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Parenting Lessons That Completely Backfired

Parents have a lot of things to teach children and relatively little time to do it. Most of us are just making it up as we go along, anyway. Everyone has a story about that one time that the kid outsmarted us, like the kid who kept his room clean by living in the hallway, or completely misunderstood the point, or even stories of totally unforeseen circumstances, like the father who auditioned for his daughter's high school play in order to demonstrate that failure is okay and then won a leading role. An askreddit thread has a treasure trove of those stories. 

One of my 5 year old twins was still having occasional accidents because she would get so caught up in playing/doing something else that she just wouldn't go and would pee her pants. To combat this we would give her a special prize of some variety when she wouldn't have an accident. This, in turn, caused her twin sister to START having accidents so she could get prizes for not having accidents (even though she was fine on this front beforehand.) We had to rethink our methods.          -KyleRichXV

Not a parent, but as a child I noticed my sister was writing her name on the walls when she was drawing on them with crayon. Taking on the role of Helpful Big Sister, I informed her if she was going to graffiti things she shouldn't write her name and give herself away.

A few weeks later, she was carving patterns into the wooden desk in the study and carved my name into it instead.         -frozennie

Coworker of mine was trying to teach her kid the "don't talk with your mouth full" rule. Instead, the kid just spits out their food when they want to talk.

Children are the absolute masters of malicious compliance.          -MisterCrispy

Read a book that suggested you ask your kid what an appropriate punishment for misbehaving would be and then carry it out. 6 yo son pinched his brother or something, so we asked what an appropriate punishment would be. He said “pluck out my eyeballs and throw me over a cliff?”. We didn't follow through. And stopped reading parenting books.          -Mungobrick

Lifehacker has a roundup of the best stories, and you can read them all in the reddit thread. -via Metafilter

Oh yeah, there are more stories in the comments at Lifehacker and Metafilter. Feel free to add yours here.

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Introducing Kids to Horror Films

If you dislike horror movies, you might want to shield your children from them, but sooner or later they're going to see something that might traumatize them while visiting friends. If you enjoy horror movies, you don't want to traumatize your child and turn them against the movies you love. There are films made for children that will introduce them to the thrill of being scared -but not too scared. Den of Geek has a list of movies that "offer children a safe, but interesting, introduction to the world of horror, with archetypal tropes, characters and even the odd jump scare." The trick here is to watch with your children, so you can pause, explain, and reassure when necessary.

When your child is older and has seen the movies made for kids, then what? Elementary students and tweens may get a thrill out of gore and jump scares, but to really appreciate the horror genre, they need to see well-made movies that engage the viewer. For that, you might consult the list of 81 Best Creepy Horror Movies, although you'll want to select movies you've already seen to ensure they are appropriate for your children. Older classics like Gaslight or The Uninvited will give them the creeps without the sex and violence of newer movies. Watching horror movies that are age-appropriate will help prepare your children for the time they are old enough to go to a theater without you.

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Your Earliest Childhood Memory is Probably Fake

What is your earliest memory? In a study of more than 6,000 people, the average age of a first memory was 3.24 years, but 40% reported memories from age two or earlier. Some even recall being an infant. Is that even possible?   

Researchers who have investigated memory development suggest that the neurological processes needed to form autobiographical memories are not fully developed until between the ages of three and four years. Other research has suggested that memories are linked to language development. Language allows children to share and discuss the past with others, enabling memories to be organised in a personal autobiography.

So how can I remember being a baby? And why did 2,487 people from our study remember events that they dated from the age of two years and younger?

Read about the study and possible explanations for people who remember infancy at Quartz.

(Image credit: Martin Falbisoner)

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She's Pretty Happy About That Hair Cut

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This 5-year-old is feeling good after her first hair cut, and she tries her best to explain it to us. She's very good at describing the ultimate happiness, as she relates it to her experiences so far in life. No one has felt such joy since Navin Johnson saw his name in the new phone book. -via Digg

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The Great Garrett Underpants

Emilie and Ryan Matthias have cried oceans of tears over the last nine months as their 5-year-old son Garrett battled cancer. Garrett, though, never lost his sense of humor. So instead of a standard funeral, his parents are carrying out Garrett's wishes in a celebration of his life Saturday that will feature bouncy castles and an appearance by Batman. Here's just a portion of the obituary for Garrett Michael Matthias.

When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!

Burned or Buried: I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla

Big or Small Funeral: Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman, and snow cones

Emilie and Ryan Matthias will honor Garrett’s final wishes by having a Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 14th from 5pm – 11pm at 2377 132nd Ct Van Meter, Iowa

Note: Symbolic Asgardian burial ceremony and fireworks will be held just after sunset

A private burial of Garrett’s ashes will be held at a later time once his parents figure out how the hell to get his ashes made into a tree and locate a nature preserve, so his tree resides in a protected area.

