By Popular Demand: The Aravan Guide to Parenting
Posted by Alan Edwards
A few weeks back, I provided some really awful parenting advice as part of my series about weight loss (sample: “Show your kids the back of your hand”). I included the caveat that no one should listen to any of my advice about anything ever, but then a weird thing happened. People, people with children, people with actual living human beings under their care and guidance, thought that I should write the parenting guide I’d jokingly referred to.
Well, OK. Let’s do this thing.
Because why the hell not? I’m a parenting expert, because I don’t have any squealing little brats that I constantly coddle and gloss over the sociopathic and demented shit they do. I mean, I was a kid once, I HAD parents, so I’m as much an expert as the next guy. I can see the forest for the trees and all that shit. Actually, I’m probably more qualified to be an expert in bee-eating than parenting, but whatever. As long as you don’t actually listen to a single thing I say ever, you’ll do fine.
I bet you’re saying to yourself right now “Christ, this guy goes on forever and yada yada get to the fucking point already” – but you might be saying “If this guy has no kids and gives shitty advice, why is he writing this?” Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve read blogs from bright, talented people worried about how their raising their kids and if they’re doing it right. Same with actual publications from like newspapers and whatnot. It seems like nowadays you can’t swing a diaper packed with the runny remains of pureed green peas and apricots without hitting some stupid internet or newspaper article talking about the fucking “Mommy Wars” and all the ridiculous bullshit that goes along with it. Breast-feeding turns your children into superhuman beings made of pure illiaster and awesomeness that will be perfect in every way vs. Breast-feeding sucks and makes my tits sag and I have to get up every 3 minutes to let this mewling little parasite attach itself to my body and drain the lifeforce from me and if my fucking husband doesn’t get his fucking ass out of bed at 4 fucking 30 and make a batch of fucking formula to shove down that kid’s fucking throat I am going to smother it with this fucking Elmo doll, and if you shove that fucking milking pump in my face I will kick you so hard in the crotch your eyes will bleed. Or its Natural childbirth and proper breathing techniques are better for your child than getting pain medication and will make you bond with your child in a way that no one on Earth has ever managed before and your child will lead the universe to an age of peace and harmony unrivalled in legend and story versus You better fucking give me that epidural or I will fucking END THE LIVES OF EVERY FUCKING PERSON IN THIS ROOM because we do not live in the fucking Dark Ages and I’m not fucking expected to squat in the middle of a fucking field and go on harvesting fucking wheat or oats or barley or what the fuck ever and have this fucking baby because we have fucking ADVANCED CIVILIZATION now that allows me to do this without feeling the fact that my fucking UTERUS IS STRETCHED TO THE SIZE OF A FUCKING BASKETBALL and this joyous fucking occasion would be a shit-ton better if I was high as a fucking kite.
And that doesn’t even go into the shit about helicopter parenting or photos of some chick breast-feeding a five-year-old or what the fuck else parents use against each other to lend some degree of meaning to their otherwise miserable lives slavishly devoted to the whims of a shrieking mass of insane little dictators. My car seat is better than your car seat. You’re holding your child wrong. You should spend 27 hours a day playing with your child, all scheduled out into precise increments of learning-based fun using only wooden toys. I played our child classical music while it was in the womb, and that’s why your son will be destined to be a ditch-digger. That’s what 99% of every article I’ve ever seen that talks about parenting (and yes, I read them for the same reason people slow down to look at an accident) seems to be about – this free-floating anxiety that YOU, whoever you might be, is a shitty parent and are ruining your children’s lives forever.
So that’s why I’m here. I have advice for you. It will help.
First off: Yes, you ARE going to fuck up your children.
That’s right. You are fucking up your kids and will continue to do so. You are fundamentally and permanently warping their sense of perspective, right and wrong, everything. It doesn’t matter if you have them enrolled in self-help yoga sessions at the age of two, home-school them, cultivate a great sense of self-worth through dynamic and organized team-building sports activities, arrange play-dates with a diverse group of other children every day to teach them about important life lessons or any of that shit. It also doesn’t matter if you throw parties at your house and get shit-faced and your kid finds you passed out in the azaleas the following afternoon. It just doesn’t matter. You are going to fuck up your kid’s development.
