It's not that your baby can fully understand you, but that they'll learn to understand you more quickly, and everyone else in your social circle will probably thank you for it as well.
Spending As Much Time With Them As Possible
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The cruel Catch-22 of the modern world is that parents are choosing between giving their children time and giving them a decent standard of living. This is why 80 percent of kids movies involve at least one scene with a parent unable to make it to a dance recital because they're too busy with their careers. If you have a job that pays for a college fund, then you spend every day at the office feeling guilty that you're not at home, sure that your kids will grow up hating you. Single-parent families have it even worse.
tammykayphoto/iStock/Getty ImagesLuckily, for a kid to care about you missing their little league game, they have to give a shit about little league in general ... which they don't, so you should be good.
As it turns out, the good news for these families is that research says that kid's outcomes are completely unrelated to the amount of time that parents spend with them. The sociologist conducting the research, Melissa Milkie, said that regardless of the metric you use to judge, it's nearly impossible to find any relationship between how much time parents are able to spend with children and how those children do later in life. According to her studies, it seems that when parents are already stressed about balancing their work and family lives, the time they spend with their kids can impact them negatively, since they transfer that stress onto the child. You take a weekend off to go to the zoo, then nervously check your phone every five minutes. The kid feels guilty.
"Yes!" we can hear many of you are saying, "I'm going to close this article right now, because I finally have permission in writing to neglect my children! This is all I wanted from you, Cracked!"
petrograd99/iStock/Getty Images"You heard the website, sweetie. Go play with your blocks or something. Daddy's got a kill streak going."
Hold on. The deal is that it's about quality of time, not quantity. The theory goes that the working mom or dad who spends a couple of good hours a day playing, talking, and reading with the kids is having a better impact on their lives than a stay-at-home parent who sits around stressing out about money while their kids play in another room.
Milkie's studies don't say whether there's a minimum amount of time you can spend with your kids and keep them well-adjusted; only that it's definitely higher than zero. Again: DO NOT ABANDON YOUR CHILDREN.
Yup, we're good at screwing up our progeny. For instance, letting your kids express themselves should probably be done with caution. Or maybe reconsider sending them into timeouts. Learn all about it in 7 Things 'Good Parents' Do (That Screw Up Kids For Life) and 5 Popular Parenting Fads That Make Sense (And Screw Kids Up).
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And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.