Children Who Can’t Surpass The Accomplishments Of Their Parents

joan christina mommie dearestThis is another one of those taboo topics in regards to parenting, that I’m so fond of.  With Pluto in Capricorn, I get to talk about stuff like this and I won’t bother to hide my glee.

Most parents say they want their child to have a better life than they did and I think most of them mean it. How much they actually invest in this goal may vary but I think parents who want their kids to suffer beyond what they’ve endured are part of a small minority.

Some specify they want their kids to have a better opportunity then they did so they work hard and save so they can pay for their child’s college education which might have been something they either didn’t get or had to struggle to pay for. You get the idea.  And this all goes well except for when it doesn’t.

Situations exist where the kid just does not have the chops the parent does. They may not have the brains or the talent  or the courage or whatever qualities the parent may possess that allowed them to achieve to the extent that they did. It may be that the parent’s achievement is so towering, the child has little hope but to fall short and this is where it gets interesting.

Say you’re a celebrity and your kid is a loser.  You will invariably be blamed.  People will say and assume that your kid was neglected by you, that you sold your kid for your ambition and so forth. They will simultaneously deny the many advantages you provided your kid and in fact, blame you on that front too – you gave too much!

Some kids wind up hitchhiking off their parent’s success by writing a tell-all book like Mommie Dearest When you read something like that, do you ever question the motive of the child or their credibility? I do.

The fact is anomalies exist. If you happen to be one, chances are you children are not going to be able to replicate your success no matter what you do and this to me, seems a very hard and heart-breaking pill to swallow.

What do you know about this?

49 thoughts on “Children Who Can’t Surpass The Accomplishments Of Their Parents”

  1. Hi Elsa! Intriguing topic indeed! As a Cappy parent myself (and my kids are grown now), I always struggled throughout their lives to balance the disciplinary aspect with allowing them to explore, and fully be, themselves. Kids are different – and though not mentioned here, some of our kids can blow us away! Providing the best environment for learning that a parent is capable of providing is such a tricky thing, and even things that are out of control by a parent (i.e. health or financial hardship) can end up shaping for the better when all is said and done.

  2. Well, it depends on whether the parent is providing opportunity for the child to achieve ITS potential, or whether the parent is forcing the child to emulate them, or go up a road they think is best, despite the child’s wishes.

  3. My father worked very hard to get where he got and had a dream that one of his children would take over his medical practice when he retired. Unfortunately, he had a family full of artistic or sporty children, not one of whom had an aptitude for science. This didn’t stop him forcing us all towards this route, however. Result – unhappy, dysfunctional family. And no doctors.

  4. Yes, Opal has hit the nail on the head: my observation is that many of us ‘baby boomers’ had our parents’ ambitions thrust on us, and many rebelled and are now wandering lost in the desert.
    My life Taurus mother actually stated that she would not assist me to achieve an education that she had been denied. I hope, as Elsa says, that she is in a minority. But many who claim to want what’s best for their children, really mean what they – the parents – think is best.

  5. As Judge Judy once said in regard to parenting, “Sometimes you make a souffle and it falls.” Not every kid is going to be a genius.
    She knows of what she speaks, since she’s phenomenally successful and often tells anecdotes in regards to parenting and her children/grandchildren. Let alone a quarter-century observing these dynamics in family court.

  6. Sorry to interfere but I read Luna’s post as “I hope, as Elsa says, that she [she = Luna’s mother] is in a minority.” In response to “I think parents who want their kids to suffer beyond what they’ve endured are part of a small minority.”

    Anyway! I think it’s interesting that while Joan Crawford may or may not have been a horrible mom, her daughter most certainly damaged her mother’s reputation in a very public and lasting way.

    Good food for thought. I think I may be an anomaly, however, it does not seem at all heart-breaking (to me) if my son does not “succeed.” I don’t know what success would mean here – certainly I don’t want him broke, uneducated, and addicted to something. Maybe this is because I’m not some kind of a supernova– perhaps my perspective would be different if I were superfamous and successful rather than just “did good.”