There's a lot more to it, well worth a read. The Matthiases constructed the obituary from things Garrett said. It will be an awesome sendoff for an awesome kid. -via Metafilter

(Image source: GoFundMe)

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Six-Year-Old Spends $1,000 on the Best Day Ever

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Huck is pretty good at counting by twenties, for a 6-year-old. Still, he has some innocent ideas of what to do with a thousand dollars. He has to spend it in one day, so he hires a limousine the very first thing. After a trip to the toy store, he runs out of ideas, but the guys from Yes Theory explain VR to him. Then he remembers the candy store! You'll love the way this video ends.  -via reddit  

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How To Get Your Kids To Do Chores (Without Resenting It)

Psychologists and anthropologists have long observed how children in Mexico and Guatemala help around the house. Not only do they begin doing household chores earlier than children in the US, they continue to do so as they grow up, and they don't have to be told to do so, or even asked to. They happily contribute their work on their own as a matter of course.

They help do the laundry, help cook meals, help wash dishes. And they often do chores without being told. No gold stars or tie-ins to allowances needed.

In one study, psychologist Barbara Rogoff and her colleagues interviewed moms in Guadalajara, Mexico, who had indigenous ancestry. The researchers asked the moms what their children, who were all between the ages of 6 and 8, do to help around the house and how often they do these tasks voluntarily.

The study — published in 2014 — contains some of the most remarkable quotes I have ever seen in a research article.

For example, one mother said her 8-year-old daughter comes home from school and declares: "Mom, I'm going to help you do everything." Then she "picks up the entire house, voluntarily," the study reported.

"Another time, the mom comes home from work, and she's really tired," says Rogoff of the University of California, Santa Cruz. "She just plops herself down on the couch. And the daughter, says, 'Mom you're really tired, but we need to clean up the house. How about I turn on the radio and I take care of the kitchen and you take care of the living room and we'll have it all cleaned up?' "

Volunteering to help is such an important trait in kids that Mexican families even have a term for it: acomedido.

Recent research reveals the cultural differences in childrearing practices that lead to acomedido. Read how Mexican families teach children the value of household chores at NPR.  -via Digg

(Image credit: Adriana Zehbrauskas for NPR)

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Strangest Things: The Golden Mysteries

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Trying to appeal to a young core audience, Stephen Colbert brainstormed with a bunch of children to come up with the perfect new TV show. The brainstorming session combines things you know they fed to the kids, like the Beatles and Brooke Shields, plus their own ideas, like the penguin curse. I'd watch it. Strangest Things: The Golden Mysteries stars Brooke Shields, Jason Segel, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Shannon, Hugh Laurie, John Oliver, David Tennant, Willem Dafoe, and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Top Ten Baby Names of 2017

Parents who are considering the naming of a new person this year might take inspiration from the list of the most popular baby names from last year. Or they might try their best to avoid them. After all, you don't want your daughter to be one of six girls with the same name in her class, do you? Or maybe you do. The Social Security Administration has released the statistics for baby names from 2017. 

On the same page, you can look up historical rankings of baby names, or enter a name and track its popularity over time. The names on the top ten didn't change all that much from last year; for girls, Emma has been #1 and Olivia #2 for four years now, and Liam was #2 in 2016. The names that show the most popularity increase are still fairly obscure (although Oaklynn might be pretty popular if you combine the different spellings). -via Mental Floss

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A Kid's Version of "We Didn't Start the Fire"

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Matt Silverman and his kids Amelia and Arthur sing Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" with new lyrics about toys and media that kids have loved through the years, from Howdy Doody to Minions. The lyrics are at the YouTube page, but the video clips illustrate them well enough. -via Tastefully Offensive   

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Taking Home Base in Slow Motion

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The ball is apparently out of play -some young leagues have different rules. The coach tells the player to run to home base. You might call this "running" if you're being generous. Hey, it's his time to shine! And besides, he's seen a few movies, and knows that the crucial moment happens in slow motion so the audience doesn't miss it. You may as well make your moment of glory last as long as possible. This little boy is going places ...probably not the majors, but maybe Comedy Central. -via Tastefully Offensive  

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100-year-old Sam

This is Sam. He is seven years old. Sam's school celebrated the 100th day of class by having the students dress like they were 100 years old. Fortunately for the assignment, Sam has a mother who is an experienced face painter, and he was overdue for a haircut. So the day before, he got half of a haircut. A reverse Mohawk.

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After school on the 100th day, Sam got the rest of his hair cut off. You can see a short slideshow of Sam's pictures here. A good time was had by all. -via reddit

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Suddenly, a Baby

Seth Meyers, host of Late Night with Seth Meyers, usually begins his monologue with jokes about the news of the day. Monday night was different. He opened the show by announcing that his wife had given birth to his second baby son on Sunday. On the floor of the lobby of their apartment building.

