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Aspen Ideas Festival Looks at Parenting

What Is the Goal of Parenting?

The Aspen Ideas Festival is known for bringing together heavy hitters in fields ranging from politics to the environment to economics, with the goal of inspiring intelligent conversation. The panel discussion that intrigued us most, however, fell under the category of education and asked the lofty question, "What is the goal of parenting?"

Erika Christakis, a Harvard University administrator, was one of the panelists, and she summarized the conversation on Among the topics that arose were:

  • The merits of praising children for their efforts, as opposed to their intelligence
  • The dichotomy between traits that have been proven to predict success (namely optimism, flexibility, curiosity, and the ability to assume the perspective of others), and what's evaluated and prioritized in our schools
  • How to better support the developmental needs of young kids through play, free time, and independence
  • The importance of relationships for children's social and cognitive growth

Like any parenting conversation, we could go on and on and on . . . but instead, we want to know your take on the big question:


What do you view as the goal of parenting? Share your comments below!

Source: Zoom Photography

2915207 2915207 5 years
There can't be a single goal since a human being is made up of so many parts. Also, there are goals and there are responsibilities. I felt it my responsibility to achieve the goals below. In parenting/raising my children I was to guide/teach them in how to take care of themselves in all situations, take responsibility for their own decisions and actions, respect others no matter how different they might be from what mine were familiar with and to contribute to society. Their father died suddenly at a point in their lives when young people need a father and I have been a single parent for half their lives now. I see 3 (pretty much) well-rounded individuals. I never felt that 'empty nest;' syndrome because I tried to keep them excited about life and encouraged them to go out and experience it. I was eager to see how well they had learned. I only asked them to share their lives with me. It's was rocky at times but all are excellent people. I love them dearly.
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