Parenting was just never going to be my thing. I just never had a yearning for. And that was just based on the basics of parenting.
Now when I hear tales about children and their disturbing behavior, I'm even more appreciative of my decision.
I've watched enough Dateline NBC to spot the red flags of a budding serial killer. No thank you, I already spend a fair share of time dodging adult psychos running around the streets.
I don't to sleep with one eye open because of a three year old.
Redditor u/Jayhawk_00 wanted to hear about the kids that maybe are just a little less perfect and little more creepy by asking:
Parents of Reddit, what is the most disturbing thing your child has done?
Chucky had to based on a real life kid. Don't you think so? Every character ever written has a muse. And it's not always Child's Play. I have seen with my own eyes children who you can sense are slightly... off.
"My 12 year old will occasionally scream while sleeping. It makes your hair stand up when you get woke from a deep sleep. I have also woken up in the middle of the night to see him standing right next to my bed. Sometimes just facing the wall or staring at me. He is always "sleep walking" and I can escort him back to bed. Trouble is, I never know how long he has been up. He never remembers any of it."
"Put a very hot pepper in his mouth. Cry. Wheeze. Cry again. Exclaim that he hates it. Then proceed to do it again. Didn't cry the second time. The hell?!"
"Woke up to my Mom's house mates kid (5 years old?) Sneaking through the house with a 10" chef knife at like 2am. He gave me the knife and I asked him what he was doing. He said he was afraid of "the man who walks around in the yard at night" and said he was out there now."
"I hyped up both my dogs and we searched EVERYWHERE. Yard, shed, barn, under the house, etc. Didn't find anyone. Super worrisome. The next morning I told his mom and she was like "oh yeah, he just does that sometimes. It's like his monster under the bed or whatever." She just put the knives on a shelf he couldn't reach."
"Perhaps not disturbing, but terrifying as a parent. We were on a vacation in Chicago staying at a random Fairfield Inn or something downtown. Our bed was separated by a divider in the room and two of our kids were sleeping in a pull out couch on the other side. Around 3am awoke to sounds of velcro and it sounded like my kid was putting his shoes on (he was)."
"Next thing I know I hear the hotel room door opening. I leaped further than I thought possible across the entire suite and was able to grab him just as the door was about to close and pulled him back into the room. He was sleepwalking, but I shudder to think what might've happened if I wasn't roused by the sound of him putting on shoes."
Puked on the stairs "go back to bed I'll sort it out" Sob "I can't, I was sick in my bed" "OK, well, you can get into mum and dad bed while I sort that out as well" Sob sob "I was sick in there as well."
Yeah, now I'm never even going to babysit. I'm not putting my life on the line by watching little Johnny for the evening while you run out to see a Marvel movie. And drink bad wine.
DYE!Easter Bunny GIF by Omer GalGiphy
"When my daughter was about 4 and it was approaching Easter, she said "I want to kill all the Easter eggs."
"My wife and I were, like, "uh... what?"
"She said "I want to kill all the Easter eggs."
I said "What do you mean?"
"She replied "You know, dip them and make them all different colors."
"I said "You mean DYE the Easter eggs."
"She shrugged and looked at me like "Yeah, duh ya moron."
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"Oh no, he's here! Run!"
"Was having a house party a few months ago. My friends came over and brought their kids. My wife got a bouncy house for them to play on. All the adults were inside eating food and chatting. Some of the kids were outside playing on the bouncy house. I realized that at least one adult should be out there with them, so I left the adults and wandered outside."
"As I was getting closer to where the kids were playing, I started hearing some rhythmic chanting coming from their direction. I got suspicious, so I decided to sneak up on them and see what they were doing. Four of the children were holding hands and bouncing in a circle in the middle of the bouncy house chanting "Evil rules! Evil rules! Evil rules!"
"I stood there in amazement for a minute trying to figure out what game they were playing. One of the girls in the group suddenly looked in my direction and screamed "Oh no, he's here! Run!" All the children scattered and ran away. To this day, my son still won't tell me what they were doing."
