Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.
1. Lower your standards for cleanliness and order.
2. Did that? Lower them even more.
3. Your house will never look like a magazine spread, period. Embrace that.
4. No matter how many baskets you buy to contain toys, they will always be visible. Embrace the Toys ‘R Us/ frat house-chic decor.
5. You can never have too many Popsicle in the freezer. How many bad moods have been fixed by a simple Popsicle?
6. If you can’t change them, change your perspective. For example I read recently – probably on Satan’s website Pinterest – that toothpaste is great for cleaning things like faucets. So now when I go into the bathroom every day and see toothpaste splatter all over the bathroom faucet I think about how my children have done half the chore of cleaning for me. How considerate of them! Then I wipe it off while cursing.
7. Those chores that no one ever wants to do. Decide if you would rather do it yourself, badger your child to it, or let it go. If you are confused about what to do, see Number 1 on this list.
8. No one cares what is stuffed under your child’s bed, why should you. Unless it is old food. In that case, you should get a dog.
9. If you have boys, your bathroom will always faintly stink like pee. Invest in some Febreeze and count down the days until they move out and you can go visit them and pee on their bathroom floor.
10. Don’t buy white furniture. Unless you enjoy screaming at your children every time they go near it.
11. However bad a situation might seem, one day it will be funny. I have a few for which I am eagerly awaiting for the funny to kick in. Any time now….
12. When your child is a young teen there will be nothing more embarrassing than your very existence. Use this to your advantage. Start planning early.
13. Do not paint any walls in your house with flat paint.
14. Be okay with letting your kids stumble sometimes. Whether that is turning in an assignment late because they didn’t do it or wearing an outfit so hideous you have trouble looking at them without laughing.
15. Noise cancelling headphones are great for blocking out whining, bickering and the endless episodes of Sponge Bob.
16. Socks do not have to match. Every day is Crazy Sock Day at my house, which is infinitely better than Crazy Mom Day.
17. The crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather then save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer. In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do.
18. Your children will not die from eating the occasional hot dog or frozen pizza. And by occasional I mean more than you are really willing to admit.
19. If your children are driving you crazy arguing with each other, start an argument with them. Then your children will bond over their mutual hatred of you and be quiet.
20. Children do not appreciate top sheets or high thread counts. Buy neither.
21. Homework time is the worst time of the day. Help your kids and yourself by having a designated time and a quiet place to do homework. Preferably in a neighbor’s home.
22. Just say No to ironing.
23. Last, but not least, some chocolate and some really bad TV makes everything seem a little better.
By Mackenzie Dawson
This week, a study came out confirming that narcissists are largely bred, not born. The study, conducted by the University of Amsterdam and Ohio State University, found that “narcissism in children is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others.” (That’s scientific-speak for Special Snowflake Syndrome, and the researchers are talking about the other parents at your youth league soccer practice.)
This is great news, because it means there are steps we can take to prevent unleashing more little egotists on the world.
And this is bad news, because these steps are actually pretty common-sense; the study cited parental warmth, not praise, as a counterbalance to the trend. It’s also kind of depressing that we’ve even come to a point where narcissism — the increase of which contributes to societal problems such as aggression and violence, according to the research — has become so widespread that an entire study was conducted in the first place. (Then again, selfie sticks are now sold in drugstores for $24.95, so the mystery ends there.)
Anyone who’s spent time with a toddler recently does not need to be told that narcissism is the status quo in children. Remember how Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice? In kids, it bends toward narcissism.
After all, we are talking about a segment of the population that sees nothing wrong in waking their parents up at 4 a.m. to demand pancakes and episodes of “Dinosaur Train.”
And that’s why parents exist. It’s partly to keep their kids clothed and fed and safe and loved, and partly to prevent them from becoming Caligula.
The way to raise a narcissist is pretty evident: Tell your child they are wonderful, the very best, the most special of the specials on the sports field and the classroom and in the country and possibly on the planet — and keep telling them that. Or, just be a narcissist yourself. Done. Cool, we’ve settled that.
Modal TriggerChildren need to accept that they’ll hear “no” in life — and it’s best for them to learn this early.Photo: Shutterstock.com
But what if you’d like to raise someone who’s confident, kind and aware of others?
Here are nine ways to make sure your child doesn’t become a narcissist.