  7. I also wonder about the effect a parent’s achievements might have on the child’s psyche. Specifically, all the people around them expecting them to be as brilliant or talented as the parent. Must be a hell of a pressure, and one under which many may buckle.

  8. Great topic Elsa!!

    It has to be really difficult for both parent and child. And even if the kid has great potential.,the bar can just seem unbeatable.
    I think it is important to feel that your existance is a contribution in some way.
    Sometimes being to close to the price(allthough it’s not yours) can hurt motivation.
    I also think that you are supposed to excel your parents….so even if you have a good outlook , educated in a highly respected field ect…you are going to be measured up towards you parents even if you as a person has achived a great deal individually.

    I see myself being sad over that I have not inherited my mom’s artistic talent..and beauty. It does not bother me much, but I guess sometimes it sucks. Especially when people ask if I draw too.

  9. i always wanted my kids to have enough, be happy, be good people. it’s not my choice now.

    i did expect them to go out and make their own success, find their own way, with some support and guidance from us occasionally. i always believed what you worked for meant a whole lot more than what was given you. but i was raised this way, you work hard for what you want. my father measured the success of each day by looking at what he’d accomplished that day.

  10. I don’t know if parents who want their children to suffer are a small minority, but my mother was, and still is a “verbal monster,” and filled with jealously, and envy toward anyone doing better than she. She did everything she could to make sure that my self-esteem/self-worth was destroyed.

    She literally told me that she wasn’t going to work and send me to college, and if she hadn’t had children, she would have had a better life. To this day, she ridicules me for pursuing a better life by humiliating me with wounding comments.

    She literally taught me that marriage was crap, that women, and men were untrustworthy, and not to have children, because your life will be ruined. Well, I have remained unmarried, childless, and distrustful of most, and alone, at the age of 53, still pursuing education, and a creative writing career.

    She is happy that I’m unemployed, broke, and struggling to survive, and states that, “you only want a legal secretary’s job. You could get a job as a janitor, post office or assembly worker, bus driver, or any job that pays. A job is a job!” She has no sense of what it’s like to accomplish anything other than struggle and survive.

    Thank you, mother, this is why I went to college, so I can work for low wages, in a blue collar job! HA-HA-HA!

    She wanted a life in the military, and projected it onto me, and the stint only intensified the emotional wreck.

    When I saw the movie, “Mommy Dearest,” I burst into tears, and could hardly maintain my composure. The book was even more intense. It clearly reminded me of my grandmother’s (mother’s mother) horrific rampages.

    I was born into a dominating, and controlling matriarchal mess, who were under achievers! Moon in Scorpio (5th) square Pluto in Leo (3rd), and both on a t-square with Mercury in Taurus (11th). Chiron in Aquarius (8th), and my mother is Aquarius.

    Although I feel that I have surpassed my mother, and the female karmic pattern in my immediate family on an educational, as well as spiritual level, it is still hard to deal with the pressure of remaining, “solvent, and sane.”

    I hope the lessons we learn in this life elevate our souls to attract a better brand of DNA in the next life!

    I apologize for the RANT, but this seemed like a perfect topic to “let her roll.”

    Thank you for your patience and understanding!

  11. I wrote a board post and deleted it because I often get sick of my own blah blah blah. But it is timely- I was basically part of a conversation among parents, and one parent really truly believes that FOR SURE his daughters are going to marry these wonderful top-notch people because they are such pretty, nice girls (18 and 20) and I was (in my head) like um..based on what??? The world is full of nice people, and there is always some girl who is prettier, smarter, more successful, more outgoing, more whatever– we are all okay and I don’t think you can say there is a merit system in relationships! Who knows how and why somebody gets tangled up with a not-so-great person. It happens.
    I just thought it was weird because I suspect the girls have gotten this message and while they have as much to offer as anyone else, I don’t know that they have MORE and I think it is a bad idea for a parent to tell them there is no competition in life or that something like that is a given.

