It seems like it's close to impossible to raise a normal child these days, what with the violent video games and the 4chan and the childhood obesity. But if the latest research is to be believed, even the good stuff we thought we were doing for our kids is ruining them.
Yes, as it turns out the most innocent things we do to our kids every day can fuck them up worse than having the Joker shoot their parents in front of them.
You want your kid to be special. There are a few million Daves, Bobs and Johns running around NOT being totally awesome and obviously it's all because of their boring-ass names. So you decide to name your son something original, like Malcolm, Ivan or Dicksmash McIroncock.
But in Reality...
You have just sent your flesh and blood straight into the middle of a massive man-rape in the prison shower. According to a study at the Shippensburg University, kids growing up with ordinary, popular names have a higher chance to become law abiding citizens, while all the unusually named ones should start deciding what state they want to commit their first felony in (friendly tip, skip Texas). The study lists the top 10 bad boy names in America as: Alec, Ernest, Garland, Ivan, Kareem, Luke, Malcolm, Preston, Tyrell and Walter, which we must point out are not the names of any serial killer or presidential assassin that has ever existed, so we're assuming the research is skewed in a certain direction.
Although, Steve Buscemi played a serial killer named Garland in Con Air, so we guess that's maybe half a point?
The theory is that the additional attention garnered by odd and unusual names can cause peer ridicule and discrimination in the workforce, which tends to result in a few thousand Alecs and Prestons stealing toilet paper from the gas station. So do your kid a favor and give him a typical law-abiding, mentally stable name, like Michael.
OK, how about "Frank?"
Peer pressure is the thing that makes kids smoke cigarettes, do drugs and read pornographic magazines by the time they reach middle school. As countless PSAs and after-school specials taught us, we must teach our kids to be themselves and never give two halves of a fuck about what their "friends" think.
But in Reality...
Remember that smelly kid in school, who never washed his hair, had no friends and once pissed in the sink at that party he wasn't invited to? That's your kid, without peer pressure. A study conducted at the University of Virginia showed that kids who were exposed to peer pressure around the ages of 12 and 13 turned out to be way more well-adjusted than the ones who weren't. They better understood the need to accommodate and make compromises when confronted with social pressure, rather than the "I'll just take my ball and go home" attitude they adopt otherwise.
The kids who were taught to be themselves no matter what didn't become walking clones of James Dean. They actually turned out less engaged, socially challenged and statistically less intelligent, their GPAs dropping almost an entire letter grade.
Maybe more importantly, when you actually give a damn about how people view you, it develops a skill of reading the most subtle changes in people's emotional states, leading ultimately to a heightened sense of empathy. In this socially awkward age of the Internet, it turns out peer pressure at the right time can basically give you superpowers.
Empathy Man! He won't piss in your sink (probably)!
Nobody wants their child to grow up a dateless nerd, so as soon as his bones harden up, it's off to football practice. There, the guy who used to steal your lunch money and punched a girl at recess in fourth grade will teach your children important life lessons about fair play and sportsmanship, which will naturally transform them into honest, hard working adults.
Like this one.
But in Reality...
Remember your school days, when Steve the quarterback managed to keep passing his classes despite firmly believing that the first president of the United States was George Washington Carver? If you suspected he was cheating somehow, a study of over 5000 students from the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute seems to confirm it. According to the study, athletes are some of the most dishonest kids in school, with football players turning out the worst with over 72 percent admitting to having cheated during various examinations. Where does this attitude come from? The study suggests it might be the coaches.
"No, no, take the bat with you!"
But let's face it, you're not sending your kid off to practice so he can have a good time and make friends. You want some goddamn trophies, so coaches are not above teaching kids how to cut corners, feign injuries and do whatever humiliating damage they can to their opponents, because hey, nothing else matters but winning, right?
No, nothing else does.
Education must not wait. Your parents waited until you were seven before sending you to school and look at how fucking sad you turned out. You'll be damned if your child suffers the same ill-fate. Is six-months old too early to start attending school? Come on, what's the worst that could happen?
Other than this.
But in Reality...
We hope you didn't have any plans to remodel your basement, because your kid will be living there for a very long time. A study by the National Foundation for Educational Research in the UK has concluded that children who start schooling before the age of six are more likely to drop out from higher education facilities, smoke weed and play guitar badly.
Researchers say sending kids to school before they've developed even the basic little-kid skills of a six-year-old can cause them to suffer from anxiety attacks and develop low self-esteem issues, giving them a bad attitude about the whole "going to school" thing that follows them throughout their education.
This does introduce children to the hopeless, bitter disappointment that is life and prepares them for their soul crushing future office workplace, but even those places want at least a high school diploma.