And yet, underlying all this parental angst is the hopeful belief that if we just make the right choices, that if we just do things a certain way, our kids will turn out to be not just happy adults, but adults that make us happy. This is a misguided notion, because while nurture certainly matters, it doesn’t completely trump nature, and different kinds of nurture work for different kinds of kids (which explains why siblings can have very different experiences of their childhoods under the same roof). We can expose our kids to art, but we can’t teach them creativity. We can try to protect them from nasty classmates and bad grades and all kinds of rejection and their own limitations, but eventually they will bump up against these things anyway. In fact, by trying so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up. Maybe we parents are the ones who have some growing up to do—and some letting go.
This article is by any aspect one of the most precise pieces on happiness, childhood, up-bringing, parenting, self-esteem and our constantly whining generation of narcissists that I’ve ever read. In exact detail and study, all of these things mentioned in the paper are what make me believe that I truly didn’t have the “best” childhood ever, but that I did experience all the emotions, feelings and struggles required to be a happy and content person as an adult.