You’ve seen it countless times. A family with multiple children often (though not always) has a wild child, or black sheep. This can occur even if children are brought up in similar manners, without trauma happening to one child and not the others. So can you guarantee a child’s success?
Meet the Johnsons
The Johnsons were a middle class family in the 1980-1990s. Together they raised three kids, Tom, Sara and Bob. Tom grew up to be a military man. He loved precision and the thrill that came with being deployed for a big mission. Sara graduated high school, got married and became a nurse, just like her mother. Bob was the youngest, and was an amazing musician. He developed a drug addiction, and despite his entire family doing everything in their power…Bob passed away at a very early age due to an overdose.
Why does this happen? In this writers humble opinion…personal choice. I can’t say why Bob would choose to do drugs and his siblings wouldn’t. It has nothing to do with his being the youngest or being a musician. He simply made choices and tragically those choices led to addiction.
ChilD “M” and Child “P”
As a mother of two young children myself, this makes me wonder about their futures. To protect their identities we’ll call them Child “M” and Child “P”.
Child “P” is easy-going, creative and a bit introverted. It gets along well with others and tries very hard to please authority figures.
Child “M” is incredibly intelligent, is easily frustrated and very social. “M” gets along well with friends and is incredibly compassionate, but tends to give up when things become difficult.
Mississippi Man and I have been finding work for our kids to do, in order to instill a strong work ethic into our children. Child “P” is willing to work incredibly hard for quite a while with minimal encouragement. Child “M” however, will stand around, complain, or find reasons why it cannot do the task. All kids are different, and I was certainly much different from my sister…but as a parent it is stressful.
Helping a child’s success
As their parents, we worry that Child “M” will not be a productive member of society as an adult. Will drugs will seem attractive because of social influences? Is there a crucial element we are missing as parents and need to do right away?
We do our best as parents to set our kids up for success. We act as role models, and give the kids opportunities as often as possible. There are countless books in our home of various genres in order to instill a love of reading. We have spent a lot of money to provide a nice home with a big backyard in a safe neighborhood.
Is there anything we can do to guarantee our child’s success? We aren’t giving up…that’s not an option in this family. In reality however, will anything we do actually make a difference in the long-term? The Johnson family did the same things we are doing, and they still lost a child to addiction. How are we any different? The truth is, we aren’t.