Why Being the “Good Kid” Didn’t Pay Off (“Good Kid” Part I)

I grew up being what most people would label: the “good kid”. I went to school everyday. I did my homework everyday. I only maintained friendships with kids my parents approved of. I never stayed out past my curfew. I never once snuck out of my house. I never drank alcohol before age 21. I got good grades. I maintained a part time job while in school. I took classes for college credit in high school. I got accepted to and attended (briefly) Purdue University. I was always polite and my friends’ parents loved me. I was the ultimate people pleaser.

I have decided that the topic of being the “good kid” and how it has affected the way my life has panned out has way too many elements to discuss in one single post. I am going to make this a multiple part series where I discuss how growing up as the “good kid” has affected me in my adult life and perhaps was more harmful than helpful in the long run. I hope that this series will connect me to other former “good kids” struggling in their adult life now. If this is you (or even if it’s not): lets connect! Please leave me a comment with your experience and/or any advice you may have to overcoming struggles brought on by adulthood.

The first paragraph probably doesn’t sound so bad. I probably made myself sound like the ideal child. If you’re a parent of a child who resembles what I described above, you’re probably wondering how on earth this could go in a negative direction. If this is your case, in conjunction with this series, I invite you to do some research on “the good child syndrome”. You don’t have to spend hours- a brief Google search will suffice. There are many blog posts much like mine describing similar experiences.

In short- the “good child syndrome” happens to us former “good kids” when we fly away from our nest and try to adjust to adult life. When we’ve spent our whole life making decisions based on the approval of our parents and grandparents and teachers, the thought of making the wrong decision and disappointing anyone is absolutely terrifying. When faced with two choices, the thought of making the wrong one is too much to handle. I am almost 25 years old and I haven’t lived at home since I was 19 yet everything I do, I still seek the approval of the people who have influenced my life the most. I find it hard to make decisions based on what I want or think is right. My first instinct is not to go with my gut feeling but to do whatever I feel I will get the most positive reinforcement from.

So how did I go from being the ideal people pleasing human to being such a lost soul? Read the last sentence of that last paragraph again. THAT is how.

The purpose of this short post is to introduce you to a topic that not a lot of people are educated on the negative side of. I will be doing many more posts on this topic over the next few weeks. Please check back because I will be adding to this series. And like I said, feel free to share your experience with me as well!

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