Why I am not raising successful kids…

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successful kids

So often I hear parents talk about wanting their children to be successful. You’ve probably heard about all the hardcore “helicopter mom” stories that talk about how important their child’s “success” is to them. I am completely the opposite of that.

I’m always the first to say that success is not my goal. I’m not pouring my soul into making “successful” kids. I get “looks” and “stares”. I totally see where they are coming from too.


 I decided pretty quickly after my oldest was born that I don’t care about how successful she is.

In fact I don’t even know what success is, or means. Who cares what your child chooses to do for a living. So what if they make millions or enough to live comfortably. Really, this is all trivial.

We are given one life to live.

One life to make a difference and to follow our dreams. When you are young the sky is the limit. As you get older you lose some of the magical thinking. We as parents have the most important job on this planet. We are trusted to lead our children into the future. We are the ones that are the shapers of their future. It is our obligation to them to constantly remind them that they can and will do anything they want.

Enough of the constant pressure on our kids.

I want one thing for my kids. Happiness! Shouldn’t that be the ultimate goal when raising children? 

Yep, I want my kids all to be happy.  Everything else seems to fall into place when you are happy. I certainly don’t want their happiness to come at the expense of someone else’s unhappiness.

I’ve found that they fastest way to happiness comes when you dedicate your life to helping others.

So I’m teaching them that too. Now don’t get me wrong, my kids know that life isn’t always a happy place… but they also know that happiness is a choice. Regardless of what life throws at you… you can choose to feel happy. You can make the right choices in life that will make others and yourself happy. You can choose to be a good person. Doing good makes happiness happen.

They also know that in order to be happy they have to follow their passion.

If their passion is to be a teacher, then they must dedicate themselves to becoming a darn good teacher. To find true happiness you have to love what you do and do it well.

Does this mean they would be successful? Probably. To the world they are a success. They all get good grades and that makes me happy, but what I really want them to chase is their happiness, not just good grades and certainly not my vision of success or the worlds for that matter!

Stop for a second and decide to focus on happiness.

Let’s lead our children by example… let’s choose to spread happiness to those around us. This is not a call to buy them a toy, this is a call to play with them and spend time with them. I promise it will make you both happy.

Now I ask you… what kind of kids are you raising?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I don’t think you are alone on this one. It was one thing my husband and I had talked about when we had our son. We want him to be happy, no matter what he does in life!

  • Thanks so much for this. As a counselor for addicts and “normies”, the concept of success can be distructive.
    I always work from the concept of finding our true, authenticate selves and not live in fear and shame. That can keep us from finding our true selves 🙂

  • Thankfully my trio are all grown up. Are they happy? Are they successful? Let’s put it this way… we all made it past their ::shudder:: puberty so I consider that a success and we’re all very happy about that! BB2U

  • with 6 kids i know each one is different and each one will succeed in there own way i agree with you there is no need to push your kids , with a healthy happy home they will do there best.

  • I agree with you completely! I want my kids to be happy healthy adults. They will always have my full support in anything they find happiness in.

  • Thank you for writing this!! You are not alone.
    I try to encourage both my girls in doing great things when they are older.
    I’ve told my oldest I would like her to have a future.
    I made some not so great choices in life and I don’t want her to be like me.
    I should say I want both my girls to be dependent on themselves. Meaning I don’t want them to have to rely on someone or a “man” when they are older. If things were to happen, they could hold their own.
    I was never encouraged or pushed to do much, and I don’t want to play a blame game because after all, they were choices I made.
    I hope what I’m saying makes sense.
    I don’t want to be the parent to PUSH success and in my opinion, over the top expectations onto young minds.
    I just want them to be happy 🙂

  • I Definately Agree Happiness Is The Key Follow Your Heart Let Them Live & Learn Well Most Of The Time LOL Your Doing A Great Job, Thank You For Sharing!

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