#3. Warning Them About Strangers
When it comes to child molestation, there is no such thing as too careful. It is important that your children understand to never do anything a stranger tells them to, and to realize the entire world is out there just waiting to murder the shit out of them for no reason.
OK, you kids are just about ready to go to the bathroom.
But in Reality...
As it turns out, an overblown emphasis on "Stranger Danger" can apparently transform your children into xenophobic bigots, at least that's what professor Sue Scott from the University of Durham is saying. According to Scott, children should certainly be taught to be cautious of strangers, but what most parents are teaching their kids today causes children worldwide to freak out at the mere sight of anything out of the ordinary.
Statistically children are far, far more likely to be abducted/molested by someone the family knows than a roving child molestation gang. Teaching children to fear anyone strange or different from themselves manifests itself later as a fear of pretty much the entire outside world. By adulthood, they're locking their doors every time a Mexican walks by.
"And he stole someone's suit, Mommy! Call the police!"
#2. Heaping Praise On Them
Your parents never told you that you were special, even after that kidnapping story you made up to hide the report card with all the Fs. Your kid will have it better. "Great job on the test, son! I loved it how you blocked the ball with your face, son! Got your girlfriend pregnant? High five, up top!"
But in Reality...
We have previously mentioned how the whole self-esteem movement turned a whole lot of people into dicks, because they emotionally can't handle anyone who doesn't boost their ego. We further theorized that this gave birth to the modern douchebag movement.
But it turns out there are effects beyond simply making people unbearable to be around. A study published in 2007 by researches from Columbia and Stanford University found that frequently-praised kids eventually came to believe that intelligence and talent were things they were born with, things which under no possible circumstances could be improved. Consequently, they avoided academic situations that presented any kind of challenge and refused to see the value in any activity that required effort, because if they were so freaking amazing, nothing worth doing should be hard, right?
As a result, their grades dropped and they developed motivation and, ironically, self-esteem issues. So the lesson here is, make your kid realize the value of hard work and honest effort before they self-tan themselves orange and pop their collars. By then, it will be too late.
#1. Showing Them Educational Videos
We've all heard of those Baby Einstein educational videos, claiming you can park your one-year-old in front of them and have him transform into a Mozart-playing, Shakespeare-quoting nuclear physicist. Makes sense, children soak up knowledge like little kid-shaped ShamWows. The more info you give them during this crucial soaking stage, the better!
But in Reality...
You may have heard that Disney is offering refunds on its Baby Einstein line of educational DVDs. This came after a research team led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis from the University of Washington showed that babies watching the popular educational videos around the age of one learn six to eight less words per hour than children who spent their afternoons putting dirt in their mouths. It's because, despite what you have been telling yourself for years, virtual interaction is never as good the real thing.
For example, these are not really your three girlfriends.
If you really want your children to learn from an early age, you need to read to them and supply the buggers with as much human-on-human interaction as possible, not park their adorable little butts in front of the fucking television. TV programs and Infant Education videos use a series of rapidly changing scenes and constantly bombard your kids with new words. With time, their itsy bitsy minds start to filter out most of the information just to help manage the constant barrage, and voila! The kids develop shorter attention spans, and eventually the food service industry claims another life.
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For more advice in the kids department, check out 6 Terrifying Things They Don't Tell You About Childbirth. Or check out some toys you should never ever get them, in The 13 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Children's Toys.
And stop by our Top Picks to see Seanbaby, G-Stone, Bucholz and a baby (we smell a sitcom).