  12. kids are different people than parents and will have different gifts.
    i will not have my house paid off at 38, most likely, but i have my own lessons to learn and my own set of internal compromises i was unwilling to make.
    i think it’s really diminishing to try to make kids be like their parents. too much. without recognizing who they are.
    (not saying this is what you’re saying, it’s just something that seems to happen a lot.)

    what about the flip side? if my son gets to be a professional artist like i wanted and my parents pushed me away from? he’s good. (professional artists have raved about his stuff.) i’ve been told i am too. but i haven’t had to guts to jump for it. and i hear a different calling now.
    that will sting. but it also means i will bleed to get him there if it’s what he really wants.

  13. (((CHARIOTEER))))
    My mother wasn’t as outwardly wounding as yours, and she came from a different place than yours, but a huge part of my self esteem issues come from her feeling very uncomfortable with any successes that I might have had. There is a phrase in Yiddish, to shep nachus. It basically means to wring an incredible amount of joy from another’s successes–usually your children’s and with more than a little reflected glory. Problem was, with the fact that I was adopted, she didn’t feel that reflection, or couldn’t own it. So, whenever I got praised for something, her face would tense up. The only thing worse than receiving a compliment, was accepting it. At 54, I am now trying hard to work through that.
    And then there was my father–brilliant scientist, Stanford professor. Nope, never gonna surpass him and his achievements. Was forced to go down his path, studied science, education was the only thing that would be acceptable for his children…. I finally got the courage to leave that world when, after all those years in school, my parents couldn’t be bothered to come to my college graduation. I finally figured out at that point, that making myself happy had to come before making them happy.

  14. Unfortunately, I can relate. I didn’t expect her to pay for advancing my education or anything bc one look around and I could tell she had nothing to give. What I didn’t expect was outright SABOTAGE of getting busted in the kneecaps while trying to get it myself.

  15. Charioteer, like ruth I totally identify with your experience. It’s very hard to go out into the world and succeed when you’ve had a childhood like that – being constantly slapped down. Funny too Opal – my mother came from a long line of doctors and I was the only one in my generation to have the brains to carry on the tradition – if I’d had a bent for that (which I didn’t – I fainted in biology when we had to slice a sheep’s eye!) – my childhood years might have been a bit less searing.

    ruth: “Problem was, with the fact that I was adopted, she didn’t feel that reflection, or couldn’t own it”
    Quite so, I had exactly the same thing! Most of my mother’s remarks to me after the age of 11 were prefaced with “You’re supposed to be so clever, well…” [you can imagine the accompanying comic villain sneer!]

    As for the plight of the children of the successful and famous, I think it’s a very real problem for them. Some of my friends’ kids are very friendly with the Lennon boys. One at least has had big problems. When you think of a lot of stars’ kids, it’s the same, from Callum Best and Peaches Geldof to Cheyenne Brando. I’ve even witnessed it at first hand – the daughter of a couple I knew (both dead now, but famous esp the father) who turned to heroin and later hung herself. Those kids’ childhood was chaotic.

    I think a lot of it is being brought up at one remove from their parents – by staff, most of whom are not around for long. The parents in a sense remain fantasy figures, part of a reality which is ever unattainable. To make it worse, successful people who are in the public eye because they are ‘stars’ do tend to be very self-absorbed, vain, and consequently jealous of competition

    The chirotic journal blog has a good post which is partly about unconscious refusal to compete intellectually with the parent (Feb 2010, the Astrology of Breaking Down, final section). The kids’ of the super-bright experience a different set of problems, but fewer I think than those of the kids of stars

  16. It’s interesting that I didn’t come from the super bright (at least it was undeveloped within the family), but I have been blessed with the gifts of Mercury in Taurus (11th) trine Jupiter in Virgo (3rd), so I am quite intelligent, and a lover of books, libraries, museums, music, art, etc.

