Jordan Peterson, while still a University of Toronto Professor, gave a lecture where he explained what he believed to be the most important job a parent has in terms of raising their young. It should be noted that the opinions below are his alone, but they do have some fairly solid footing in peer-reviewed literature.

Per Jordan Peterson:

The most important job of a parent is to make your child “acceptable to other children.” Most importantly, one must make their child acceptable to other children by the age of four years old at the latest as the window, according to Peterson, for making their child socially adaptive is between the ages of two and four years old.

Jordan goes on to state that if a parent fails to make their child desirable to other children before the age of four years old then “it’s over” (again, according Peterson). For children who are not accepted by other children by that age have a ver difficult time recovering and often become socially isolated and antisocial as a result. Peterson, citing 400+ pages of literature he says he has read on the subject, believes that “rectification of antisocial behaviors” is all but impossible despite numerous attempts by clinicians to integrate anti social children.

In regards to the actual science, Jordan may have some very good points here. The, at the time, controversial book The Nurture Assumption, showed that almost all parental influence is washed away by peer influence. Thereby it can be gleaned that unless children are exposed to extremely negative situations (aren’t fed or educated), their success in life can be attributed 50% to their peers and 50% to their genetics with parents accounting for virtually none of the variance.

However, if you’re a parent one shouldn’t take this information and be depressed by it. For as long as you make sure that your child is accepted by their peers at a young age (and you properly nourish and educate your child), what’s left is to enjoy your time with them.

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