It’s called Growing Up.
Your kid’s gonna see all sorts of shit, whether it’s well-meant or not. They are going to make up their own minds about it, because they are separate entities from you. As long as you love them and they know it, they will forgive you for the stupid shit you do, and you are going to do stupid shit. Serving them only organic locally-produced vegetables and teaching them valuable lessons about sustainability is just as stupid as ordering pizza. Just because you think you’re smugly doing The Right Thing doesn’t mean jack shit to a kid. You will fuck them up, and it’s OK, because everyone else is doing the exact same thing. Doesn’t matter if you breastfeed them or not. Doesn’t matter if you carry them in an ergonomic sling 20 hours a day so they can feel your body warmth or not. None of that shit really makes a fucking bit of difference. Every child is fucked up when they grow up. That’s Adulthood.
Don’t try to reason with the insane.
I see this shit all the time. Someone’s two-year-old does something stupid that two-year-olds do, and a parent rushes over and pulls the child away and explains in a calm and rational manner exactly what their little angel did and tries to make them understand that this is Wrong and that shouldn’t do these things ever again and ask their little ball of wonderfullness if they understand. Allow me to answer on their behalf:
NO DUMBASS THEY DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND THEY ARE TWO FUCKING YEARS OLD AND DO NOT YET HAVE THE CAPACITY TO REASON.
So stop trying to use reason on them. Kids don’t get logic and reasoning at a young age. You know what they understand? I WANT THAT. That can be anything from a nipple to a doll to a pile of dogshit. They don’t care. They just WANT. And most parents feed into that by giving them everything they want at all times because they want to avoid the ear-splitting airhorn squeal that every kid does when they don’t get what they want. It’s a vicious cycle. So, for god’s sake, quit trying to reason with them and try to have conversations and all that shit. It makes you look like an addled old heroin addict trying to discuss philosophy with a potted plant, and is not even as effective.
Which leads to….
Don’t let your child tell you NO in a public place without some serious fucking consequences.
There is nothing more awesomely humiliating than having your kid say NO real loud right in your face when you’re in a restaurant or grocery store or wherever. I say “awesomely” because I don’t have kids and I find it awesome to see an adult get faced by their little bundle of joy right in front of everyone. I mean, every single person who witnesses that, childless or not, has to fight a little smirk (or lets it shine, which is my method, because I am a truly horrible human being) of superiority, because they’re either thinking a) “I don’t have kids and don’t have to put up with that bullshit”, or b) “MY little angel would never do that, and therefore I am a better parent than THEM”. It’s universal, can’t be helped. So don’t let it happen to you.
A couple weeks ago, I was in a restaurant for lunch and a woman and her kid sat near me with the grandparents. The kid was like 5 or 3 or 12 or something – how the fuck should I know? They all look alike to me – and could walk and talk, and especially backtalk. I guess he was probably 4 or 3, whatever, and he gets in the chair and is standing on it. Mommy says, “Please Hayden or Holden or whatever fucking trendy fucking pseudo-intellectual name I’ve given you to make it seem like I’m a sophisticated and worldly person, sit in the seat.” The kid looks at her in the face, like 4 inches away, the kid fucking leans into his mother’s face, and says as loud as his fucking toddler lungs can manage, “NO!” Mommy says, “Please, Aiden or Tyler or whatever, please sit in the seat for Mommy.” The kid’s already fucking won. He knows it, Mommy knows it, the grandparents are probably picturing their daughter as a child in her pretty little dress sassing them to hell and back and are thinking “payback is a mother-fucker, ain’t it?” and they certainly know it, and me and every other patron in the restaurant knows it. So Mommy just gives up and turns away because she doesn’t need to be further humiliated and tries to act like it’s no big deal while Addler or Constantine or whatever starts banging the salt shaker on the table while making truck noises.
