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Would-be parent plans a 'tough love' approach


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?


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.

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