Anyone who grew up in the '80s knows that parenting used to be a whole other ball of wax. Allergies were rare, kids roamed the suburbs in roving bicycle gangs and unsupervised adventures were around every corner. Kids who grew up in the '90s couldn't leave the house without a speech on stranger danger and an extra dose of Flintstones vitamins, just in case.
But it turns out there are some things that lazy/negligent parents kind of got right. Like ...
5Arguing With Your Kids
"Because I said so!"
Every parent winds up saying this, whether they like it or not. What's the alternative? Sit there and debate with your 11-year-old on the merits of a new toy truck or a face tattoo of them fatally stabbing a policeman?
No, in these situations it's best to quickly put your foot down and make it clear who's the boss. Arguing with them on everything will only undermine your authority and turn your kids into confrontational, spoiled pricks. Besides, what can possibly be gained by arguing with a child?
"You lost, kid. I get your dessert tonight."
The Surprising Benefit:
Actually, science says that those fights provide excellent opportunities for your children to practice their reasoning, discussion and negotiation skills. So as long as they are using rational arguments and calmly explaining their point of view to you, don't immediately go all alpha dog on them and end the conversation with the "Because I said so" trump card. Your willingness to have a discussion might actually save your younglings from a life of alcohol and drugs down the line, according to researchers from the University of Virginia.
Although raising a wuss means you can force them to wear stupid costumes and dance for you.
In their study of 157 13-year-olds over a period of two years, they discovered that teens who learned how to stand up for themselves and intelligently argue their point could later use those skills in other situations. Specifically, against the boogeyman of all parents everywhere: peer pressure.
It turns out that persuasiveness is a pretty useful thing in a school environment, especially when it comes to declining a hit of heroin to the eyeball during recess. In the study, kids who mastered the art of arguing by first practicing it on their folks were then 40 percent more likely to say no to all sorts of vices, while those who were constantly shushed by their parents responded to most bad influences with a submissive "Yeah, sure, whatever ..."
"OK, since it's your roulette gun, I'll take the first three turns."
The thing is, the world is full of tough-guy fathers who insist that their sons learn how to fight, knowing that someday they may need to stand up to a bully. Maybe Dad will even strap on boxing gloves and take the kid into the basement to teach him how to punch. But when's the last time you've heard of parents doing the same with verbal sparring? You know, teaching their kids how to win verbal arguments for the same reason -- that they're sure to need it on the playground. Hell, we bet verbal arguments were a hell of a lot more common in your formative years than fistfights. So why don't we practice them?