Parents, Get Your Priorities in Check

Samantha Zulch

With our economic crisis and college admissions becoming increasingly tight, parents are putting a great deal of excess pressure on their kids to do well in school and get into that top college, particularly in our hypercompetitive community. Motivating kids to do well in school is not a bad thing, but there are other crucial parenting responsibilities such as preparing their children for life after high school, keeping their children safe, and raising their children as good people, that should not be compromised for academic excellence.

Parents’ priorities are becoming skewed through an obsession with academia. Some parents even allow their children to do whatever they want outside of school as long as they maintain good grades.

Our parents should not pat themselves on the back for raising children who do well in school and then practice negligence by allowing them to throw their moral compasses out the window.

Parents need to be concerned less with how their children handle each minute detail of school and more with whether their kids are spending weekends going crazy with drugs, alcohol, or other morally deprecating and potentially dangerous activities.

This growing trend among parents to micromanage their children’s academic lives has reached the point where they no longer help, but rather hurt them.  If parents monitor every class, test, and assignment, when is the child going to learn to be independent and intrinsically motivated to do their work and succeed?

And by succeed I mean succeed in the real world, which contrary to popular belief is not synonymous with Miramonte High School.
Parents are being encouraged by the ideals of our community and even by parenting books, to value academic success above anything else.

Success in school has somehow been translated into overall success in life, when in reality there are so many other factors in play that cannot be ignored.

Shouldn’t a parent be more concerned with whether their child is a moral person than if they are able to get A’s in high school? Kids are being taught that as long as they keep their schoolwork up to par, they have won the game of life, when in fact it has been shown that there is a very low correlation between college grades and later job success.

I am not suggesting that parents completely remove themselves from their kids’ academic lives and I’m also not suggesting that parents apply the same level of micromanagement they enforce over their kids’ school work, to their kids’ social lives. While I’m not expert in parenting, I think it is pretty clear that there needs to be a balance between these two facets of life.

Teenagers especially need parents who teach and show that morality, independence, responsibility, and compassion are the tools with which to live a successful life. And hopefully with these tools, children will be able to succeed academically as well.