September 10, 2012, 12:31 pm
Commodus, son of Marcus Aurelius (photo by Flickr/CC user Renaud Camus)
The saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” ignores the many apples that roll far, far away from their trees. Most parents, aware that some offspring apples can roll too far away, try to raise their children with something more than a laissez-faire approach. Even relatively lax parents—not to mention Amy Chu-spawned tiger moms or college students’ “helicopter parents”—assume that they have significant control over the kind of adult their child becomes.
But how much control do parents really have? Turning the question on its head: How much responsibility do parents bear for the adults their children become? Do any of the competing theories about child-rearing acknowledge that there’s an element of the crapshoot in…