Some Basic Parenting Theorems
1. You Will Judge All Children Relative to Your Own
Kids smaller than yours feel ridiculously light. Kids bigger than yours feel super heavy. Likewise, kids shorter than yours appear tiny and kids taller than yours appear huge. This goes for behavior, body types, skin color, everything. You can’t help this bias so just keep it in check and try not to become a judgmental pain in the ass.
2. All Kids Are Special Needs Kids
At various times in their life all young children appear to be retarded, bi-polar or insane. No one escapes this so take comfort that you are not alone.
Some toddlers cry and fight you when their diaper is changed because you are taking their poop away. They don’t yet understand it’s a waste product and instead treat it as a part of their body. Would you want someone to break off your thumb and flush it down the toilet? Of course not! For a brief period in their lives, some toddlers just think about their poop that way. This is a good example an “appears to be insane” moment.
Some bang their head on the floor when they’re upset. Some refuse to drink certain beverages unless it’s in a specific cup. Some are deathly afraid of butterflies.
If you meet a parent that thinks their kid is perfect they are delusional or just lying to hide the painful truth that their kid is, at least occasionally, a basket case.
3. You Live in a Child Centric Universe, Get Used to it
Having a child is a life disrupting event. Raising a child changes you forever. If you don’t feel like your child has taken over your life then you’re slacking off in the parenting department. The sooner you understand this the happier you’ll be.
Example: Your child has been playing quietly for 20 minutes so you decide to call a friend. The minute you say “what’s up?” your child will stop what they are doing and try to get you off the phone. Most likely they will tug at you and say “daddy, daddy” over and over again. You will slowly walk around the house trying to shake them. You’ll hold out your hand like you’re stopping traffic or try shooing them away like an animal. When you finally snap and yell ” what do you fuck do you want?” they will either cry or just stare at you.
So do yourself and your kid a favor. Just don’t do anything (watch a detective show, hold a phone conversation, read a book, etc) that requires your complete attention to accomplish while you kid is awake. You’ll both be happier.
4. Kids Have a Small Vocabulary to Describe a Wide Variety of Experiences
In a kids world it’s either day or night. Up or down. Big or small. It’s not that they don’t notice shades of gray it’s just that they can’t express these subtleties yet. This means you’ll have to rely heavily on context, past experiences and follow up questions to figure out what’s really going on.
Example: If a toddler says their tummy hurts they may be ready to throw up. Or they may be hungry. They don’t have the experience to articulate the difference. As a general rule: If they wake up in the middle of the night and say their tummy hurts, get a steel bowl for them to throw up in. If they say their tummy hurts and it’s around lunchtime them make them some food. This is an example of using “context” to decipher what “tummy hurts” means.
That’s it for now.
File Under: Parenting Theorems – Basic Facts About Raising Children and Parenting – Prenting Truisms – The Truth About Raisng Children – What to Expect When Your Have a Child – Fatherhood Advice