Pondering the question with 'Tiger Mom' Amy Chua, Bill Cosby, an expert on navigating work and family, and Rod Dreher.
Ellen Galinsky, an expert on the nexus of work and family, spoke Monday about the results of a survey that posed this question to the children of working parents: "If you had one wish to change the way your parents' work affects your life what would it be?" Most parents, asked to speculate on the answers that children gave, guessed that they'd want mom and dad to spend more time with them. But that wasn't the most common answer. Only two percent of parents correctly guessed it. What the kids wanted most is for their parents to be "less tired and stressed."
That story was offered at the Aspen Ideas Festival in a provocative panel titled, "What is the Goal of Parenting?" Moderated by Lori Gottlieb, it featured Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, early childhood educator Erika Christakis, and family therapist Lawrence J. Cohen.
Everyone on the panel seemed to agree about the following: that we're culturally prone to beat up on parents; a lot of parents feel that "average" is a dirty word, and that "being successful" is important; and that in wealthy countries like the United States, where keeping kids alive is less of a challenge, there is far more time and opportunity to grow anxious over meeting less urgent needs.