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Most parenting advice is worthless. Best parent advice by Vox: If you face a choice between moment and chore, always pick the moment.

Most parenting advice is worthless So here s some parenting advice Vox

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Shared with Andy Smith, who mentions Baby Einstein DVDs:

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The alternative to viewing childhood as preparation is viewing it as life, to be savored and enjoyed.

Life is just a series of moments, and it's amazing how many of them we miss, rush past, or disrupt because our minds are elsewhere, anticipating the future or dwelling on the past. But a moment of joy or connection is its own justification, not a means to an end. Play can just be fun. Fart jokes can just be funny. Daydreaming and wasted time don't have to be framed as developmental tools; they're just nice.

The top piece of advice I'd give fledgling parents (which I wish I could follow better myself) is just this: Be aware of those moments, and never turn one down. If you face a choice — a moment or a chore, a moment or bedtime, a moment or work obligations, a moment or your damn iPhone — always choose the moment. They seem abundant, sometimes too abundant, in those early years. But childhood isn't linear; it seems to accelerate faster and faster as it progresses, and when it's over that set of memories will be all too finite.

bingo. strive for a good life.

So easy to say. So difficult to do!

Whether your child succeeds as an adult has to do with her genes, her friends, and a whole boatload of luck and circumstance.

Actually, here's the money quote:

Remember the research, though. Most of your parenting choices pale in significance to who you are, how much money you make, and where you live. Within those parameters, your choices are unlikely to substantially affect your kid's Adult Success at all. Whether she succeeds as an adult has to do with her genes, her friends, and a whole boatload of luck and circumstance.

You're not on the hook for her Adult Success. You can relax.

The article is by David Roberts, and it is well written.

Like any parent, I would love to believe that my awesome kids are a result of my awesome parenting. Sadly, expert opinion indicates it ain't so. Genes have an enormous influence. Peers and culture have an enormous influence. But parenting styles inside the home, apart from extreme cases like abuse or neglect, have very little long-term influence on a person's personality or success in life, at least that social scientists have been able to detect. (Vox's own Matt Yglesias wrote about some of this research recently.)

This isn't to say parents and parenting aren't important. Parents supply the genes, except in cases of adoption (or remarriage). They control, at least to some extent, the peers and environments to which children are exposed. And of course they crucially affect a child's quality of life at home, which, as I will argue shortly, is not some minor detail.

But it's safe to say that your kids' long-term fate will not be meaningfully affected by the speed and timing of potty training, the brand of educational videos you purchase, or the precise tone of voice in which you discipline. A large proportion of the Parenting Industrial Complex isn't about kids — it's about generating content for nervous parents who feel like they should be doing something.

Another way of putting this same point is that an enormous amount of a child's fate is determined by luck, by accidents of birth, socioeconomics, and geography. My kids are about the luckiest little bastards on the planet. They were born to stable, reasonably well-adjusted parents who have good jobs, a home in a safe neighborhood, and a large reservoir of social capital upon which to draw. (Their parents were lucky, too, in other words.) They were born healthy and haven't been injured or suffered serious illness. They have parents who haven't divorced, or been laid off, or faced a serious health crisis. They attend good schools alongside the children of other educated, engaged parents. They are white males, with all the advantages, seen and unseen, that come along with that.

This is an amazing insight. Many believe that it is their parenting alone that helps them bring up children well


Most evidence points to the fact that parenting is just one of many components that affect a child's upbringing.

so this debunks the 50/50 nurture/nature thing?

Correctamudo, Emily! 

It's mostly genes, access to resources, peers, and culture, NOT time spent with kids.

Here's more to read about it:

wow.  that is such a relief!

i should carry this article around in my pocket as proof of reason to play.

one time, i had a police officer tell me he'd received two calls to come check on me and my kids for jumping in puddles!

For jumping in puddles?! But that's awesome!

Yes, this is proof of more reason to play!

the boys thought it was awesome, too!  but the passersby thought i was nuts.  (the police officer loved us though!)

If the boys and the police were cool with it, then the passersby should just keep on walking!

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