    I plan to enter University to study Library Science to become guess what? A LIBRARIAN, and perhaps combining it with teaching secondary grade school. This is my goal for 2011.

    So, indeed the gods have blessed me with a multitude of gifts, and gratitude!


  17. That’s the real thing–its not the hand you’re dealt, its how you play it! Congrats on finding your way of turning it around!

  18. Charioteer – from what I have read in this brief exchange, I think you will be fabulous at both.

    I struggle with this with my daughters. I want them to have choices. To feel like they can pursue their dreams. But its not enough to want something – if you want to be a doctor, you have to be good at biology :-).

    I wanted to escape my miserable family life so I had this powerful incentive to excel in school so I could get the hell out! It worked. I’ve been very successful in my chosen field.

    But my kids are happy and healthy. They don’t feel a need to escape from home. So they cruise along in school, doing ok but under their potential (the topic of every parent-teacher conference….). And I worry that they won’t have the choices I had.

    How weird is that?

    1. it is tough, but in reverse, sometimes, the child grows up feeling inadequate. This perhaps happened to my first husband, he had a father that is a genius/in the MENSA group and worked for NASA, scientist, and he is, according to him and others, a millionaire but doesn’t flaunt it. You can only see that later when they’re getting older (his father is Scorpio) re married 3 x, but his 3rd wife, is the one that makes him the happiest. Because of his work, distance and being emotionally unavailable was something that is common, (being a scientist ect) but because his son looked up to him, he always felt short. He had so many dreams and I could tell he could do it, but he had the worst addiction, he couldn’t hack it and even went to rehab several times. Didn’t work. so maybe that too, in reverse that children have this “burden” and they feel overwhelmed that they couldn’t cut it. so they escape in alcoholism and drugs ect.

  19. @Charioteer

    I completely relate to your experience(from the generational domineering,controlling under-achieving messes)and I’m sorry you had to go through that too but it sounds like you’ve managed to turn lead into gold by focusing on your gifts. And it really does make one stronger!

    I work on the same issues. Through all the BS, name calling, random shoving, slapping, beating, yelling, raging, instability and verbal put-downs…I managed to get into one of the top private boarding schools in the country and notoriously liberal college (I dropped out). I wince when job interviewers ask me “what happened?”. I myself wonder what happened, maybe keeping up a facade of perfection (“Isn’t MY girl is so smart?”) while being crushed behind closed doors(“I don’t know how you got into that school because you’re not very smart”) takes a toll on the psyche…damn I just described my libra moon conjunct pluto, ha.

  20. My parents are very successful. They worked their bottoms off to get there. This just meant that my siblings and I raised ourselves. We were cooking family meals by 7 or 8 years old. We were ironing our own clothes and doing our own clothes washing. At any time, one parent or the other was away from home on a business trip (yes, business trip – not naughty trip – both parents are leos so neither would accept anything less than total commitment).

    Me – I could be successful like them. I could do anything I wanted to. I’m intelligent and well educated (including three university degrees and a fourth that I’m working on).

    But I have a different definition of success. Success to me is having time for family, friends and other loved ones. Success is being true to myself, that means being a successful artist with a balanced life rather than successful in business or a profession.

    Does that mean I don’t have the chops? Probably. My parents certainly think so.

  21. With all due respect Elsa, I believe Luna was referring to her mother when she made the statement about being in the minority. Feeling a little defensive today? 🙂

  22. Mandy, that was yesterday and I must have misread? Mars conjunct Mercury – natally and in the sky. I am swamped behind the scenes and perhaps I can be allowed an error?

  23. Thank you all for the wonderful comments, and excessionista, you are fabulous, and don’t forget it!

    This is why astrology is sooooooooo fascinating because it shows the strength, and determination of some, whereby the same experiences would crumble some people.

    With gratitude!

  24. E, You said:

    ‘but I think parents who want their kids to suffer beyond what they’ve endured are part of a small minority’

    When I said ‘she’, I meant my mother.

