Ten ways to parent poorly

Published 8:22 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

By Rex Alphin

1. Spend little time at home. There are numerous reasons one can use to justify such actions and pacify the conscience. “Just trying to feed my family,” is a popular phrase. Others include “They will appreciate it one day,” “Trying to get my house paid off” and “One day I will slow down.”

2. Make negative statements that have an absolute connotation, such as, “Why do you always…? “Can’t you ever…?” “You never…” and “I just wish one time you would…” These statements, when repeated enough, will work toward the child defining himself or herself as such, with the real possibility of lasting a lifetime.

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3. Condescension can have incredible results. Make all their opinions seem ridiculous. You, after all, have all the experience. If you start this when they’re young, they might well cease to offer opinions and come to think their comments are absurd to everyone. It will also help you to maintain your exalted position in their eyes.

4. Teach them this life is all there is and all that matters. Do not allude to a reference point outside themselves except at rare times of crisis. If you must allude to a god, refer to something like the “man upstairs” that is neither intimate nor interested in the affairs of men. This approach will cement in their mind they are, ultimately, alone.

5. See danger in everything and communicate it. Suspect everyone of ulterior motives and foster a general distrust of the world. Allude to the fact that everyone is trying to “get over” on you, whether they say it or not. This will ruin your child’s ability to trust another person completely and will doom his or her future spouse.

6. Do not commit to matrimony simply for the sake of a child. This will teach your child that your independence is more important than his or her security and will pattern an adherence to freedom over commitment.

7. Be friendly to others face-to-face but demean them in their absence. This will teach your child the importance of hypocrisy in relationships and that truth is only spoken in private apart from the injured party.

8. If you have more than one child, do not resist the urge to show favoritism. The firstborn and last are the natural targets for such affection. Compare your offspring in their presence. Not only will it diminish your relationship with them, but it also has the added benefit of building walls between the siblings themselves.

9. Talk mostly about things and people. Steer away from ideas. This will show them what is most important in the world.

10. Finally, be sure to practice all the above in their presence. With any luck at all, when they become parents, the same practices will be established and perhaps carry on for generations.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is rexalphin@aol.com.