Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

How to Raise (Terrible) Children

By:  Twyla Baker-Demaray

If there is anything Native people know, it’s having babies.  We LOVE to have babies.  Or well, maybe we just love to . . . never mind.  That’s a whole other topic.  At any rate, we still tend to have larger families than the mainstream, of all shapes and sizes, blended or not blended, with multiple generations in one household.  As a parent, I’ve learned a thing or two about raising a kid (or seven), which I thought I’d share.  In the revered tradition of some tribes, your teacher may end up teaching you in a ‘backwards’ or ‘Trickster’ manner; that is, by embodying the opposite  of a life teaching.  Whether it was the avarice and greed of Coyote, or the harsh wit of Spider, Natives had all manner of ‘sacred clowns’ teaching us how not to live.  If you look closely, you’ll see that they continue to do so to this day.  In honor of this tradition, I thought I’d offer some advice for those of you wishing to raise ungrateful, socially-stunted children into anti-social, ill-prepared adults.  You’re welcome (that is, if you said ‘thank you’– more on that later).

1.         Be sure to do absolutely everything for your kids.  Everything.  Letting kids do anything on their own, or letting them struggle, even a little bit, is mean.  Why would you want to give them the gift of self-sufficiency, discipline, accomplishment, or achievement?  Oh, and while you’re at it, be prepared to have absolutely all of your time and life sucked away, because you will be tying shoes, cooking meals, doing laundry, making excuses, filling out job applications, writing checks, and paying bail bondsmen for them for the rest of your life.


2.         Never, ever, let your kids say ‘thank you.’  Don’t say it yourself either, because kids are pesky in that they tend to pick up habits they see modeled by their parents.  That whole ‘please’ thing can go right out the window too.  So feel free to be demanding and obnoxious to service people in restaurants.  Show absolutely no gratitude when things go your way; it’s all a façade, and it will pass.  There’s always something you can complain about.  Do that in front of your kids instead.  Gratitude is for people who are satisfied with what they’ve got; you could always acquire more stuff.


3.         Let them know that somebody, somewhere, owes them.  Whether it’s the government, the world, the workplace, school, their friends, YOU; hell, LIFE owes them!  Entitlement works!  Working for what you want is hard; why would you want to do that, when you can let someone else do it?  Better to just scream and holler until you are handed what you want, whoever owes you will give in eventually, especially parents who are abiding by these rules.  On that note . . .


4.         Surround your child with people who have more than them, at least materially.  It will give them something to value, to long for, and to covet.  It will make them believe that the emptiness they feel can be fulfilled by the latest gadget or toy (it can, can’t it?).  Make sure they know how inferior they are because they DON’T have these things, as is anyone else who does not at LEAST buy brand name, and those people should be shamed and made fun of.  Poor people are not worth your time.  Hell, anybody who is the least bit ‘different’ should be shamed until they conform.  Charity, empathy, compassion– those are all code words for ‘weakness.’


5.         Whether you are with the other parent or are co-parenting, be sure the kids get to see you fighting; you’re never too young to pick sides.  Also, if you DO happen to be in a co-parenting situation, make sure you bad-mouth the other parent to the kid; this is the surest means of getting the message across of what a spiteful, immature, mean and nasty person their OTHER parent is; heck if you’re lucky, you might get them to tell that to the other parent too!  How funny would that be!


6.         Kids don’t like chores; they just complain when you ask them to do anything.  They should be enjoying their youth, so don’t require any kind of contribution to the family unit from them.  Better to just accept that you had ‘em, you need to pick up after ‘em.  Besides, what if they end up not wanting to be your friend?


7.         If it is at all worth having, buy it for them.  Making stuff just leads to messes, which we’ve already established you’re going to have to clean up yourself anyway.  Planting things and watching them grow takes so long, why not just buy it?  What’s the good of knowing where your food or clothing came from?  It’s not like you’d take any pride in making stuff anyway.


8.         Make sure– ABSOLUTELY SURE– that your kids have no idea about the past, particularly Native kids.  It’s all just depressing nonsense, and makes you feel bad anyway.  Not knowing who they are leaves a blank canvas; they’ll be confused as young adults anyway, might as well start early.  Pride’s a burden.  Make sure they know nothing about who they are or where they came from; they might end up respecting people you don’t like, or making decisions on their own!  For damn sure, make certain they never learn to pray, sing, reflect, or express themselves in any way, or about anything; that just leads to uncomfortable questions and feelings.  In fact, make fun of people who do these things; what hokey idiots!  Who do they think they are, anyway?


9.         Kids who swear and talk back are CUTE.  It’s so funny when they tell off your mom, their teacher, or the other parent; teach ‘em some real good ones!  In all likelihood, they won’t do it to you too.  I think.


10.       Damn the man!  Respect for authority just leads to boredom.  Who are these people to tell your kid what to do?  In fact, if anybody dare ever correct your child, you march right up to that person and cuss ‘em right out.  The bigger the scene you make, the better!  Make sure they see you do it too, and if your kid happens to get embarrassed by you, you can always buy back their love with a trinket or three later.  By now you’ve taught them that love has a price tag.  Oh, and while we’re talking about ‘love’ . . .


11.       Teach your child that what OTHERS think about you is of the utmost importance.  Girls aren’t of any real worth unless they have a boyfriend, and boys, hell they get a free pass on most everything anyway.  If you happen to fall short by not telling your child ‘I love you’ or by buying their love, then hey, a boyfriend/girlfriend when they’re good and young can correct that right quick!  Handy!  Oh, and don’t supervise these early relationships, you’ll just ruin your kids’ game, and then they might not like you!  Fidelity, honesty, and virtue are for wimps, when it comes to the boys, and for the ugly chicks, when it comes to the girls.
Okay I have to quit now, I’m making myself feel rather ill with all of this.  I could keep going, but I feel the deep-seated need to go hug my kids and take a shower.  Tell you what, I’m kinda’ glad I’m not so good a ‘Trickster.’  (Damn it, that last sentence was altogether too ‘thankful’… )