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Luckily for Seth, there was no time to panic before it was over, and Alexi and baby Axel were attended after the fact by the NYFD. An event like that in the hands of a professional storyteller is well worth hearing.  

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Now That's a Gender Reveal Party Worth Attending

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I always found gender reveal parties to be a bit self-obsessed -after all, your friends and family members probably don't actually care that much about whether you're having a boy or a girl. That being said, they're also a bit boring, I mean, there's really only two options out there when it comes to the big reveal. On the other hand, the gender reveal party in this comic by Adam Ellis is features a truly exciting surprise.

Via Geek Girls

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Kindergarten Weather Report

Carden Corts got a assignment in his kindergarten class to make a weather forecast video. His dad, Charlie Corts, helped a little. Charlie's career is in video production. It's adorable, but wait until the subject shifts to spring break for things to really heat up!  

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Kindergarten teachers don't grade on a curve, do they? Even without the awesome video effects, six-year-old Carden does a great job doing the weather. That kid is going places. Like reddit, where his uncle posted this video. And probably The Ellen DeGeneres Show by next week. 

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Turning Kids' Doodles Into 100% Accurate Plushies

I love stories about parents turning their kid's crazy artwork into something even cooler because it's both a sweet bonding story and an art exercise with heart.

I also adore making plush toys because kids love them and they make an adult's inner child go squee, so the plushies created by Wendy Tsao really made my heart sing.

Wendy turns kids' doodles into 100% accurate plushies, which really look like kid art come alive, and through her studio Child's Own she's bringing children's creativity to life for parents who don't have the sewing skills to do it themselves.

(YouTube Link)

This video by Daily Fun Facts showcases some of Wendy Tsao's most impressive plushies, and now I know what I'm gonna do with my son's artwork when he's old enough to draw silly stuff!

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This Photo Series Reveals What It's Like To Raise Boys

They say raising boys and girls couldn't be more different, since each sex requires a different form of parenting, and parents will say boys or girls are harder to deal with depending on their experience.

There may be no real answer to this question, since each kid presents their own challenges for a parent, but there is one thing we know for sure- boys tend to play differently than girls.

Boys like to roughhouse more than girls, they make getting dirty into a full-fledged sport, and when it comes to getting into trouble boys are always ready to lend each other a hand.

Arlington, Texas-based photographer Sara Easter has been documenting day-to-day life with her three boys, ages 4, 7 and 9, and her photos reveal not only all the brattiness found in young boys but also all the love these brothers have for each other.

See 20+ Photos Reveal What It's Like To Raise Boys here

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Kids Meet a Ventriloquist

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Vikki Gasco makes a living as a ventriloquist. She sat down talk to several young children and explain what she does. Most of the kids had no idea, but they really got into the idea that you can play with puppets as a job! Then they all wanted to try it out. This is really cute, thanks to their enthusiasm. -via Laughing Squid

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The Difficult Pregnancy Quiz

First off, this is a difficult quiz about pregnancy, not a quiz about difficult pregnancies. The questions take a deep dive into a natural process that billions of women have experienced, yet most never knew these things. Whether you've given birth or not, you'd have to be pretty well read to get them right. Take the quiz here. It was written by our own Jill Harness, who read quite a bit on the subject before she gave birth to her son last year. I scored a mere 48%, which is unsurprising, as I've never been pregnant and haven't studied it much. Maybe you'll do better.  

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Cat Shoes and Other Songs

Longtime Neatorama readers might remember Hanan Levin of the erstwhile blog grow-a-brain. Hanan gave that up in 2009 to focus on his new daughter. Adora became a muse for Hanan's many artist friends around the world, who drew, painted, and sculpted her in over 2,000 artworks (so far). You can see those works at Instagram. Adora is now eight years old, and has been writing poetry and song lyrics since she was four. Well, Hanan has musical friends, too, so musicians began writing tunes to Adora's lyrics. That led to a new site in the Adora Project, in which musician Doug Haines sings some the songs from Adora's life.

Check them out here. -Thanks, Hanan!


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Hide and Seek

A parent's twist on the classic game of hide-and-seek is to be the seeker who doesn't seek. How many times you can get away with that depends on the age of the kids, but it works best when they're just old enough to think that they win when you can't find them. Mom and Dad will let them think that, so everyone's happy. No need to tell them you weren't looking all that hard! This comic is from Chris Grady at Lunarbaboon.

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Practice Makes Perfect

This cute video shows us the power of persistence. Theo Riddle wanted to learn how to do a backflip on his dirt bike since he was six years old. As you can imagine, it take a lot of falling to accomplish a trick like that. Along the way, he also learned how to fall without hurting himself, which is a valuable thing to know in iteself.

