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

(YouTube link)

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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