5. Parenting is a highly context-sensitive problem. Everyone wants to think that they are good parents and that their particular parenting techniques are the most effective. However, you must realize that kids are not just raised by their parents; they are also raised in large part by their environment. Environment includes their neighborhood, school, peers, and media such as television, music, and the Internet. And don't forget that children differ in those things you might call genes. Thus, a parenting strategy that raises Ivy League angels in one family might lead to depressed psychotic sociopaths in another. It's good to listen to the advice of other people who are parents (see Tip #10: More knowledge is always better), but realize that you do not have full control of your children's upbringing. They are at the mercy of their environment - their social context - most of the time. I believe that the most effective parenting strategy is to first realize that parenting is a highly context-sensitive problem and that the context (environment) must be taken into serious consideration during the parenting process. You can't raise your kids in an isolated cave (unless you're a caveman).
Kennedy tells us that when he was still a child his father once let him know that he had a choice between living "a serious life" and a "non-serious life."
"I'll still love you whichever choice you make,” his father, the bootlegger, wrote. "But if you decide to have a non-serious life, I won’t have much time for you."
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