Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

Sometimes I have to bite my tongue to avoid giving unsolicited parenting advice. I don't claim to know everything, and I only have two kids so I'm hardly an expert, but sometimes its hard just to mind my own business.

When I'm talking to someone who just had her first baby and is much younger than me and didn't grow up around babies and lots of younger siblings or even have a couple of nephews before they had their own kids, I sometimes feel like I know way more than them. When they feed their baby everytime it cries, because they don't know what else to do, I have to make myself stop talking. Its better they learn from experience than have me acting like I'm the world's leading authority on breastfeeding.

I have occasional questions about my kids, but I usually direct them towards WebMD. Better that than get unsolicited advice from people who I don't agree with, which is the reason I don't offer my advice unless its requested. Besides, jello water doesn't reduce fevers and going out into the cold doesn't give you a cold.

There are things I know for sure though. Things I'm fairly confident I won't ever do as a parent.

Do not, under any circumstances forget your youngest child at home when you go on vacation to Paris for Christmas, leaving them to fend off imcompetent burglars by themself. That's a no-no.

Don't leave your Babe Ruth baseball laying out for your kid to get to, leaving them to use it to play with because their friend busted the guts out of your only baseball, then they hit their first homerun with it into someone's yard with a beastly dog and they have to find some crazy way to get it back. Try to avoid this one.

Don't ostracize your youngest daughter, leaving her with only a crab and a fish for friends, just because she falls in love with a human and you hate them. She will end up making a deal with a sea witch, sacrificing her fantastic singing voice, when all along you had the power to transform her yourself, eliminating the need for evil sea witches. This one's a long shot, but it could happen. I still dream of a place where fathers don't reprimand their daughters, who are just bright young women, sick of swimmin', ready to stand.

If you move somewhere new, make sure your son isn't getting bullied by kids who take karate from a merciless teacher, leaving him no choice but to learn kung fu from an old man who kills flies with chopsticks and makes you wax his car all the time. There's just too much violence and leg-sweeping involved in this scenario for me. I can't take it.

Be careful of how overprotective you are of your children. You could push them away to a point where they feel like they have to swim out and touch a boat just to prove you wrong, then end up getting captured by an Australian dentist, who will put them in a tank at his office. After that you will have no choice but to battle sharks, hitchhike with sea turtles and catch a ride in a whale, all with someone who suffers from short-term memory loss, at least I think they'll have short-term memory loss, I can't remember. Eventually you will be reunited, having learned a valuable lesson. This one is too action packed and fishy for me, so I'm going to try and avoid it if possible.

After all is said and done, just be the kind of parent you think your kids need. But don't ask me for advice.

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