Don’t do that. Don’t let your kid face you in public. You outweigh them. You control their fucking existence. You can pick them up under the arms and carry them back to the car no matter how much their little arms and legs flail. USE THAT POWER. If they won’t behave properly, and when I say properly, I mean they don’t disturb anyone else ever and they listen to every word you say and act like the second-class citizens they are, then remove them from the situation. They don’t get the Big Bopper’s Little Buddies Chicken Finger Meal they wanted. They get to get back in the car and strapped in and enjoy a nice meal of boiled brussels sprouts when they get home. “But that punishes meeeeee,” you say, “because I don’t get to have a nice meal at a restaurant like normal people dooooooo.” That’s right. You know why? Because you can’t have a normal meal with a biting pants-shitting maniacal sociopath at the table who demands everything and gets what they want at every turn. You want to go to a restaurant and you have a small child? Get a fucking babysitter. OR teach them how to behave properly.
Well, I’ll tell you.
Fear is the beginning of wisdom.
The Bible says some fucked-up shit sometimes (“Hey, ladies, while you’re on your period, it’d be great if you’d exile yourself from the rest of the community because you are unclean in the sight of God, mmmkay?”), but some of it is good advice. You want your kids to respect and obey you? They sure as fuck better fear you, then. When you’re afraid of the consequences of acting like a little shit, then you are less likely to act as such. Kids learn that shit quick. They don’t understand logic or decorum or Inside Voices or any of that shit, but they sure as fuck can understand Fear. If they are afraid of what Mommy or Daddy will do if they’re bad, they are less likely to be bad. That is a Parenting Fact. And don’t try to make one parent the Enforcer or some shit – the “You wait until your Father comes home” angle – because that makes the other parent look like a useless pussy that can be rolled over at will. Nope, your kids should be afraid of what either of you will do.
That way, when your kids fear you, you no longer need to even open your mouth to make them stop acting like little idiots. A narrowed eye, an arched eyebrow, a tapping finger – all of these things can become the trigger that your kids learn is the Sign of the Oncoming Apocalypse. If you aren’t sure what is an effective nonverbal tool to communicate to your children that if they don’t stop whatever it is they’re doing, they could potentially wake up in a hovel in Austria, then I have the following exercise you can practice:
Go to a mirror to properly judge and adjust as necessary. In the mirror, look at yourself and narrow your eyes until they achieve the proper level of Cold Slit. Set your mouth in a grim line. Raise your chin up slightly but deliberately while keeping your eyes locked. Make a fist with one hand and bring it slowly to your throat, miming a punch. Repeat this gesture three times. In a quiet but stern voice that can only be heard by the children near you, say “I will punch you in the throat.” Say this in an even tone, bereft of any emotion. Lower your fist. Continue the stare.
If your kids don’t respond to that, punch them in the throat.
Do NOT let a child under the age of, say, twelve, go up to the all-you-can-eat buffet unattended. And don’t let them touch a fucking thing.
I’ve seen this happen a billion times or so. Some kid who can barely see over the goddamn shelf will pull their precious little fingers out of their noses and shove it into the banana pudding and mush it around and stick it in their mouths and not like it and so will return the handful of pudding back into the tray. Kids are fucking disgusting. Don’t let them near anyone’s food. They are germ-riddled little Typhoid Marys and should probably be left in a cardboard box until they’re 15 and can get a job.
Don’t take your kid to a non-kid’s movie, or any baby anywhere.
Seriously. If you bring your baby to a movie, you deserve a swift hard kick to the crotch for two straight hours, because that’s what you’re doing to everyone else in the theater. You know where babies belong? ELSEWHERE. Anywhere that people who didn’t actively accept the fact that there might be babies present would like to go. That means a) home or b) their grandparent’s home or c) wherever the fuck it is that people take their babies to goo and gah over, which does NOT include the workplace, restaurants, theaters, museums, bars, or anywhere that people like to enjoy themselves. Your baby sucks ass. You think it’s awesome. We don’t. Keep that shit to yourself.
