If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all in the past few weeks, you’ve seen that several seemingly intelligent, professional, successful adults have been indicted on various charges involving college admissions fraud. There are many factors at play here, but the one that is most alarming is a trend in the behavior of parents who will do virtually anything to ensure the success of their children.

These people would have us believe that their actions are motivated by loving instincts and the desire to see their children living a happy life. In reality, what they have done has been a result of their own image being convolutedly connected to their kids’ academic and athletic resumes. From a young age, they sign their kids up for all the things and then parade them through this existence of accomplishment where being less than exceptional is not an option. Kids can’t just play basketball for fun. Kids have to play basketball from the age of seven and win every single game or tournament. Kids can’t just read for fun. Kids have to attain perfect scores on every spelling and standardized test. Why? Because some parent somewhere can’t handle the public humiliation of having a kid that isn’t “the best.” Kids can’t be kids because grown-ups use them as status symbols.