Man, I just had a pretty serious crisis of parenting. My kid wanted to play football on the porch, which we sometimes do, but my other kid’s asleep in the room adjacent to the porch, and getting her down was a real bitch today. Combine that with the fact that I hadn’t gotten to writing this shit yet, and well, what choice did I have? I took his football and told him to watch a little TV. I feel like a crappy dad, but hey…something’s gotta give, right? And if it’s my child’s development at the expense of me mindlessly prattling on about nothing to a bunch of anonymous strangers via the internet, hey, so be it.
Look, I see those kids who have the parents that pay a lot of attention to them. I see them at the park. The kids seem like pussies and the parents are no fun to be around. AND there’s lots and lots of proof out there that how you parent has very little to do with how your kid turns out. No, really.
Okay, here’s what I mean: you know your one friend who had every advantage but still had to work (as so not to become some spoiled pussy) and had two married and doting parents who loved and supported him and he still turned out a complete dipshit loser? Sure you do. We all know a couple of that person. Crappy or no job and perhaps a lingering drug problem or just a general sense that they’re better than you with no real empirical data to back up that claim. Now, likewise, how about the people you know who, after being friends for a while let loose with tales of their childhood that are so crazy that you’re like “wow, you know Kevin from the office? Well, we went out for a few beers last night and he told me some shit, man. Turns out his dad was a crackhead and his mom died of AIDS and he used to have to go with her to the army base where he’d hold her purse and she’d suck dicks for twenties. Right? Shit’s wild. He’s such a nice normal guy. That’s crazy!”
And there you have it. Parenting is irrelevant. As a parent this notion is at once terrifying and something you have to completely ignore, like the fact that you will someday die, and despite your beliefs, deep down, you know what happens and the answer is nothing. It’s like that. That’s why we have all sorts of bullshit that we do with our kids even though it’s not necessary, especially the shit they hate. There’s no reason to take a two year old to an activity they don’t like if the only reason you’re doing it is to ‘culture them’ or something. I’m not saying that I follow this doctrine, I’m just saying that almost anything you try to do with your kids will backfire anyway.
Look around, your dad’s a football coach, you’re a gay typist who dreams of working in the musical theater industry. Your mom’s a plus size model, you’re a dog walker. You’re into pornography and Bruce Willis films exclusively although your parents both have Pulitzers. And conversely, your dad was a raging drunk as a youth, then straightened up and gave you the best possible most nurturing upbringing, so why are you a raging drunk too? The answer is simple: We’re stuck in our genes and there’s absolutely nothing that any form of parenting or anything like that can do about it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You can ALWAYS fuck a kid up. You can lock ‘em in the basement and make em suck dicks or beat them severely or constantly tell them they’re worthless or whatever you wanna do if you’re a horrible and depraved asshole. BUT, you’re only making them worse on the sliding scale of who they’d already be. There are people out there that survive physical and sexual abuse that grow up good and presumably those people would be good anyway. Likewise there are people who get their asses whupped one day by dudes on the street and become neo Nazis. It’s a safe bet that those people would have eventually found an event that would set them down a strange path even if they hadn’t gotten their asses kicked that particular time.
You dig? Character is ingrained (look at an adopted child or two separated brothers reunited after 20 years if you don’t believe me) and how you respond to whatever happens to you (and EVERYONE has hardships, regardless) is a result of your character, not your parents, not your circumstance. It’s all character.
Now, don’t mistake this as some sort of social Darwinism or some sweeping attempt to justify why certain groups of people have wealth and comfort while others don’t. I’m talking about individuals doing what they can with what they have. Could that kid from the ghetto have been president if he’d grown up in a different place? Maybe. But within the realm of his life experience he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. That’s kind of what I’m saying. It doesn’t really matter if his dad plays football with him or not.
Okay, with that, I’m off to play football with my kid.
edit: And yes, I'm aware of the correlation between, for example, porn actresses and a distant or absent father, but I'd posit that the type of woman who would marry or have a kid with an absent or distant father and her genetic legacy (and the legacy of said father) plays a much larger role than the absenteeism, as many, many women who have absent or distant fathers never suck a roomful of dicks on camera. Just sayin.