Started reading the Gopnik book. Thesis is that ends-based parenting is problematic. We shouldn’t be raising our kids with the intention they turn out a certain way. I like this general point, appeals to me philosophically.
Related: I find myself drawn to the child-as-person category of parenting advice but I’m pretty uncomfortable with how often it veers into “and then if you encourage emotional connectedness your child will grow up to save the world!” Calm down, being nice is an end in itself. Moral perfectionism is just as unrealistic as any other perfectionism.
(My vision of some parents in 30 years “Sirius is such a disappointment, I don’t know where we went wrong, he’s *sniff* he’s an optometrist in Christchurch and he doesn’t even attend political protests on the weekend! I always imagined him doing something spectacular you know? But he says he’s fairly content. Fairly content?! It breaks my heart. I can’t even talk to him anymore, not after our recent argument when he said he’s not planning on unschooling his kids. I offered to unschool them myself but he said that the local primary school was fine. Fine?! It’ll break their unique spirits! Maybe I was wrong to gently transition him out of the family bed so soon, eight might have been too young.”)
[Ed – I think the parenting perfectionism is more a US think anyway. Writers I follow from here and Aus and the UK tend to take a low key approach “if I do my job as a parent more or less ok, my kid will be a decentish person”. When we’re really enthusiastic we might add “who tries to make the world a better place in their own small way”.]