I don’t think there are any parents out there who deliberately set out to damage their own children, but because we have been damaged ourselves by our own childhoods and because society influences us to raise externally successful children, we unwittingly set those destructive wheels in motion.
Life is tough enough in the real world for adults without carrying emotional scars.
I am so blessed that my mother is a daughter of a humble fisherman, and she had no ambitions beyond raising happy, kind children. I am sure it frustrated my high-achiever father a lot. But when I failed my entrance exams to get into highly ranked private high schools, all my mother would say with her usual big smile was “Oh never mind, dearie.” Those years at home with my mother were always sweet; everyday was beautiful.
In time, I got into Oxford on full scholarship.
Ditto my mother-in-law. She was a cleaner, her mother was an immigrant who spoke little English. My mother-in-law didn’t have much ambition for my children’s father other than be a decent family man and raise a good family.
Did we lose out focusing on the journey rather than the destination and outward signs of success? No. Not in the slightest. We have built a lovely big family, which is our legacy of love.