Dad urges parents to stop worrying about giving their kids a 'good future'

"Isn't there something instead where the success could happen right now instead of 30 years down the road, if at all?"

parenting, abraham piper

The future is uncertain. What can we give kids now?

A major part of parenting is setting kids up for as best an adult life as possible. It’s also a major source of every parent’s stress, as this is essentially a question without absolute answers.

Sure, there are many helpful strategies that can be implemented—setting up a college fund, enrolling into a great school, finding enriching activities—but even these cannot guarantee anything when the future is unwritten and the world continues changing at a rapid pace. Any jobless millennial still struggling to pay student loans for a prestigious university degree can tell you about that.

With all these unknown variables that could wreak havoc on even the best laid plan, what is a parent to do? Popular content creator and fellow dad Abraham Piper argues that maybe parents shouldn’t even make it a goal to provide a good future in the first place.

After all, it’s “impossible anyway,” he says in the now-viral clip.

“The future is uncertain. So, is it the best use of our parental energy, our love, to continue trying to achieve the impossible? Isn't there something instead where the success could happen right now instead of 30 years down the road, if at all?” Piper continued.

With this compelling logic, the goal should instead be on giving kids a “good past”, according to Piper. In other words, just focusing on providing a happy childhood every day. “Trips to the park, hugs before bed, letting them choose the music in the car,” etc. This kind of goal is not only achievable, it’s incredibly impactful.

Referencing Allison Gopnik’s book “The Philosophical Baby,” Piper added that one of the few aspects of a child’s adult life parents actually do get to determine is the quality of childhood that they bring into it. And considering that a huge part of one’s identity is based on core memories, a truly happy childhood is an “ ineradicable gift.”

Judging from the comments of other parents, Piper's advice struck a chord.

“As a parent who is working so hard to break the generational trauma cycle; my heart needed to hear this today," one person wrote.

"I feel that their future is not for me to control or project, it's their foundation that's my responsibility. For them to be secure and confident," added another.

@moreabrahampiper Don’t worry about giving your kids a good future. ❤️ #parenting #lifeadvice #alisongopnik #dadsoftiktok #parentingadvice #liveinthemoment ♬ original sound - Abraham Piper

The lingering effects that childhood trauma can have in adulthood are well documented— heightened anxiety, addiction, depression, difficulty in relationships, insomnia…the list goes on. And we have learned over time that trauma exists in a spectrum. It can manifest in many ways, not just physical abuse. Neglect, verbal bullying and parental separation play their parts as well.

On the bright side, research indicates that happy core memories have the same lasting effect. Studies show that even with the presence of early adversity, creating positive childhood experiences can still provide a foundation for creating better family health in adulthood.

While parents of course want to do whatever they can to help kids become successful, happy and healthy for the rest of their lives, perhaps constantly moving the goal posts isn’t in anyone’s best interests. At the end of the day, it might prove more fruitful (and more fulfilling) to focus one what is within one’s power now, rather than later.

As Piper noted: “The present, we can almost control. Or at least feel like it. And that feeling is all we’re dealing with here because we get to see our effort work right now and not just hope that they will."

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