Genius vs Parenting

Wow, I had no idea that Carmen Martín Gaite’s only daughter died at the age of 28 of AIDS she had contracted as a result of her heroin addiction.

Artistic geniuses tend to make the worst parents in the world, unfortunately.

13 thoughts on “Genius vs Parenting

  1. “Artistic geniuses tend to make the worst parents in the world”

    How much of that is related to the idea that stability and predictability are really import for kids while the artistically inclined tend to not have much of either?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s a big part of the problem. Also, a child needs to be the center of mommy’s world. A child takes everything you’ve got and demands more. It’s a wonderful thing if you’ve got enough to give.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Also, a child needs to be the center of mommy’s world”

        Also, a more artistic personality is likely to have bad memories of restrictions and conventions and be loathe to do impose them on their children ignoring the fact that children (and teens) often have crappy judgement.

        And regression to the mean, extraordinary people tend to have…. ordinary kids and that can feel awful for and about them which leads to…. bad stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @ Cliff Arroyo
          Not only that. Children and teenagers need restrictions and conventions.
          The former help children come to grips with the idea that there is a reality outside themselves which they cannot control, the latter offer teenagers something to react against so that they may form their own personalities, and not grow up as mere cookie-cutter versions of their parents.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The “artistic personality” is mostly a romanticized Hollywood idea. Artists make bad parents for two reasons: because 1) art comes from pain, and people in deep pain make poor parents generally, and 2) raising children and making art are both creative acts and for the genius, the work will always come first.


  2. And yet even the best parents may end up with the rottenest children, and viceversa.
    Parenting is an art, not a science: results are not guaranteed.


      1. My aunt and uncle are extremely nice people, but as parents… complete pushovers. Their kids were unholy terrors: we dreaded having them visit. They’d throw tantrums, and bite, and break our toys… and then aunt and uncle would either a) not believe us about the biting or broken stuff, or b) take the child aside and gently “explain” that “now remember, it’s not nice to bite people…” Clearly, that was not working.

        But in the end, good example seems to have prevailed over poor technique: both the kids have become decent, civilized working adults with stable marriages: just like their parents.

        I am still trying to work through the implications of this.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is what we call the Jewish parenting. It’s very uncomfortable to everybody except the kids but it has great results.

          The best parenting I’ve seen was conducted by my great-grandparents who brought me up. They thought I was the best child this planet had ever seen, bought me everything I wanted, celebrated every prank as evidence of my superior intelligence, and pretty much worshipped me as a little deity. As a result, I see myself as a stunning beauty at any weight and have never experienced impostor syndrome that tortures many academics. What’s a few childhood pranks weighed against a lifetime of looking in the mirror and seeing a Hollywood-type beauty, you know?

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Some children are born into Mafia families and yet, as soon as they can, they renounce their heritage and choose a life of honesty as upright citizens. Others are born into affluent, educated, well-to-do families and turn into militant terrorists.
        My parents basically sucked at their job, but two of my brothers and I have turned out to be decent, productive and reasonably balanced people. My remaining brother, not so much: he’s a high-school drop-out, long-term unemployed, living on welfare. We were given the same parenting, though.


        1. Affluent doesn’t mean a good parent. There’s no intersection at all between wealth and the capacity to love one’s children.

          As for the phenomenon of several good kids and one ‘bad apple’ in the same family, it’s a very widespread phenomenon. The ‘bad apple’ is assigned this role and plays it to benefit the whole family. He’s the family’s “negative shadow” into whom the negative qualities of everybody else are projected. This keeps the whole structure in balance.

          Also, I just have to mention that it’s impossible to give the exact same parenting to different kids. The parents are different people, they are in a different stage in their lives or in their relationship to one another. The absence or presence of another sibling will have a big impact.

          The only true way to judge the quality of the parenting is by observing the result. Everything else is a self-serving narrative.


          1. After reading your last reply I have reconsidered my position, Clarissa. I think you are right: the proof is in the pudding, the child is the product of the parenting.

            Liked by 1 person

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