As a parent, we want our kids to have success.  But as we are humble human beings – we just have our own perspective to view the world with.  We take ourselves with us all the time, no matter how objective we might try to be.  Our kids’ success may or may not come in the same manner that it did in your own childhood.

Sometimes, that is the best possible thing.  Other times, it leaves a longing in our heart.  Where do you draw the line between your experience and their experience?

As parents, we get to see both sides of this situation. We were all kids once.  Our parents (or parent figures) had some sort of expectations about our successes and failures while we grew up.  They had hopes and dreams for us, and we may have suprised them with our talents or disinterest in certain things.  Maybe you didn’t go into the family business.  Maybe you followed the musical legacy.  Or perhaps you did some successful things that seemed to “count” for everyone but your family.

How Did Your Family Perceive And Support Your Successes?

Take yourself back to being a kid; remember this time of your life for a moment.  What was that like?  Were your parents open to supporting whatever you were passionate about?  Or did your parents push you through what they thought was important?

Some families are a lot more flexible about this than others.  This inflexibility can cause ripples for generations.  It can have a strong effect on a child’s self worth.  They may try to overcompensate to get their parents’ approval, or surrender their goals to reduce the stress and conflict.

Take A Look At Yourself As A Parent Promoting Success

I asked you to think about your childhood experience so you could connect it with what you are doing now as a parent.  Are you supportive of your child’s interests and talents, even when they differ from yours or your expectations?  Do you find yourself discouraging them from things that don’t appeal to you?

Like I said before, we all do this through our own personal perspective.  No matter how great or bad our experiences were as children, we each have some kind of bias.  That’s normal, and it’s our privilege to expose our kids to things we think are important.

When you put your relationship with your children above any strict interpretations of success or approval, you’ll help them blossom.  A child who can be their best self is truly a success story.

Creative Commons License photo credit: RHiNO NEAL



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    Last reviewed: 15 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). What Does Your Child’s Success Mean To You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2015, from



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