I’ve never been a parent so I’m probably highly qualified to give advice on how to raise kids. So let me give you parents a little advice and clear up some misconceptions about parenthood.
-Your kids are going to hate the kind of person you are from the age of 13 to 22, no matter what you do or don’t do. So give yourself a break right now from worrying about something that’s inevitable.
-You’re going to mess up your child’s psyche in lots of ways. You were messed up in the head by the stuff your parents did or didn’t do, and your children will be too. It’s unavoidable, there’s nothing you can do. In fact, trying to avoid doing so will probably make it happen more.
-They are not going to ever understand how you feel until they have kids of their own. And by then you’re going to be too tired to go “HA! Didn’t I tell you?? NOW you finally know how it feels!” So do yourself a favor by not getting so worked up about the fact that your child is so frustratingly dense, and do your kids a favor and stop trying to make them understand what it’s like being you.
-Please don’t have more than 2. Just replace you and your spouse and you’ve done enough for humanity, OK? We don’t need any more humans in the world than there already is.
-Whatever you do, don’t have jerk kids. If you have jerk kids, chances are that you’re the jerk they learned it from. If your kids don’t know how to respect other people’s space and property, most likely you don’t either. If your kids won’t shut up, most likely you don’t either.
-If you don’t take advantage of the fact that your toddler isn’t able to comprehend that you’re messing with him or her, then you’re just plain boring. Have a little fun and dress them up in something goofy. Or have them wear shirts that says something like “daddy’s little tax deduction.”
-Please don’t lie to your kids. It’s not funny and you’re not keeping them “safe” from anything. You’re just hurting them in the long run.
-Let your kids get hurt, let them eat that dirt, let them roll around in the mud, let them play with something dangerous (but not life threatening), let them disappear for a few hours during the day with their friends or by themselves, let them be children. When they’re young is when they are programmed best to learn. Later on in life they will have such a hard time learning the things they should have learned when they were kids, but didn’t because of your fears and insecurities.
-Stop watching the news on TV and stop feeding yourself and your kids fear and propaganda. That doesn’t mean you have to watch discovery channel all the time. There are lots of great TV shows out there that aren’t trying to scare the crap out of you or your kids.
-Please hug them, kiss them, touch them, tickle them, cuddle them. Words can be misheard and misunderstood, but a hug won’t be.
Bottom line, if you don’t like how your parents behave sometimes, chances are that you’re just like them in the way that you don’t like. So if you don’t want your kids to end up in the same way, then you have to get over the behaviors that you have yourself. Be really truthful to yourself about how much of a jerk you really are, that’s the first step.