Some Parenting Tips from a Childless Millenial

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 at 8:04 PM
Some Parenting Tips from a Childless Millenial by Melanie Overturf
Evaluating positive and negative parenting can lead to successful child rearing.

Most of my high school friends are somehow taking care of children while I sit here and panic because I don’t remember the last time I fed my Neopets. If I forget to feed my Neopets (the longest was about five years), how am I supposed to ever take care of a child? Well, I don’t plan to ever take care of child. I don’t like them, I don’t want them and I’m physically incapable of having them. It works in my favor. What do I do with all my child-free time, you wonder? Wait, you mean besides going to restaurants and enjoying my meal in peace and listening to gangster rap whenever I want?

I spend a lot of my time on the Internet picking apart how other people raise the kids I don’t have. I don’t have kids, so I’ll never get to raise one the way I think it should be raised. And that’s cool, if you know me, you know I’m really good at having opinions about things on the Internet. A lot of my problems with parenting isn’t even just from this side of the computer screen, it’s from things I have to deal with at family events that drive me so far up the wall; I’m not sure I’m related. I have a ton of problems with the stupid things people teach their kids.

I’d like to first address the horrifically toxic mindset of “If so-and-so is mean to you, it’s only because they like you.” What? Okay, so when your child is an adult and their partner abuses them, you’re going to look at them and tell them it’s because their abusive partner really cares about them? No, you’re going to tell them to run, and fast. As adults, the idea of someone being terrible to you because they like you is ludicrous. So why do people teach it to their children? No, really, why?

You’re not only conditioning your child to think that abuse is okay, you’re conditioning them to be an abuser. Think about this for a moment. You are actually teaching your child you have to be mean to someone to show them you care. That’s really not okay, on any level. We should probably stop that. I wouldn’t want to see my hypothetical child abuse your child or be abused by your child, and you probably shouldn’t want that either.

Also, let’s make everyone uncomfortable for a real long moment. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. “Oh, Timmy is going to be such a lady killer someday,” because their four month old Timmy reacted positively to a female’s attention. Well, he’s a baby. Babies tend to react positively to everyone’s attention. This isn't something that changes later on in life. Timmy’s parents will continue on with this kind of behavior for a very long time, and so will Timmy’s friend, Annie’s parents. Years later, Annie and Timmy will meet on the first day of second grade. When Annie goes home, she will excitedly tell her parents about her new friend. And how will her parents reply? “Do you like Timmy? Is Timmy your boyfriend? Do you want to marry him someday?”

I’m not even going to touch on why you shouldn’t assume your child is straight. But what do I know, maybe your kids are straight, but heteronormativity isn’t actually the point. The point is that Annie and Timmy are six or seven years old. And their parents are already introducing complex, adult concepts to them. Romantic relationships are for adults. They don’t tend to be healthy or work out until you’ve actually reached maturity. As a child, the only thing they should be doing is learning and playing with friends. This whole “Are they your boyfriend?” nonsense only teaches the child that boys and girls can’t be just friends. Then, the parents are absolutely freaked out when their 13-year-old comes home going on about her new boyfriend that she just met and how they’re gonna get married. Congratulations, look what you’ve done.

I know parents are proud of their children. I get that, I do. Children are, essentially, an extension of yourself. I get that and I feel that way about my beanie (I already told you I can’t have kids, which leaves room for me to form really ridiculous attachments to things). I understand that you’ll always want the absolute best for your child and you think they deserve the world. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your child does not deserve the world. Neither do you. I don’t either. We’re all human, and none of us are entitled to anything except laughter, pain and death.

If we want anything else, it’s up to us to work for it. If we spend half of our children’s lives teaching them life isn’t fair, why do we spend the other half teaching them they’re entitled to other people’s food? I seriously cannot stand this and it’s my biggest pet peeve. “You can’t bring food around my kid and not share.” Well, first of all, if I can bring my food around you, an adult human, I can bring my food around them, tiny humans. They are not entitled to what is mine just because they’re children. They aren’t my children, I don’t have to feed them and I definitely don’t have to share my things with them. I know, I know, it sounds really selfish that I won’t share with small children, but look at it this way. When a child goes to a friend’s house and steals something because they wanted it, you scold them and tell them they can’t have things that belong to other people just because they want them.

Why is my food any different? Instead of teaching your child that everyone has to share everything, teach them that they don’t have to share unless they’re comfortable. Always make sure your child is comfortable, above all else. This leads into the next part of parenting that completely blows my mind.

If your child tells you that hugging or kissing a relative goodbye makes them uncomfortable, why the actual hell would you make them do it anyway? Seriously, your tiny human is just that: a tiny human. They are not something you can control like a toy. We warn our children about “stranger danger,” but most cases of child assault are committed by someone the child knew personally. I don’t care if your child is just having a bad day and doesn’t want to hug grandma, if they say they don’t want to touch someone, please don’t force them. Telling your child, “But Aunt Lucy is older, you have to do what she says,” teaches your children they have to do what an adult says even if it makes them uncomfortable because adults are more important than they are.

None of these things are okay. I don’t have children, I can’t have children, and that has given me more time than I would like to analyze where other parents go wrong. All of the aforementioned things lead up to unfortunate situations that nobody wants to see a child in, and we can’t blame the children for what their parents teach them.

Instead of evaluating your child’s behavior, maybe evaluate your parenting.

Melanie Overturf is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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