10 Tips for Raising the Child You Really Shouldn't Have Had
Like most people who don't have any kids, I'm convinced that I could raise them better than most parents. With my intelligence, my strength and my piercing gaze, I clearly have all the nurturing attributes necessary to bend any child to my will. But because of the current legal system and, frankly, considerable cowardice on my part, I have not seized anyone's child and then reared them properly myself. Instead I've published a short guide on the subject, because that's something I could do without leaving my chair.
Learning the difference between right and wrong is a key milestone on the road of "growing up to not be a psychopath." For the most, part parents already do this fairly well by teaching by example. My only recommendation then, is for parents to be conscious of the limited scope of moral scenarios their daily lives present, and to begin fabricating moral dilemmas so that their brood can see how to react in more complicated scenarios. A basic "kill one to save a dozen" example from classic utilitarianism can turn an ordinary day at the petting zoo into a memorable learning experience.
If you want a child who can move from place to place without the assistance of gravity, be sure to encourage them to live an active lifestyle. Fortunately children have a natural instinct to run and play, and you should not only encourage this, but work to maximize the effects. Consider fastening ankle weights or a small drag parachute to your child to increase resistance and develop tone and muscle.
Another handy tool for improving a child's hand-eye reflexes and skull-solidification instincts.
Work as a Team
If you have multiple children, you'll be well positioned to teach them how to get along with others, minimizing the chances of them growing up to write manifestos. By regularly pasting your children in "parents vs. kids" board game nights you'll encourage them to develop feelings of camaraderie and mutual support amongst themselves, which will come in handy when they're abandoned together in the wilderness, as I'll ask you to do next week when presenting the advanced tips.
Control your fear
One of the key moments of everyone's childhood is overcoming their fear of monsters under the bed. You can help your child overcome this seemingly universal fear of the darkness and unknown by explaining to them some basic facts about death, and walking them through a simple logical argument. Observe that if there are no monsters under the bed, then the child is safe, and that no actions are necessary--aside from getting a good night's rest. Then observe that if indeed there is a monster under the bed, the monster--who could certainly overpower your child--would devour him like some sort of delicious sandwich, and that nothing could be done to prevent it. As both possibilities result in a course where no actions are possible or necessary, your child can conclude that the only rational thing to do is simply fall asleep and let what happens happen. Like my father used to scream at me every night when I went to bed, "Do you want to live forever? Well? Do you?"
Getting kids to go to sleep is one of the most difficult challenges new parents face. Yet it seems quite plain to me that this can be solved simply by teaching your child about the history of the 24 hour clock and how the foundation of mankind's economic system is based around the daylight hours--a legacy from our pre-industrial history. Point out that although there is always value in questioning social conventions such as bedtime, one must first understand the basis of these conventions, and to make digressions from the norm only after sober consideration. Try purchasing a colorful mobile which illustrates social obligations for a fun way to drive this point home.
From my experience being one several decades ago, I know that any child from the age of eight months onwards is capable of reading, and would love to if only their parents weren't so busy drinking lager beer and fighting in the backyard. Begin by implementing a simple rewards system, where the child can earn valuable treats like parental attention by deciphering simple puzzles based on the alphabet. As your children age, you can implement progressively harder challenges, so that by the age of four they are capable of rolling their eyes at USA Today.
The current level of financial education in the public school system is laughable, and if you want your child to grow up to be anything other than a male escort with crippling credit card debt, you owe them a solid foundation of money skills. From an early age, institute a system where your child receives an allowance in exchange for completing small household chores. This will encourage your child to develop a sense of the value of money and provide you a source of comically cheap labor. A well-designed allowance plan can get your entire roof re-shingled for as little as 80 dollars, plus materials.
Eventually your children will have to go out in the world on their own, and it's important to pass on the critical knowledge they'll need to make it in a cruel world. A good example is teaching your child how to make themselves look bigger to frighten away child predators.
The Birds and the Bees
This is more an issue for older children, but in an increasingly sexual world, where children are maturing faster and faster, the topic should never be far from your mind. That's why one critical fact of life should be made clear to your child as soon as they're old enough to understand words: they are there to spread your genetic legacy - any other goal they have in life must be secondary to that.
Hate Those Who Are Different
You grew up the way you did and turned out OK, and have learned that everyone who didn't grow up the same way is foul and polluted. That's why you married someone who looks as similar to you as possible, and that's why you're going to teach your children to be distrustful of anyone with unusual clothes, an accent or red hair.