The Infallibility of Parents

However many parents you have and however your specific configuration of parents works; and regardless of them being your biological parents or not; you don't get to choose them. And they come with a wide range of ability and aptitudes in the field of parenting.

Your parents were you lucky enough to have some, likely got the job without an interview. They probably have no qualifications relevant to the critical areas of parenting, minimal, if any, experience and were unlikely to achieve much more than superficial practise before they started.

Despite all this, it's their job to ensure your survival until you are old enough to do it on your own and to teach you how to be a functional human. This lack of experience or qualification is unfortunate; as being a human is both tricky and confusing. Your parents have likely only recently grasped the core concepts themselves. The idea that they are well equipped to inform someone else about it reliably probably seems ridiculous even to them. What's more, even the things your parents think they know about and have some handle on will keep changing. And of course the number of things there are to know about will keep increasing.

If in doubt, claim infallibility

Despite all this uncertainty, however; your parents are likely to be the first people you encounter who might claim, or at least heavily imply, that they are infallible. At the very, least assert that in all things they know best. Infallibility in parents, as with any human, is a dangerous claim.

There are two types of children; those who believe the claims of the parents without question; and those who don't. When a child is told that there is a dangerous monster called electricity living in the plug socket and that the child must never stick a fork into it, the curious sceptical children don't fare so well. Survival favours those who believe without question. But; however, sage advice about plug sockets might be it also gets mixed up in not-so-sage advice about other things. An irrational fear of spiders, for example, political or religious beliefs, incorrect claims about facts or events, superstition and even prejudices and biases. All delivered with the authoritative tone as the information needed for your survival.

What did you learn from your parents when you still thought they were infallible? The older you are, the less I believe you will feel your current world view is due to the infalibility of your parents. You have done your own thinking, drawn your own conclusions. But still, mostly adults share many of the beliefs and perspectives of our parents. Our philosophical apples tend not to fall far from the metaphorical tree.