How to be a non-shitty parent

So...I'm young - I'm in my teens. I'm not a parent and I don't plan to be. So why do I have the temerity to tell people how to rear their kids? Because the number of kids in care, on the streets, in prison, expelled from every school in the country and then some, and anything more you would care to think of, means that parents are doing something very, very wrong and that some kind of a guide is needed. It's not hard: what I've written here is based on my own experiences and on research which has been done.
  • First things first. As a parent or a parent-to-be, you aren't just creating life, you are tasked with creating and raising a healthy human being. If you can't cope with this being disagreeing with you or disrupting your schedules, maybe you should think again about bringing life into this world. A child is for eternity, not just for nine months and a bit.
  • If you're going to abuse your kid or stay with an abuser, you've already forfeited your right to have children. Think of THEM, not of yourself.
  • Similarly, don't drink or do drugs while pregnant or raising very young children. You need a clear mind. Drugs are probably the last thing you need.
  • If you and your partner(s) are seeking a divorce or separation, research has shown it's better for the children if you split up and be happy rather than stay together "for their sake".
  • NO SMACKING THE KIDS. That's not education, that's using violence to train someone to be obedient. I wouldn't use that on a dog, let alone a human being. Besides, it doesn't help them to understand what they've done wrong - it just conditions them not to do something. Essentially, you're screwing with their brain.
  • I would advise you not to send your children to school until they are old enough not to need parenting. That means not sending them to school in any year where the teachers need to sit the pupils on their laps and comfort them. I know the school system starts that young, but at that age it's honestly disturbing and heart-rending to watch teachers have to be parents. Better to home-educate them for the first couple of years.
  • When they are only just starting school, YOU should make the decisions - not THEM. At that age they don't know what they really want out of life or how to achieve it, and you're in a better position to tell them that.
  • This does not mean "be pushy" or "force them into things you want them to do, but they don't". Obviously this doesn't include things like homework, where they have to do it or they'll fail - it's more about things like forcing them to learn the piano because you want them to learn the piano. If they really want to do something, they'll push themselves along.
  • If they are having difficulties learning in school or they have behavioural problems, FOR GOD'S SAKE TAKE THEM OUT OF THAT PLACE. Sometimes - quite a lot of the time - the problems will clear up if you take them out of school and educate them at home, where they can learn at their own pace, in their own style, and be well away from bullies or things which set them off. If they're away from that, chances are they'll be more studious and develop more as people.
  • Speaking of bullying, if you see it, take the child out of that school immediately. Bullying screws people up, sometimes for life.
  • The TV is not a parenting aid. Books are. Culture is good - read good books to your children and encourage them to read well. I'm not talking about reading War and Peace to a four-year-old, but definitely try reading some poetry and good fairy-tales. As they get older, start them off on modern classics, then on to Tolstoy, Eyvind Johnson and beyond. Raise your children to be cultured and intelligent people.
  • If little Tommy likes dressing up and playing with dolls while little Lily is pushing the lawnmower and learning about electricity, there's nothing wrong with either of them. They don't have to fit into traditional gender roles, they have to be good, kind, intelligent people. If that's not convinced you, think about this: if you put them in some kind of "therapy" (and I use that term very loosely) you'll probably screw them up more than you already consider them screwed up.
  • Raise them to stick to their guns and have their own opinions on things, and to think deeply. That way they'll be less swayed by peer pressure - yes, they will be swayed, everyone is - but less so.
  • If you have a daughter, please tell her that wearing 10,000 kilotonnes of orange muck on one's face is both unnecessary and unattractive.
  • Don't be afraid to criticise your children if they've screwed up.
  • If they don't come to you all the time, it's not the end of the world. It means there are some things they can't tell you, because they're people and there are some things people will not share with anyone.
  • If they sneak out of the house, you have not failed as a parent. Go and catch them and educate them.
  • If they don't sneak out of the house, you have not failed as a parent. They're probably smart enough to figure out that the time and effort required to get to the Coolest Party Ever isn't worth it. Obedience does not mean being a mindless drone.
  • "Just say no" does not work for sex, drugs or alcohol. Educate them about how to do these things responsibly and then, even if they start fucking like rabbits at age 10, doing heroin and knocking back drinks like there's no tomorrow, they will be doing so relatively safely.
  • When having sex, they should at least be sober and using some kind of protection. Teach them that much at least.
  • Your child is likely to have sex by age 13 and possibly before. Once you've recovered from that heart attack, realise that the virgins among them are probably feeling quite unhappy and think they're abnormal. This doesn't mean that they're desperate if they say that they want sex.
  • If they're pregnant/have an STD and still in their teens, all notions about privacy go out of the window. As soon as you hear about it, CONFRONT THEM.
  • Don't fight their battles for them. They need to learn.