  25. Charioteer,
    I hear you. I’m 56 and just finding my own self, I believe;)
    I trust you and I and others whose mothers redirected the rage of their blocked feminine power onto their daughters can end the karmic cycle here and now.

  26. I’ve had more advantages, in ways, and have been well taken care of, but not pushed in the way that my mother was; I also don’t always have the personal drive of my Taurus Dad’s, that had him taking on a paper route when he was in his early teens, so that he had wearable shoes.

    I’ve pushed myself in ways, but I’m not a huge success the world, due to my anxiety issues that I didn’t face soon enough, or strongly enough – but I’ve had successes of my own, and had the ability to learn things that I might not ordinarily had the time to learn, had I been making it big in something that could ultimately have left me miserable. So, I could kick myself when I have deep bouts of depression, but I know where that comes from.

    My parents consider it a success that they produced two good-hearted daughters for the world, and I love them to pieces.

  27. I left this open earlier, and should add that my parents aren’t rich, but they work hard, and have built a life together. Their siblings mostly have more money and more stability. So, maybe my comment shouldn’t even be here.

  28. That’s ok Elsa,
    I know you’re cool.
    But thinking of your first reaction – and I know there’s all that marsmercurymuck going on – got me to wondering, not for the first time, how come sometimes you ‘let the turkeys get you down’. I think you are amazing so am always surprised when you seem upset by negative twits and their dumbass comments/reactions. Can you see that ‘blind spot’ in your own chart? I mean you are great – and you must know it – so how come you seem to forget that when
    the turkeys start gobbling?
    (I’ve said it before here: sometimes I haven’t a clue what you’re getting at, but it’s made me think harder and try harder to ‘get it’. Communication can be hard. I’m hoping Saturn in Libra will help me be a better listener.)

  29. my parents have lived a life without debt to anyone and now they own their house outright. they also take care of their minds and their bodies and are elderly and are entirely self-sufficient. (except maybe the odd yard chore they hire someone else to do).

    i can live up to part of it–i take care of my body and mind, and eliminating debt is a priority. i’m not sure about the homeowner stuff.

    i hope i can accomplish more financially, honestly. i don’t need to be rich but it’s going to take more than a couple hundred dollars in the bank and pennies in a jar for me.

  30. Luna, the thing is, I am not this blog. I am trying all the time but the things I am interested in applying effort to come from inside me.

    I suppose a person can look at me here, I am very exposed and say to themselves, why doesn’t she do this or that? The reason is because “this and that” that occurs to you or anyone else, is not on necessarily my screen.

    I am a wildly independent thinker. I was corrected over this error yesterday and I am sure people thought all kinds of things because I did not respond. But I had SEVEN clients yesterday and a crisis in my personal life by the time the evening rolled around so when I saw the correction – I just let it be.

    I figured it spoke for itself and it just seemed “nothing” in the scheme of my life and the lives of the people I work with that are in crisis or dealing with things like cancer and/or the deaths of people they love – gut wrenching loneliness – you name it. So I have my focus here and on trying to simultaneously be creative because this blog starts to flail when I don’t feed it.

    I hope this answers your question. I guess I’d also say, I am probably not anywhere near as “down” as you imagine. For whatever reason, people don’t interpret me well until we get one on one. If you work with me one on one, you find out immediately that I am never “down”.

    I can’t tell you how many times I get on the phone with someone and they speak to me all gingerly like I am upset. It happens virtually every day and I just take off the rocket I am. People are taken aback but just for a minute. There is a hologram on this blog, I don’t know what else to say. I relaxed and laughing my ass off on the phone when people think I am circling the drain. I guess maybe people don’t understand mars. I really don’t think they do. Mars is fast. I write something, rip the sheet from my typewriter and I’m done.

  31. Elsa – well said about you are not this blog. I like that.

    I write a blog too (nothing as intelligent as this and certainly nothing to do with astrology) and sometimes people get confused between the purpose of the blog and the life of the person who writes it.

    I love your blog and I love what you share here.