And when they aren’t babies, they’re still almost as bad. Don’t bring your five-year-old to a packed showing of the Avengers, unless you thrive on the feeling of a hundred people hating your fucking guts. And if you do indeed thrive on that feeling, then don’t be surprised when you get curbstomped and your kid grows up an orphan eating cold gruel and learning Cockney. Children’s movies are the only thing that your bratty little shit should see in a theater. If you think your kid needs to be exposed to an adult’s movie, have the fucking decency to get it on Netflix or DVD or whatever and keep them at home away from actual human beings.
Childbirth is not a miracle, and your child is not a genius.
“The Miracle of Childbirth” is a fucking bullshit line to make parents feel special. A miracle is a once in a lifetime event that can’t be explained by science. It’s no longer a miracle after it’s been done 10 billion times and happens every fucking day. Every fucking moron and asshole and douchebag you’ve ever met in your life was also born. So stop calling it a miracle. It’s not special. It might be special FOR YOU, but no one else gives a shit. We’ve all been through it before.
Same goes for your kid. They’re awesome and special and sweet and wonderful to you and your immediate relations and to no one else. I don’t give a shit about your fucking kid, so don’t talk to me about it. The people in your office? They just want to hear that you’re up half the night and fucking miserable so they can be smug. And for the love of all that is holy in the sight of Richard Dawson, quit telling people that your child is a genius. I hear this from every fucking parent ever. They’re a genius. They were painting with their own shit from the age of two months? Wow. Fucking wow. Every time I hear a parent say that I want to write it down, keep their contact information for the next fifteen years, and if by that time their child hasn’t cured cancer and proven Einstein wrong and invented cold fusion then I get to call them up and say “BUT YOU SAID YOUR FUCKING KID WAS A GENIUS.” Just stop with that shit already.
For that matter, stop with the Measurables. “My kid lifted his head faster than your kid.” “My kid learned to crawl 17% faster than the average child does.” “OH MY GOD MY CHILD HASN’T ROLLED OVER ON HIS OWN YET AND HE SHOULD HAVE! I NEED TO FIND A CLIFF TO HURL IT OFF OF.” Just fucking stop. No one gives a shit, except other parents who can beat your kids’ high score. Other parents think you’re lying, and those of us without kids couldn’t possibly give less of a fuck. If you gotta track that shit, keep it between you and your kid doctor. If it isn’t a warning sign of some ailment, fucking let it go. Just because your kid potty-trained 6 months early doesn’t mean he’s destined to become Nikola Tesla. And even if it did, Tesla died broke and alone, so chill the fuck out already. Last time I checked, there was no question about potty training on a job application.
Oh, and this needs to be said, even it has nothing to with parenting: The fucking Luvs commercial that feature the Olympic Fucking Games of filling a diaper with shit is the worst fucking abomination of all time. Worse than cancer, obese people in thongs, skinny jeans on dudes, Ted Bundy, everything. It’s fucking disgusting. I want to find the advertising people behind that idea and everyone who approved it and drown them in a pool filled with baby shit.
(Updated because I forgot this part) Leashes are good.
Go ahead and grab a good sturdy leash from any pet store. Everyone will be grateful to you.
That’s all I got. To sum it up: keep your kids afraid of you, keep control, and don’t bring them around human beings until they can say “Yes sir/ma’am”, “Thank you”, and “please” and NOTHING ELSE, and only speak when spoken to. That’s good parentin’.
(And a brief aside, which is completely unnecessary but needs to be said in all seriousness. If you abuse a child, whether it’s physically, mentally, or god fucking forbid sexually, then you are the biggest piece of shit on the face of this fucking earth and would be better off dead. Like, right fucking now. Just blow your fucking head off and make the world a better place for once in your miserable rotten fucking life. That is all.)