Would-Be Parent Expects Offspring To Aim High

DEAR ABBY: I’m a medical student. I don’t have kids or a family of my own yet, but I’d like it to happen one day. When I have kids of my own, I intend to push them to be the very best in whatever they want to do. I will ingrain in them “tough love” and demand excellence from them.

My classmates, friends and I grew up similarly. We did well enough in high school to get into a good college and have successful lives after that. My friends and I did all the same things in college we did in high school. We joined clubs, volunteered, took leadership roles, earned good grades and got good recommendation letters in order to outcompete our peers and get where we wanted to go.

When I have kids, I want them to emulate what I did, achieve the same way academically and succeed. Am I wrong? I know it will be challenging to raise kids to outcompete their peers for things they want to do or are passionate about. I know I won’t have complete control over them because they are human beings and not robots. Maybe I won’t have kids at all. I’m not sure yet. Any thoughts? — EYE ON FUTURE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR EYE: There may be some variables you aren’t taking into consideration. If and when you finally meet someone and embark upon starting a family, you will find it to be a joint effort. You cannot dictate someone else’s parenting style.

Also, children do not all learn in the same way. Some thrive by being pushed by a demanding parent. Others rebel or wilt. It’s fine to use your own upbringing as a model, but allow some flexibility because, as you stated, children are not robots. Remember that.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years and I just bought our first house. It is truly magical — everything we’ve ever wanted. We plan to live together for another two years before getting engaged or married.

My parents and his parents have met only once. We’ll be having our housewarming party soon and I am SO nervous! His family has a drama problem and so does mine. His sisters and father don’t get along with his mother due to problems that happened years ago. There are a few sticky situations on my side as well.

I want my boyfriend to be able to invite his mother, but if we do, half of his family won’t show up. And I’m super nervous about the rest of his family meeting mine. Our family members hold grudges. What should we do? — NERVOUS IN INDIANA

DEAR NERVOUS: You are not responsible for the behavior of your extended family members. Accept that you can’t please everyone in a family that clings to grudges. Invite whom you wish to your housewarming. If some folks choose to leave or skip the event, that’s their choice and their loss. In your home, you should entertain whomever you want.

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