    Just writing to say that I get what you mean. I am ruled by Mercury so just have the need to communicate. It sounds kinda like Mars being fast is like how Mercury operates for me – type, submit, done. No questions, no regrets, no looking back and no real thinking about it after the fact. Release done, time to get back to real life.

  32. Charioteer, you’re wonderful. Your mom sounds like my dad. Nothing I’ve ever done has been good enough for him. He wasn’t against marriage, was actually for it. I marry a great (amazing, wonderful, stupendous) guy who loves me (and whom I love back) and now neither marriage, nor my partner, is good…

    I’m not sure either that parents who want for us to fail or suffer are in a minority. Looking around me, I seriously doubt that.

  33. If people thought about it they would probably have the same priorities for me that I do. That is, they would have me focus on writing compelling content and it they understood I have to do consults to support myself and this blog they all like to so much, they would probably ask me to do these two things, which I do roughly, 16 hours a day.

    Based on that, everyone should be mostly happy and perhaps let the rest go?

    It’s like a really busy waitress, serving breakfast. If you see her working 8-10 tables and she serves you every day, does it really matter if she overfills your coffee once? If it does, you’ve probably got a mental illness. Seriously.

  34. Super-high-achieving war-damaged Aries dad with a huge career all over the TV, awards, you name it. Narcissist. Serial womaniser/cheat. Workaholic. Good at economic providing. Hoped to steer children into university & solid careers of his choosing. I’m 54 now, 12th House sun and 12th house everything else. Saturn conjunct Sun. Years of striving to succeed and make my name, some of it worked, some terrible crashes. Huge re-build began in my mid-30s. Today…well I’ve stopped fighting, and decided to love him (85), & accept the differences between us. It’s almost as though I am his missing self. All he left out for one reason or another, I am living. Including a high degree of uncertainty, invisibility and a deep calling to help others achieve their potential and be of service. Why, I do not know. He needed to win all those awards, all that fame. Turns out I don’t. Took fifty years to work it out. Matt x

  35. The celebrity kid thing can certainly be devastating nn interview with Jakob Dylan the interviewer was told not to ask about his dad my family has been hard working to get to where they are I am not hard-working I was allowed to go to liberal arts school I’m not sure if the reason is that I was spoiled and unloving or that my journey is different7 my twenties have been lost to unemployment procrastination and jobs I don’t believe in I’m not sure if it could have played out differently I’m not sure what the rest of my life will be like

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    I can’t comment as a parent but as the naturally less ambitious child of an extremely driven Type-A mother who made no secret of her bitter disappointment in me, being her child was also a hard and heartbreaking pill to swallow. The disappointment was mutual.

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    Some parents only want you to have a better life than they did when they’re in a good mood or they want somethinig. The other half, it’s open season on your soul for the crime of being flawed.

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      I think Christina Crawford had every right to write that book and I hope she makes a ton of money off it for the rest of her life. Turning pain into profit was the best thing she could have done for herself. Her mother from all accounts was a monster.

      1. @Scottish, I started to watch some key scenes on youtube on “mommie dearest”, and then read some of Joan Crawford’s biography, and from what I see, it’s extremely disturbing yes, but Crawford was mentally unbalanced, and she couldn’t cope. it looked to me as if she didn’t know how to love a person, as she screamed to her daughter that she wanted respect like her fans respect her. And her daughter said, i’m not one of your fans. that hit home. because Crawford desired closeness but didn’t know how, and she drowned in alcoholism too. Everything about it is so sad and sorrowful.

      2. oh I forgot to put down that, it hit home to me because it reminds me of Marilyn Monroe, how she was loved by everyone in that era, she is beautiful and brought happiness to young and old men, but she had a hard time for some reason. I felt that her desire to be loved or have love or how she was taught is through admiration from the public. she did have a terrible is very sorrowful too.

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    It wasn’t just Christina who hated Joan. Her brother Christopher referred to her as “the bitch.” He was also abused. So I think there’s plenty of credence to her story.

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