Say no. A recent school of thought seems to treat “no” as a kind of ultimate buzzkill, a tamping down on childish creativity and artistic self-expression. This is nuts. It’s fine to tell your children no, especially when they’re trying to set something on fire. In fact, a lot of life is being told no and then trying to come up with alternative plans. They might as well learn this young, so it doesn’t come as a shock five minutes into their first job.
Teach them basic manners. A lack of manners is the ultimate form of narcissism. Whether it’s someone who is rude to waiters, has bad table manners or can’t be bothered to dress for the occasion, lack of manners is signaling to the world that you have no need to conform to any silly “social codes” or “basic ideas of decency,” and that all that counts is your own comfort. But wait, you say. There are plenty of well-mannered narcissists! Yes, but they’re a lot more pleasant than the ones who sneeze into their dinner napkins or take food off your plate without asking.
Teach them how to manage frustration. Much has been written about good old-fashioned grit, a person’s ability to confront failure and learn from it. Studies have found it to be one of the best indicators of later happiness in adults. Teach a kid how to overcome adversity, and you’re also teaching him or her about disappointment, another invaluable life lesson that’s cut off when parents attempt to cocoon their children from anything unpleasant.
Pull a Louie. There was a fantastic episode of “Louie” a few seasons back where his daughter is enraged because her sister got something that she didn’t.
“Listen,” he says. “You’re never gonna get the same things as other people. It’s never gonna be equal. It’s not gonna happen ever in your life, so you must learn that now, OK? The only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have . . . as much as them.” Pretty much everything Louis C.K. has to say about parenting is dead on, so if you’re looking for more pointers and great life lessons, just cue up your Netflix account.
Be kind. To other people, not just your child. This one might seem painfully obvious, but it’s worth remembering that your kids don’t just notice how you treat them — they notice how you interact with the world. You know how some of the most successful people are the ones who are unfailingly lovely to everyone, from shoe shiners to CEOs? People like that lead by example, creating wonderful environments to be emulated. Parents who are rude to everyone but their children are sending a message that there are people who matter (their kids!) and people who don’t (everyone else!).
Modal TriggerTraveling with your kids will reinforce that it is not acceptable to simply exist in a bubble of people who reflect their own worldview.Photo: Shutterstock.com
Travel with them. Take trips with your kids, whether it’s to another country, another state or even a town nearby that’s completely different from the one you live in. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A change of scenery will be enough to reinforce to your kids that not everyone lives the way they do: that life goes on differently in other places, that people come from different races and nationalities and economic situations, and that it is not acceptable to simply exist in a bubble of people who reflect their own worldview.
Love and approval are different. Loving your kids unconditionally is one thing, but that love doesn’t need to translate into constant, unconditional, 24/7 approval and praise of everything they do. You can love someone while redirecting their behavior or being disappointed by their actions. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Modal TriggerA recent study found that reading fiction helps people improve their empathy.Photo: Shutterstock.com
Read to them. A recent study found that reading fiction helps people improve their empathy, because it encourages them to place themselves in others’ lives and understand their actions. In that way, reading is like traveling — with your mind.
Run errands with them. Not all of life can be fascinating, interesting and wonderful, and no lesson reinforces that better than bringing your kids along on some errands. While the recent parenting emphasis on “quality time” is fine, boredom is its own powerful life lesson. So is the message that you have to spend a portion of each day doing things that are necessary, though not magical, and that not every activity revolves around kids. It’s also a great time to bond with your kids in a casual, low-pressure setting.
"...Higher self-esteem functions like an emotional immune system. When our self-esteem is higher, we are less affected by stress and anxiety, we experience rejections and failures as less hurtful, and we recover from them more quickly. In this way, our self-esteem functions like an emotional immune system that buffers us from emotional and psychological injuries. Obviously we should be doing everything we can to protect and boost our self-esteem, and yet...
Most of the damage to our self-esteem is self-inflicted...."
Parents: What do your kids want more of?
In a survey of a thousand families, Ellen Galinsky, the head of the Families and Work Institute and the author of Mind in the Making, asked children, “If you were granted one wish about your parents, what would it be?”
Most parents predicted their kids would say spending more time with them. They were wrong.
The kids’ number one wish was that their parents were less tired and less stressed.