Thirteen Suggestions for Parents

1. If you don’t want your son to lie, don’t punish him for telling the truth.

2. If you don’t want your daughter to be abused or exploited, praise her uniqueness and teach her to question authority.

3. If you want your son to be brave and prudent, teach him not to take unnecessary risks.

4. If you want your daughter to be loyal, always take her side and defend her.

5. If you want your son to be healthy, do nothing that damages your health.

6. If you want your daughter to know whom to trust or not trust, don’t hang out with untrustworthy people, and never lie to her when she deduces what you are thinking or feeling.

7. If you want your son to be financially competent, teach him the difference between needs and wants.

8. If you want your son and your daughter to be happy adults, teach them that our sexuality is our greatest gift, that it is also fragile, and that it is foolish to risk damaging our capacity to fully enjoy it.

9. If you want your son to be reverent, teach him to believe in a deity who is worth believing in, who is compassionate, not vengeful, who heals our illnesses and does not punish us for being ill.

10. If you want your daughter to be patriotic, teach her the facts about our country’s strengths—but also its weaknesses.

11. If you want your son to be just to all people, never treat him unfairly.

12. If you want your daughter to be temperate, be willing to compromise.

13. If you want your son and your daughter to have fortitude, choose what is right, not what is easy.

  • KateGladstone

    Now what’s needed is some companion piece for the billions of sons and daughters (now grown) who were treated otherwise: thirteen other suggestions, perhaps, of “how to undo the damage/limitations that were built into you by your parents’ not using any/all of the _first_ thirteen suggestions … ”

    Actually, the suggestions here are very reminiscent of the advice in anonymous (I think) handouts such as “Children Learn What They Live” (Google the title, if unfamiliar with it). You may or may not know that it’s pretty common, in some social milieux, for parents who are ignoring such lists of actually-good advice to take those lists _and_hand_them_to_their_children_, with somesuch command as

  • KateGladstone

    … with some such command as “This’ll get you straightened out; you’d better read this [advice-to-parents list, child-psychology book, etc.] to earn what a normal healthy kid is like, so you can be one.” What advice-list, pray tell, should go to children that this is done to … Or to parents that are doing it?

  • aidanakelly

    Yes, Kate, and I do know where you’re coming from. Maybe I should have posted this today, on Father’s Day. I was afraid of my father; my kids are not afraid of me.  I dunno about similar lists. All 13 of these are ones I figured out by myself, tho informed by various sources of spiritual discipline I know about. Of course, the parents who most need to know such things are also the ones least likely to read this.

  • KateGladstone

    My computer crashed before I could finish that sentence! ” … With some such command as: ”This is how you’d better grow up: like the child who is getting the rearing described herein.”

    Thanks for clarifying that the list of thirteen points is of your making; you’ll enjoy, nevertheless,reading “Children Learn What They Live” —http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html — which was handed to me on various occasions in hopes (or, rather, as a command) that I’d be like the lucky children in its last twelve lines, irrespective of avowedly being reared otherwise.


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