(YouTube link)

Theo is eight now, and his practice and determination finally won out. The joy of accomplishment is something wonderful to see. His twin brother was pretty happy about it, too! -via Tastefully Offensive

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Mom Writes Brilliant Letter To Entitled Teenager Informing Him He Must Now Pay Rent

Every parent has their own way of dealing with a child who doesn't want to play by the rules of the house, their punishment more or less severe depending on how bratty and disobedient the kid is being.

But when you're dealing with an entitled teenager you have to approach punishment differently and hit them where it really hurts- in their wallets.

Heidi Johnson had issues with her 13-year-old son Aaron's attitude after he started lying to her about finishing his homework.

He claimed he didn't have time to do it because he had a job making videos on YouTube, so she wrote him this letter to inform him he'd now be treated as a roommate rather than a kid:

It's ridiculous how many kids think they're going to be a YouTube star just because a few of their videos get some views, don't they know the real money is in eSports?

-Via Shareably

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A Cool Collection Of Clever Parenting Tips And Tricks

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New parents often ask more experienced parents for advice on how to cope with the trials and tribulations of raising a kid, and no matter how much you prepare before your kid is born there's always more to learn.

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My wife and I recently had our first child so I'm grateful for those parents who share tips and tricks online that make our rookie parent lives easier.

And unlike the advice we've received from the grandparents these are tips and tricks we can actually use.

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I look forward to tricking my kid into drinking medicine by telling him it's Pepsi, and I'm sure we'll need to divide the dog and the baby in the back seat at some point, but bringing a fitted sheet to the beach is the most brilliant idea of them all!

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See 10+ Of The Best Parenting Hacks Ever here

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Serenading Daddy

Three-year-old Isabella doesn't want her daddy to leave her. The ukulele was right there, so she stalled by singing a little song for him. She made it up as she went along. The rhymes aren't much, but it's adorable.

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That's pretty resourceful for her age. And now Bella's got a viral video to put on her resume when she's trying to get into a performing arts school in about 15 years. -via Digg

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How to Make Anything Seem Cute

Matthew Inman used to have a hard time thinking babies were cute. He says so in his latest comic, right there in the first illustration where he shows how he once saw babies. But he found a workaround, and now he can play a trick on his own mind to see anything as cute, if he wants to. Maybe you could do the same. Read Inman's strategy in the full version of the comic at The Oatmeal.

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People Who Tried Face Swap On A Baby And Ended Up With A Terrifying Pic

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I just can't get enough of those face swap pics people post online, because when the swap works out right the pics look so damn funny it's criminal.

We've seen people swap faces with their dogs and various animals, their shirts and their buddies with hilarious results, but when you use a baby as the main subject of a face swap the results go from hilarious to terrifying.

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The face swap app seems to trip out whenever a baby's involved and therefore tries to swap features with anything in the scene around the same size, including the dials on an oven or daddy's nostrils, creating some incredibly odd images.

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And when the final images aren't strange in a good way they end up looking like a waking nightmare. At least they're both potty trained!

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See 25+ Times People Tried Face Swap On A Baby And Regretted It Immediately here

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8 Awesome Ways to Memorialize Your Baby's First Christmas

One of the great things about having a baby is that every occassion is a "first" and every first is special. The baby's first Christmas is particularly special, which is why you might want to go out of your way to buy something to remember the holiday and Etsy is full of cool (often custom) products to help you do just that. Here are 8 particularly fun ones:


No baby's first Christmas is complete without a special ornament to celebrate. This embroidered design by EmbroideredWorld is an especially charming way to mark the occassion.

A Special Outfit

Sure, you might not keep your kid's first Christmas outfit forever, but the pictures you'll take of them in the clothing will keep those memories alive forever. For little girls, this red and white tutu ensemble by PrincessKeepsakes is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season.


Continue reading

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A Child Interviews Her Cat

Paul Duane shared the written transcript of an interview his daughter Gabi conducted with her cat Coco. Any cat owner can relate to the absolute accuracy of the cat's responses, but the little girl's construction of the story is the real gem here. You can see a picture of Coco in the article at Digg.

(Image credit: Paul Duane)


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How To Take Kids To A Restaurant

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I really appreciate Jordan Watson, creator of the How To Dad series, because he's great at dadding and great at explaining how to dad in a way that works for me.

I'm not a very experienced dad so I have no idea how to handle taking kids to a restaurant but the dude from How To Dad does, and both his different dad styles and his rules are golden.

The 'Woah' Dad and 'She'll Be Right' Dad styles present a perfect balance to parenting, and Jordan's rules about farting are just good rules in general when eating at a restaurant, even if it's just McDonald's.

(YouTube Link)

Now in a year or three when my wife and I are actually able to leave our house and eat at restaurants again I'll know what to do with my little man.

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