Skip to main content

My One Piece Of Advice

When it comes down to it, parenting is pretty much a crap shoot. It is like rolling a 100-sided die and having to pick the exact number it will land on. And getting it wrong means you'll have poop or permanent marker smeared on your face. Sure, you know all 100 numbers backwards and forwards, but that won't help you when you have poop lodged inside your nostril or a poorly drawn mustache on your face for that important work meeting.

Because outside of a steady routine, just about anything else you do can be either entirely wrong for your kid, or the best parenting choice you could make. The worst part is you don't know which is what until its done. You can set strict rules and raise a good, god-fearing and law-abiding citizen who excels at everything he does; but you are just as likely to end up with some psychopath. You can provide no rules and raise a a free-spirited rebel, Gerry Garcia type; but you are just as likely to raise the next Charlie Sheen. It has as at least as much to do with the genetics of that particular kid as anything you do.

Add into this soup a little flavor: a lot of what you may think you know about parenting is wrong; as in scientifically proven wrong.

Forcing kids to eat veggies? Yep; wrong. Check out that link above. Or read about the Picky Eater Panic here, and why you probably don't need to push veggies here, or well, more about it here.

Doing homework with your kid seems like an important and foolproof method of good parenting. Done properly, that simply must be correct. Nope. Wrong again. And not just wrong, but potential deleterious as well.

Life, and parenting, would be better if it was as simple as applying Parenting Method Y in Family Family A while applying Parenting Method X to children in Family B. But no. Each kid from Family A probably need their own unique parenting method.

In a perfect world maybe someone could come up with a parenting manual. And outside the fact that that baby would be something like 120,132 pages long, with requisite footnotes, is the fact that there wouldn't be one manual. There wouldn't even be one manual titled TripeTheDad Parenting Manual. There would be a manual titled Parenting TripeTheDad Child 1, a second titled Parenting TripeTheDad Child 2, and so on and so on. And none of the manuals would apply to anyone else. It would be like if every single car required its own unique manual.

As a anecdotal aside, we got home from a short weekend vacation recently, upon which our 4-year-old daughter asked us where babies come from. We gave her the stock answer: when a Mommy and Daddy love each other they choose to have a baby. Done is done, right?

Nope.

She wants to know ... does someone give you the baby, or do you make it, or what? No, we tell her, Mommy and Daddy make one. And now she wants to know how exactly Mommy and Daddy go about making one. I mumbled through the best answer I could, knowing it was much more awkward for me than for her. Then I did what every good parent does - I headed to the internet for advice. I'm now fully prepared for a follow up from her that will probably never come. Instead I'll get blindsided by a question from my boys I can't answer.

That is part of my point above. Because those boys could care less about babies.They haven't given this a minutes thought, as far as I can tell. My little girl though, without much prompting or pushing, and with full access to the same toys and shows the boys watch, has come to focus on babies and their care. Its inherent in her DNA.

Each child requires its own unique parenting manual.

If you've read this far, this is starting to sound like a "what not to do" rant. You may well be starting to wonder whether I have any insights on what to actually do. What is that one piece of advice I promised?

Remember that vacation I mentioned? Take it. Because nothing revitalizes you and makes you miss your kids and their crazy antics like being away for a day or two. Suddenly hanging onto to your shirt collar is cute again, rather than annoying.

And take it without reservation. Kids are an ocean of love into which more is to be poured, not a cup that needs filled endlessly. Your day away will not deprive them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meditations

A couple months ago I posted about a push up challenge, and at the risk of pushing this blog into a self-help section, I'm going to post something else that I really enjoy that I think might help a reader or two (all two of you!).

Lifehacker.com currently runs what it calls "Mid-Week Meditations," which is a short story on some piece of ancient wisdom.  Oooohhhhhhh, its ancient.  Just so you know, I'm not one to fall for the whole "ancient" is best meme.

But this is legit good stuff.  They take a quote or concept from a philosopher in the past - think Marcus Aurelius - translate what the sometimes mumbo jumboish phrase means, and then kind of detail how you can apply it.

This week, its all about how to train your mind for constructive thinking.

One thing I love about the series is that it doesn't dress up the knowledge too much.  It doesn't make it out to be more than it is, or suggest that its great simply because some Greek guy said it 2,000 years …

Why I Gave Up My Opposition To Pink

When I first joined the world of Dad blogging I couldn't help but notice that lots and lots of Dads who blogged hated the way they had to dress their daughters.  There were plenty of articles in the mainstream press on the same issue.  Mommy blogs jumped in as well.

Were we limiting our daughters, or worse yet, damaging them, by dressing them in pink?

I was certain that society limits girls, telling them both subtly and not-so subtly that they can't do certain things.  And sure, an adult is free to do whatever an adult wants, but once those signals are broadcast its hard to overcome, especially when those signals are received early and often.

Now, my daughter wasn't going to run into quite the same situation, because she has to brothers the exact same age so they pretty much all play with the same stuff.  The boys play with Minnie and she plays with trains.  Though, somehow, she shows more interest in Minnie and baby dolls and they have more interest in trains.  Maybe I…

Is Mocking Redheads Bullying? If Not, What Is?

Its Super Bowl time, and since my team didn't make it, I haven't been paying very close attention.  But I got to talking with Aaron Gouveia on Twitter after I noticed one of his tweets about how a redhead would never QB a team to said Super Bowl.  Essentially, Aaron was mocking redheads.  My team doesn't have a redheaded QB, so we are safe (for now!), but I mentioned to him that this might fall under the term of bullying.  Aaron, in case you don't know, is rightfully well known in the Daddy-bloggersphere for his excellent Daddy Files blog.  Seriously, go read it now, and follow @DaddyFiles on Twitter.  And before I really get going on this rant, let me say: I get it.  Even as great as Gouveia is, he probably can't hold candle to the prestige, money and social status of a Pro-Bowl NFL player like Andy Dalton.  Andy Dalton could never do another thing in the NFL and probably still have more name recognition, money and power than Gouveia ever will.  This isn't exa…