My mom and dad were pretty terrible parents. My brothers and I each went through our own hell, and everyone in the family has been in therapy—together and separately—to deal with the result of their parenting.
But still, my parents have conversations that go like this:
Someone will ask them, “What do your kids do?”
And they’ll say, “I have four kids: An economist, a chemist, a banker and a journalist.”
That’s how my parents answer. And it sounds like they did a great job parenting, right?
This is how I’m certain that you cannot judge peoples’ parenting by how their kids turn out. You can judge peoples’ genes by how their kids turned out. It’s nature. My brothers and I are all very smart. And so are my parents. Like I had to tell you that.
But high IQ doesn’t mean good parenting. My parents also had great jobs when they were raising us. And we lived in a neighborhood where the schools are so good that people don’t even write “good school” in the multi-million-dollar house listings: everyone knows.
So how can you judge good parenting? Psychology Today says good parents are those who know themselves. And I think if you know yourself then you will judge your parenting not on the achievements of your kids, but on whether your kids have good memories of their childhood.
I have written a bazillion times that nature wins over nurture. Big time. You can only argue with me in the comments if you educate yourself first by reading the book I have cited fifty times by Bryan Caplan that is a fantastic compendium of all the nature vs nurture research.
So the best argument for homeschooling is my parents. They prove that the only thing that matters for parenting is if you have fun with your kids. You have more fun with your kids if your kids are home with you when they have energy and are excited about their day, as opposed to after school, when they’re exhausted. You have more fun with your kids if they are doing what they love, and you are watching, instead of them doing homework, and you are correcting it.
My brothers and I don’t give our parents credit for our achievements. We do give our parents credit for our memories of childhood. Which, by the way, are scant—that’s what kids do when they are living in trauma, they just tune out.
I stress a lot about being a good parent. It’s hard for me to believe that any kid likes their parent. It’s hard for me to understand it. But I am trying to focus on each day. One good memory from each day. That will be the measure of my success.