Sunday, April 02, 2006

Parenting Prowess from Mommy Dearest

[Ascending the soapbox]

How does one know if a particular parenting tool is suboptimal for achieving the intended result? Well, ask yourself, "Do I remember hearing this as a child?" If the answer is yes, throw the darn thing out. You can assume to be garbage anything you recall as a ploy from your own childhood, and that is a shame. Of course you remember the worst elements of emotional damage! And of course, in moments of desperation, you may be tempted to employ these same tactics with your own children. If you could remember the good stuff, you might use it, but, but...

Now one must resist any statement or approach that comes off as humiliation, bargaining, threats, etc. And man, that can be hard. Witness, as evidence, the following from my own experience:

1. [Fill in the blank] is [fill in the blank]ing. Why can't you?
2. Whoever finishes the food on their plate first is the winner. (Winner of what exactly? Oh, yeah... obesity. right.)
3. If you're not good, Jesus won't love you anymore.
4. Stop crying. I SAID STOP CRYING!!

That's not to suggest in the least that previous generations of adults didn't stumble onto some good tools along the way, but how is one supposed to remember those? They, after all, were effective and thus necessarily subtle. What a shame. I could use a little help right now.

[Descending the soapbox]

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