Attachment parenting - keeping your children close and nurturing them constantly - has received much attention and a fair measure of criticism. Spending every waking moment with a child can smother children and make life not worth living for the parents. Many are advocating a return to the Halcyon Days when children were best seen and not heard. When mothers and fathers were terrible, godlike figures in a child's life instead of fleshy jungle gyms that dispense food. This handy guide will teach you detachment parenting techniques to help improve your life and the lives of your children.
You have been following your kid around, letting them sleep in bed with you, breast feeding them until you feel facial hair, and hugging them when they do something bad. Your kid is going to grow up as a big, doughy ball of entitlement with no ability to cope with stress, rejection or the other negativity life will throw at their face like a hot bucket of piss. You need to start by getting some distance from your child. Let them know that mommy and daddy will not always be there for them by not always being there for them.
When you are in the room with your child and he begins to cry, calmly get up, turn your back and pretend to talk on a telephone as you walk outside. Hold up a hand to your child as if to say, "Give me a minute, this is an important call." If the child is still crying, cover up the receiver of your phone or pretend phone, glare icily, and say, "Excuse me." If they are still crying, walk out the front door and stand in the yard pretending to talk to somebody on the phone. If your crying child walks up to a window and pleads, "Maaaaawmmmyyyy maawwwwwmmy" then laugh as if the person on the phone has told you a funny joke.
When out and about with your child, pay little attention to where they are and express no interest in their safety. If they aren't getting the message, try leaving them somewhere. Try on an express train, atop a washer or dryer in a laundromat, standing up in a grocery cart in the cart corral as you drive away, midway up spiral staircases, wandering on a balcony, or leaning precariously over a well trying to see to the bottom. Eventually, they will get the message: you can take them or leave them.
Perhaps the most important lesson of detachment parenting is that actions have consequences. It used to take a quick trip to a hot burner on the stove to learn these sorts of lessons, but these days big government has decided it's not okay to hold your baby's hand over an open flame. The alternative is to let them get into whatever trouble they want. They only way they are going to learn to be cautious is to experience. Hornets, hot coals and broken bottles are nature's way of teaching. Box jellyfish, hand grenades and Madden cover shoots are advanced lessons better suited for tweens and up.
The one exception to this rule is the stranger danger rule. Strangers really are too dangerous to let kids learn about on their own. Try introducing them to a relative who is creepy but not dangerous. Maybe your uncle who stuffs animals as a hobby or that distant cousin who spent some time in jail for shooting her ex-husband with a pellet gun.
"Anyone can be the President" is a canard of attachment parenting, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your child, like most children, is likely to be slightly above average at best. They face a long road of disappointments. You're not doing them any favors by telling them they can be an astronaut; you're setting them up for a miserable future as the guy who mops NASA. It's time to lower their expectations by gently countering their dreams with realistic goals.
If they tell you they want to be the President, gently steer them to something more "fun" and realistic, like Deputy Secretary of Commerce or the intern a congressman accidentally kills during choking sex. If they want to be a policeman or a firefighter, remind them that the world also needs warehouse security guards and guys who recharge your old fire extinguisher. Maybe your little one is very dramatic and fancies a future in acting. No point bringing up "naked movies" just yet, but you can take a few minutes to introduce them to various Youtube compilations of people missing pool jumps or accidentally setting their head on fire.
You should also set expectations by example. Don't let them perceive you as successful or happy. Complain constantly about work. Describe belittling situations where your supervisor made you eat a cookie off the floor, told you to take off your shirt and make your belly fat talk, or forced you to ride in the trunk during a business trip in a crowded rental car. Repeatedly say things like, "I should have been a janitor" or "flipping burgers would have been better than this" or "I wish I had settled for selling my bodily fluids for dope money."
Set low personal goals as well. Tell them they'll be lucky if they can find someone to marry them in a video game.
Do you have a fixed stare, looking off to a far away place where mommy and daddy never had these little brats and instead decided to travel Europe and play video games? Good. Sometimes just get in a car and go. Drive as far as the tank will take you. Don't worry about a babysitter. So long as the kids are alive when you come home, the new parenting technique is working.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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