Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Better Living Through Smarter Parenting

          There are a few things that I have been thinking about in regards to having children. Since I became engaged engaged I have had a lot of people mention child birthing and rearing to me as a natural follow up to the marriage track. As a result, I have been paying more attention to Diaper commercials and medications with warnings about taking them if "you are pregnant, or are considering becoming pregnant" in the hopes of honing my parenting skills before they even become neccessary.

          On that note, here a few few child rearing lessons that I've put together for any new parents out there. I've never had a baby, nor have I really spent more than a few minutes with one in the past 18 years, so clearly, as an impartial observer of the process I have the highest likelihood of coming up with some really good "Expert Tips". Read on.

Doggylife's Tips for Parents!

  • "Funish" Your Children

  •           Watching a TV court-umentary made me realize that the problem with punishing kids is that punishment is in no way fun for the kid being punished, although it is marginally and rather sadistically enjoyable to the other children. I remember as a child not wanting to be punished, and how, when I was being punished, I wished I was smoking candy cigarettes or hanging out at The Max with AC, although admitedly, that did weigh pretty constantly on my mind.
              I realized that the obvious solution to the problem of punishement is to make punishment fun, and thus, "funishment" was born. If your kid hits another child on the playground, "funish" him by buying a puppy, kitten or other adorable animal, and making your child beat the animal to death with something (perhaps another puppy). At first the child might hate it, but eventually, he will learn that you can't solve problems by hitting people, and that if you need an outlet for your anger, a defenseless animal is a much better target than a person who can hit back. The sparkle in little Jason's eyes as he smashes a sackful of kittens against a parking meter will bring a previously unknown joy to your family home.

  • Don't Deal in Absolutes

  •           How often do we see signs, slogans and even albums telling kids to "Never Talk to Strangers" or "Never Smoke Cigarettes" or other absolute edicts for their behaviour? Too often I say. As a concerned parent of the future, I don't want my child forced into believing that there is never an instance in which they should talk to a stranger. What if they become lost, sick, or bored while riding the subway? The daily commute to work and school should be an enjoyable one for your elementary schooler. The world is a fun place filled with mostly nice people. I'd rather my kid get abducted by a pederast dressed like a dinosaur than rot his six year old brain or miss his stop because he was playing Super Mario Twins on the el.
              From my experiences, I've learned that often, children don't possess the same capacity for rational decision making as some adults. Therefore, it seems ludicrous to tell them that you can "never" do something when in all likelihood, they very well might have to one day. Imagine a lost child on the verge of approaching a friendly neighborhood police officer with his father's maxims rattling through his tiny skull. Picture him quietly debating whether to uphold or destroy the fabric of the reality that is the words of his parents, then imagine his little sugar laced brain spasming, contorting, and slowly dripping out of his ears like the sweat and tears of an exhausted John Henry, his fleshy muscles no match for the cold logical machinery of never. His death is on your head.
              In another scenario, imagine that your kid is on the verge of becoming the next Dakota Fanning. Then, an agent wants him to do an ad for Camel Cigarettes in which he has to smoke a cigarette after hitting the game winning home run of the Little League World Series. If you told him to "never smoke cigarettes" he might turn down the role. If parents had thought like that years ago the world may have never gotten to know Jackie Earle Haley, one of the greatest smoking-child actors since Tatum O'Neal. Teach your kids that morality, legality, and finances are all subjective with lines like:

    • Rarely Talk to Strangers

    • Typically Don't Smoke Cigarettes

    • Often, Don't Eat Pennies

  • Role Models, Role Models, Role Models

  •           There seems to be a lot of ballyhoo about giving kids good role models. "Activist" teachers and "liberal" parents would like you to believe that the best way to teach a child is to make the child obsessively idolize someone who possesses the traits that you wish your child embodied. Maybe these so called "parents" have never heard of John Hinckley, but gee whiz, I know I have!
              Instead of climbing into your child's fragile mind and erecting a golden image of Kelly Clarkson or Jack Lalanne, teach your child to hate certain people, and through their hatred, they will learn to embrace the things which separate them from their enemy. If you don't want your child to get tattoos, or associate with bad people, pick a popular rap artist and inundate your child's life with his image, music and (in the case of Master P) movies. I don't know too many kids who would willingly sit in their room and listen to the terrible things that spew from the mouths of the likes of 50 Cents or Easy E while looking at their graven images on the walls. Once your kid realizes that the "candy shoppe" is a reference to sex acts, your child will shun the lifestyle chosen by those in the hip hopping community. Once they learned to hate the dangerous people on their walls, their lives will change for the better, and before you know it, the fat bass lines of Kool Keith will be drowned out by the mellow timbre of the jazz clarinet.

          Thats it for now. Stay tuned for more tips for raising your kids to be the responsible, frugal, and productive citizens that they aspire to be.