Monday, December 15, 2008

It's not my fault!

It was never my fault. Or my responsibility!


Well, that's a load off my mind. It's just these darned genes. Dang!

See this article in Newsweek.

If there is one thing experts on child development agree on, it is that kids learn best when they are allowed to make mistakes and feel the consequences. So Mom and Dad hold back as their toddler tries again and again to cram a round peg into a square hole. They feel her pain as playmates shun her for being pushy, hoping she'll learn to back off. They let their teen stay up too late before a test, hoping a dismal grade will teach her to get a good night's sleep but believing that ordering her to get to bed right now will not: kids who experience setbacks rather than having them short-circuited by a controlling parent learn not to repeat the dumb behavior.

But not, it seems, all kids. In about 30 percent, the coils of their DNA carry a glitch, one that leaves their brains with few dopamine receptors, molecules that act as docking ports for one of the neurochemicals that carry our thoughts and emotions. A paucity of dopamine receptors is linked to an inability to avoid self-destructive behavior such as illicit drug use. But the effects spill beyond such extremes. Children with the genetic variant are unable to learn from mistakes. No matter how many tests they blow by partying the night before, the lesson just doesn't sink in.
Now 30% of us can abdicate responsibility for our parenting, right? Awesome!

Yeah, riiiight.

The debate still rages on about nature vs. nurture and how much of who you are develops from what you are taught. From my point of view, regardless what what drug therapies they come up with for that 30%, it's still up to the parents to try to help their children. Pay attention. Be available. Provide discipline and boundaries. We've got to try.

Even if our children's genes are stacked against us.

Parenting is hard work. Never let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Eric and I were talking about the fact that no one tells you what it's really like to be a parent until it's way too late. Mostly that has to do with the fact that everyone's situation is going to be different. The phrase "It's different when it's your kid." is based in reality. It really is different when it's your kid. However, our other thought is that no one would want to have children at all if they knew, in detail, what a serious pain it is.

It's infrequently horribly awful and frequently wonderful and often mildly bad (e.g diapers for years!). It comes and goes, just like any other life experience. Just be prepared to jump on a rollercoaster that never ends. The ride just changes over time until get to be a grandparent.

Then a whole new ride begins.

I'm looking forward to that.

1 comment:

Ali said...

As usual, you took them words right outta my mouf. It's the toughest job you'll (usually) love. And the rest of the time, there's booze.

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