Parenting tips you won’t find anywhere else

December 21, 2010

One of the most popular posts of all time on this blog has been the one in which I doled out advice to new parents from the vantage point of an objective bystander.

Taking inspiration (and comfort that no one called me names, given that I don’t have kids) from that, I now present you with a list of absolute no-no’s that parents of toddlers should consciously pay heed to.

Some may seem familiar, some not so much, but you’ll agree that most things on this list have the potential of leaving lifelong scars.

And if you’re one to make New Year resolutions, then here’s something to help you get started.
Here goes:


  • Buy an answering machine: Don’t make your kids pick up the phone and lie for you if you don’t want to hear them, years down the line, say: “Well, you’re the one who taught me how to lie!” Especially for folks in countries outside of the U.S. where answering machines aren’t quite the norm — it’s a small investment with relatively big returns.

  • Try not to have arguments in public: More than being embarrassed, kids feel resentful of their parents indulging in a verbal fist fight in public. Don’t wash your laundry where everyone can see it. And please be a team in social settings, even if it’s just a pretense. When you do fight, reassure your children that adults don’t always agree, that it’s “normal” for a couple to voice their differing opinions, but it doesn’t mean that their parents hate each other or are going to get a divorce tomorrow.

  • Don’t ask your kid(s) to take sides: It’s one of the worst, and yet the most common, things parents do. Why would you put your child in a spot? Why have him/her choose between their parents? Little kids can’t comprehend why mommy is saying nasty things about daddy (or vice versa) … sometimes you might just say it in jest, but keep in mind that three-to-four-year-olds can’t understand sarcasm or veiled humor.

  • Lock the door to your bedroom: Once your kid has graduated from your bedroom, please make sure that you lock your room from the inside every night. You don’t want the kid walking in on you in the middle of “the act.” You might think that li’l ones don’t remember these things. Well, let me just say, they do. And some things just can’t be unseen.

  • Don’t make your kids technophiles: If you hand them the iPhone at the movies or the iPad so you can have a decent adult conversation, you lose the right to complain about your kids demanding gadgets all the time. Seriously. If you want them to read, listen to music, enjoy the outdoors, then you have to consciously provide them those opportunities. Have a meal together without all of you staring at the TV. If you make a routine of it from the time they’re little, they’ll come to know that as the norm, not the exception y’all make for Thanksgiving.

  • Don’t leave your precious cargo unmonitored: More and more cases of child abuse within families are emerging in recent times. While parents are loathe to admitting that one of their relatives could be capable of such a heinous act, if your child says someone touched them inappropriately then someone most likely did. Never forget that your first responsibility is your child’s safety. If you don’t know a cousin well enough, don’t have your child sleep in their room. Even if you do, it’s best to be safe than sorry.

  • Don’t sprinkle your scolding sessions with always and never: Sound familiar? Brings back memories? Well, don’t do it with your child. Refrain from using sentences that brandish your child irresponsible for life or squash his or her chances of improvement.

  • Don’t try to be perfect: This is by far the hardest thing for parents. The more you strive for “perfection” — an unattainable ideal in my books — the more disappointed your kids will be as they grow up and realize you’re just as flawed as them. Just have fun with your children, discipline them, spend time with them, give them the tools they’ll need to enjoy life and make the most of it. I encourage you to read the post Parents aren’t Perfect — it’ll allow you to say, “it’s ok to be human.”

It’s unavoidable for you to damage your kids. Our parents did it to us, despite their best intentions, and we will invariably pass some of the baggage on to the next generation.

But if we can lighten the load they carry even a little bit, shouldn’t we try?

I am sure there are many more things that can be added to this list of absolute no-no’s. Care to contribute?

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Parenting tips you wont find anywhere else

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2 Responses to Parenting tips you won’t find anywhere else

  1. Ram SantoshNo Gravatar on December 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    super post…specially the points that cover taking sides..always and never..and trying to be perfect..some people are good as strangers,as friends,as neighbours as colleagues..but as parents they suck!

  2. Rahul MiglaniNo Gravatar on February 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    This is a wow post !


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