Advice for Young Parents
I am a proud father of none, and all my children have been raised with the same care and thoughtfulness with which I monitor my own dietary and alcohol intake. As such, I have some advice for anxious young parents who may be considering some of the more extreme parenting techniques.
Should I breast-feed my children long after they reach the age of ten? Like many modern parenting techniques, this falls into the category of ‘probably not actually harmful, but very unseemly’. Much like parents who still dress their children when they are teenagers, or fathers who insist on slow-dancing with their daughters in front of everybody, it may be that forcing a child approaching junior high school age to depend on sucking on their mother’s breast in public for nourishment is not causing them any physical or psychological trauma, but it’s probably not helping, either.
Should I join the “Quiverfull” movement? This refers to a Christian dominionist movement that encourages the creation of an army of true believers by means of having women bear as many children as they can until their birth canal collapses like a poorly maintained coal mine in Appalachia. A good rule of thumb to follow is to not have more children than you can remember the names of without the use of a complicated mnemonic device; also, consider the fact that unless you are an android — and you are probably not, if you believe that Jesus wants you to have 24 kids — at a certain point it is not possible to actually take care of so many offspring. So from that point forward, you are not actually raising children; you are raising grandchildren.
Is my child an “Indigo”? As in most things, it is best to apply Occam’s Razor. While it is possible that your self-centered, disobedient, bratty little shit is the super-powered, psionically gifted harbinger of a new age of human development, the odds are substantially better that he is just a jerk, and that you are an asshole of a parent. Something to think about.
Should I attempt to have an orgasm while giving birth to my child? There is a phrase: “Never whistle while you’re pissing.” The gist of this is that you should focus on doing one thing at a time and not mix your pleasures too much, lest you spoil the enjoyment of one at the expense of the other. And while we don’t wish to get into the whole abortion debate here, as a rule, it is considered unwise to do anything to a child immediately before it is born — inject it with drugs, tattoo it in festive colors, punch it very hard in the forehead — that you would not do to a child immediately after it is born. Therefore, unless you are willing to shove a newborn baby’s face against your clitoris unti your are sexually satisfied, then it’s probably best to postpone your personal pleasure until after you have left the maternity ward.
My baby sometimes stays up late and cries. What type of stick should I hit it with? Ask your neighbor this same question about you.
I am preparing my child for a career in youth beauty pageants. What steps should I follow? Simply putting your daughter out in a world that features Bratz dolls, premium tequila, and Florida State University should be more than sufficient to prepare her to think of herself as alternately incredibly entitled and willing to completely debase herself. However, if you want her to be a true champion in the competitive field of pre-adolescent sexual objectification, you might want to consider juvenile pole dancing lessons, a steady diet of hot Chee-tos and Red Bull, and encouraging her father to participate in Purity Balls.
I believe in a form of extremely committed parenting in which I do not leave my child alone for one second and am smug about it. Is this the right path for me? It goes without saying that you are smug about it, but thanks for pointing it out anyway. I am sure your parenting choices are the correct ones, as there is no such thing as a correct form of parenting other than the one you have already decided to use. You will likely enjoy the phone calls you receive on your child’s 34th birthday complaining about how the waiter at Dave & Busters seemed “emotionally distant”, and encouraging a claustrophobic dependency is sure to serve them well in the job market later in in life. However, resist powerfully the urge to be their prom date, and recognize that some people, when asking “Could anyone be a better best friend than your mother?”, may not mean it rhetorically.
Contrary to your previous correspondent, I employ a form of parenting that involves ignoring my child completely so I can keep talking on the phone, and hoping he develops life skills by just picking them up from newspapers and whatnot. I am pleased to hear it, and I’m sure that we’ve met before in various laundromats and supermarkets. Kids today mostly eschew newspapers in favor of the internet, so make sure that phone has a good data plan, but otherwise your idea seems flawless and will almost certainly not result in the development of an affectless sociopath. Please do consider at least some interaction with your children to assure them that they are loved and wanted; this can come in the form of screaming loud obscenities at them in a public place.
I am 13 and my parents say that this is too young to have a baby. But my boyfriend is super hot and has a steady job at the Jiffy Lube, so I want to lock it down before I get bogged down in algebra class and gain a bunch of stress weight. What is the best age for childbirth? There is really no ideal age for childbirth, and since having a baby is all about you, feel free to pursue it whenever there is nothing good on TV. As noted, children tend to raise themselves these days thanks to the world wide web. If you live in area with poor Wi-Fi coverage, the job of raising your children can largely be performed by — depending on your socio-economic circumstances — state employees, your grandparents, or Salvadoran immigrants. So just pull the trigger on that bad boy, and remember the most important thing: no one can tell you how to raise your child. You should be furious with this column for even suggesting otherwise.
Should I eat my placenta? You are aware that there are such things as restaurants and supermarkets, aren’t you?