David Altshuler, M.S.
(305) 978-8917 | [email protected]


“I am despondent. My daughter did not graduate at the top of her medical school class. She won’t get a good residency placement. It’s the end of the world as we know it, the sky is falling, where did I go wrong?”


“I am pleased and proud. My daughter made it through medical school. She’ll get a residency somewhere. Life is good. I must’ve got some things right as her parent.”

Same result. Doctor Daughter. Different perspectives.

“The price of these pills is outrageous. It’s not fair. Why doesn’t the somebody do something to lower the cost? I’m not going to be able to vacation in Monaco because of the cost of these meds.”


“What a miracle. Without this prescription my child’s health would be immeasurably worse. Thank goodness for the scientists, the infrastructure, and the distribution network that allows me to pick it up at the pharmacy down the street.”

Same meds. Same price. Different outlook.

“I have to get to lunch with the girls. I can’t believe I’ve been sitting in this waiting room for close to an hour. So terrible, an outrage.”


“Henry VIII buried five of his children, would have given half his kingdom for these meds that I can pick up in an hour. So great.”

Same waiting room. Different viewpoint.

Years ago, I could run 20 miles at eight minutes per mile.


Yeah, get over yourself. Three miles at ten minutes per mile is lovely. Every day above ground is a good day.

Different distance. Same level of exertion. (Although I sometimes feel that those 20-mile runs in my 30s were less taxing than a three-mile run as I approach 70, but I digress.)

Because here’s the deal: your child is never going to break Kelvin Kiptum’s men’s world record time of 2:00:35. Your child is not going to come close. Kelvin ran the first quarter mile in the 2023 Chicago Marathon in 69 seconds. Then he ran another one hundred and four consecutive quarter miles each in 69 seconds. Neither you nor anyone you know can run one quarter mile in 69 seconds never mind a hundred and five of them.

Therefore how your child feels about his accomplishments is infinitely more important than either what those accomplishments are or how he compares to other kids on the same course. It is unlikely that your daughter will place first, equally improbable that she will be last. Your kid won’t get a PhD in mathematics, nor will they be graduated from high school without knowing how to leave a 20% tip in a restaurant. Your child is unlikely to sell more records than Taylor Swift, nor will they be unable to hum. Your child will not score more points than Caitlin Clark

How to help your kids is straightforward emphasize motivation over results. Focus on effort rather than place value. “Did you do your best?” is healthy. “Did you crush your classmates leaving their twisted bodies in the gutter as you alone triumphed?” less so.

It would be naïve not to acknowledge that our culture places emphasis on competition and winning. But our society also stresses drinking alcohol with your middle school children and anybody with an IQ in the high double digits acknowledges what a stupid idea it is to give liquor to kids. Loving parents can obviate the unhealthy focus on competition as easily as they can model a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking.

Note that I am not arguing for lowering your expectations. Just as lots of love is better for children than withholding affection, expecting the best makes for more contented children than communicating that they’re going to fail. The emphasis is on helping your children appreciate what they accomplish, because they are unlikely to be first or last.

Picture of David Altshuler 2

David Altshuler 2

Copyright © David Altshuler 1980 – 2024    |    Miami, FL • Charlotte, NC     |    (305) 978-8917    |    [email protected]