Raising an Heir

Aug 15, 2013

Every parent worries about making mistakes in raising children.  Imagine the pressure you would feel if you were raising the future King.  This is high-stakes parenting, indeed.

And yet William and Kate have started down this path with little Prince George, and they are doing it under a microscope through which they are being viewed by the whole world.

Breast or bottle? Cloth or disposable diapers? A crib, a cradle or the family bed? Feeding on demand or schedule? Immunizations early or late? Antibiotics for ear infections or wait it out? Pacifier or thumb?  Toilet-trained by two or a more relaxed pace?  

Each choice they make will please some and enrage others. And they face the added burden of whether or not to follow centuries-old traditions that have dictated royal life for generations.

While they’ve been bestowed with royal titles, they are, after all, amateurs in the child-rearing game.  Everyone who brings a baby home from the hospital must start at square one, learning awkwardly to change diapers and guess at the source of a baby’s cry.  No title gives a dad or mom a leg up on these skills, which can only be learned by practice.

Like every parent, William and Kate will often get it right, but will occasionally get it wrong.  And that’s ok.  Through their mistakes, they’ll learn how to parent the little Prince.

I wish this family could be protected from the ever-present publicity that will expose them at every turn.  While the public’s fascination may come and go, the relationship between parents and children is essential to the human condition.  This precious connection deserves our respect.

I was delighted that George’s birth was not announced to the world for several hours after he was born.  While the hordes were agonizing over Kate’s prolonged labor, the new family was privately basking in the glow of their early acquaintance.

This decision bodes well for the parents’ sense of how to control the public’s access to their baby.  While honoring their accountability to the world, they recognize their primary responsibility to their son.