Parents: A User’s Guide: Part 2, The Ambitious Parents

Will never be heard to say, “We just want him/her to be happy.”

Oh dear. If you’ve got ambitious parents, I’m afraid you’ve drawn the short straw. These are people whose whole reason for living is to achieve success. Unfortunately, the success they crave isn’t for themselves, it’s for you, and they’ll stop at nothing to make you achieve it.

So how do you know if your parents come under this heading? Take this fun quiz to find out.

  1. How many after school activities do you take part in willingly?

      A)  5  B)  3-4  C)  1-2  D)  0

2) How often do your parents ask about the achievements of your friends and classmates?

      A)  Every day  B) 3-4 times a week  c) once a week   D) Never

3) Which of the following comments have you heard your parents make?

A) The early bird catches the worm.

B) You make your own luck.

C) It’s not taking part that counts, it’s winning.

D) Big results require big ambitions.

For question 1 score 5 marks for A; 3 for B; 2 for C and 0 for D

For question 2 score the same as for Q1

For Question 3 score 2 for each saying you’ve heard them say.


12-18: Your parents couldn’t be much more ambitious unless they were fascist dictators or emperors

8-11: They are very keen for you to do well, but call a halt at the more extreme forms of ambition, such as bribing talent show judges and junior league referees.

3-7: Fairly keen, but can occasionally give it a rest. In fact some of the really ambitious parents would call them slackers who could try harder.

0-2: Not bothered. Phew! Your folks are NOT ambitious for you AT ALL. Congratulations.

If you scored in the 12 -18 category (and to a lesser extent in the 8-11 category,) you’ve got problems. So, how do you loosen your wildly ambitious parents’ clutches? Well, if you’ve got a younger brother or sister, it’s worth working on ways to make it look like they’ve got far more success potential than you. This can include massaging their school test results; describing to your parents some amazing sporty feat your little sibling achieved; forging a letter from their class teacher suggesting they are amazingly talented and gifted at something (choose something in the realms of possibility – a precocious talent in nuclear physics is unlikely in a nursery age child.)

The only other approach is to appear utterly hopeless at everything. This is trickier than it sounds and requires huge amounts of self-control and intentional stupidity, but even the most ardently ambitious parent will reach a point where they abandon their plans for you if you keep failing long enough. In addition, you can get back at them with a certain dramatic irony by becoming simply fantastic at something the moment they stop forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, ( see for example Winston Churchill.)

Good luck!

This illustrates the ideal for the ambitious parents, but should be followed by a Nobel prize or high public service such as Prime Minister.

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