort to either realise or spoil. Yours hub specifically elaborate the faults that most of the parents commit which in turn make their child spoil their dreams. Excellent Sir. Thanks for sharing. I think the greatest solace for parents is their children's high moral standard. If children become comfort of their parents eyes, then nothing can substitute. So instead of focussing on the child's career, parents should try to inculcate noble values that inspire them to apply themselves to realise the dream of their parents, and live life that satisfies them. When career of children occupy the central attention of parents it is bound to put them in a state of despair, reasons of which have been dealt here effectively.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England

Great hub! So true, too. I wanted to take AP Science in High School, and requested that I be put in the class. My teachers did not overtly encourage me and then I found out way later that my mother told them to guide me to business courses instead of AP Science....because she thought it more practical. Ugh!

So, now, ff a few years and I am home-schooling my daughter to have her own mind and think independently...and to find her own passions. Sometimes I try to guide her in a certain direction, but the leaders of the home-schooling co-op we belong to kindly and gently remind me that the policy of the co-op is to put children in only the study groups they are passionate about. This is great wisdom and so my daughter is taking Optics instead of Hispanic culture because she is passionate about Optics and can learn about Hispanic culture in other ways than a study group. :0)

Sometimes I find it hard to de-possess myself of the perfectionistic demons handed down to me by my parents...but I am slowly succeeding in that endeavor. I do my best to support my daughter's passions and if I have a moment when I find myself being cranky at her childhood imperfections, I try to take a deep breath and acknowledge out loud the good intention she is working hard to put forth (e.g. putting together her own breakfast, despite the fact that she forgot to pack a spoon).

Hopefully, with lots of mindful intention, I can keep moving toward my goal of encouraging my daughter to follow her passions. I think my husband and I do focus on values and that works well. She's a very good and reasonable child...and kind. We also give her a sense that she can already earn her way toward her dreams through entrepreneurship. She has sold home-made items to raise money to buy a hamster...and continues to make them for cash to keep up the hamster's food and bedding supply. :0) Hope it helps keep her hopeful that her efforts toward her goals will keep her on her unique path of success. ~:0)


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

@Seafarer Mama, great, insightful answer. So many people tolerate, even HATE their jobs/careers because their parents derided their dreams and discouraged their talents if such were deemed impractical and/or unrealistic. This is sad, innate talents/passions were given to us for a REASON........to go in FRUITION, not lay dormant. So many people live lives of utter purgatory and of regret.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

all these sayings, my mom had told me when I was young and I wouldn't rebuke either. Now, I know why she said that.


Joel Diffendarfer profile image

Joel Diffendarfer 24 months ago from Ft Collins, Colorado

Argh! Nail on the head! Wow, you put words to many of my frustrations regarding how my well intended parents raised me...I, on the other hand probably went too far the other way in raising my own 9 children. Great article, well worth a re read. Thanks!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 24 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Quite welcome indeed!


Bethieannie profile image

Bethieannie 23 months ago from Dayton, Ohio

Well said. So many parents give under the excuse that kids should have it easy to preserve there innocence. Giving it to kids easy doesn't help them learn top work hard, it teaches them entitlement. As adults, it is an ugly characteristic.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 23 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Reading this makes me grateful that my parents did not dictate my career direction or school choices. They did enforce a certain grade level for achievement with rewards and repercussion for non performance. We were proud of our honor roll achievements and wanted to please our parents in this fashion. At times it seemed like they wanted to subjugate our wishes, but looking back, I can see that it was in our best interests.

Forcing children down a certain path to live through them vicariously is certainly one way of pushing your offspring away. When I watch shows on reality TV about parents who open a restaurant with their life savings and give it to their children for their futures, there seems to be a pattern that emerges. The kids take the money and waste it, not interested in their parents' dreams of what makes for success. Teaching them responsibility from a young age will have a more positive outcome. Teaching them that there are consequences for their actions will have more of an impact on their futures giving them a basis for making decisions that will serve their futures well.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 23 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Again, eloquently and well said. Thank you for your commentary; it is greatly appreciated in kind.


Romanian profile image

Romanian 23 months ago from Oradea, Romania

You are right, all these attitudes should be awoided.


Engelta profile image

Engelta 18 months ago from Albania

Great Hub! I have had some of these thoughts going on for some time now, but I never came around them and listed them one by one. Thanks!

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