Let us begin with the assumption that if you are a parent, you wish for your child every advantage and opportunity. From the ergonomic high chair to that all-important first sushi experience and beyond, life should be as golden for your little one as it is for, say, Pax Jolie-Pitt.

But inevitably the moment arrives when all your doting and care come back on you in the form of a precocious little barb that reminds you in no uncertain terms of . . . you. It might be that his friend Jake's eighth-birthday party was "unbelievably lame" or that "it's weird that Brandon's family flies first-class and we don't," or maybe it's simply that "these taquitos taste like turd."

It's then that you must reckon with the real possibility that your drive to make little Johnny better, smarter, and hipper has merely turned him into a douchebag. Put it this way: If it's your child, not you, who gets to choose your weekend brunch spot, or if he's the one asking how the branzino is prepared, it's probably time to take a hard look at your own behavior.

It's not like we're the first generation to turn out Frankenkinder. Since the dawn of time, parents have been dressing their kids in ridiculous sailor suits and dragging them on ski trips to Gstaad. But lately it feels like we're scaling new heights as bad examples. We create parenting blogs that transform our preschoolers into fetishized celebrities. We subscribe to magazines that suggest buying a 5-year-old a $400 Marc Jacobs cashmere hoodie. We think it's cute when our kids learn to text message (until we realize POS means "parent over shoulder") and quietly rejoice when they can tell which Ramone is Dee Dee and which one is Joey.