"3.5 year old threw literal rocks at his helpless newborn sister in her car seat because he was mad that we were leaving the park. Kids do some messed up stuff. She had a couple of small scratches and was crying but nothing serious. Stuff like this happens so quickly that it's unavoidable when you need to do things like go to the bathroom or put a bag in the trunk of the car."
"Young kids usually just really don't understand the consequences of actions like these and it's impossible to foresee every weird impulse they will get to say a preemptive no. Like maybe your sister saw your mom cracking eggs earlier that day and thought the baby's head look like an egg or some other random whatever. Parenting often feels like a series of near misses and choosing the least bad of many not good options."
a demon circle...
"The other day, my 6 year old daughter and I were sitting on a bench and she started drawing shapes in the air with her fingers. I guessed the shapes and we laughed. Then she got serious and drew: a circle, a triangle, and a ???? I laughed and asked what they were and she responded, "it was a circle with a triangle and eye inside... it's a demon circle." Then she laughed maniacally. I was a little creeped out by the randomness, but I love my demon-summoning monster."
Hitchseason 3 thumbs up GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
"My 3 year old stuck her thumb out on the main road as if to hitchhike I was shocked and I asked where she learnt that from, she said she used to do that to get around when she was a big girl. That was creepy well for me anyway."
"I came here in hopes of feeling better about myself and my son (4yrs)... But here we go. My son, for over a year has been afraid of something green in the same spot on the ceiling. He continues to tell me, "shh, don't wake the Grinch." At day care, he has face stomped a kid at nap time, because he took a toy horse from my son on day one at the day care."
"Used a toy stethoscope to choke a kid ( because he wanted the toy) when I tried to explain how it hurt the kid, my son told me, well he didn't say anything. No child, he didn't say anything because he couldn't breathe. Yes, we are in therapy."
"Who told you that?"
"Back at the turn of the century my wife and I were sitting downstairs watching a movie. Our daughter who was about 4 was playing upstairs. We hear her come down stairs and she walks up to the couch and tells us something weird. I don't remember what she said but it made one of us ask "Who told you that?" She replies with "The little boy up in my room." She is an only child and there was no friends visiting."
Flames...scary movie burn GIF by UsGiphy
"I'm not a parent. But when I was younger I set my room on fire and tried to get my grandparents to lie."
A Touch Off...
"I'm thirteen years older than my sister, so I basically functioned as a third parent, and I've always thought she was a touch off. When she was about four or five, she had a phase where she kept tying her toys together. I'd come in a room she had been playing in, and she'd have a string wrapped around a toy horse's neck, then wrapped around a lamp, then wrapped around a doll's neck, then wrapped around a chair leg--and there'd be several strings and ropes tied in this way."
"Literally the entire room would be a web of toys and strings. It looked like a child's version of a SAW movie, and it was a pain in the butt to help her clean up. One day when I was watching her I told her not to do it, she agreed, and then I came back in not too long after and she had somehow done it anyway."
"She was sitting in a chair looking at me indirectly, like she was nervous. I was irritated and asked her why she did it after she said she wouldn't, and she said the most future-serial-killer sentence I have ever heard: "Sometimes I just do things and I don't really understand why I'm doing them."
"My kids all talk in their sleep. One of them (14) can be pretty distressing because it almost always sounds like he's crying. Recently though, for some reason him and his brother (13) just go around saying "Among us" for no reason… constantly. One night last week, the 14 year old and my 6 year old talked in their sleep and just simply said "among us" and nothing else. I guess that's progress though."
"My son used to sleepwalk occasionally when he was little (6-8). One night he came over while his dad and I were sitting on the couch and told us "I dont like the people in the basement. They're too loud." Good thing the couch was brown because someone may have pooped in my pants right then."
"Not a parent. Older cousin who lives with younger cousin. He's a sweetheart and lovely. He was 4 at the time, he's now 5. He said at breakfast, out of the blue, "Today is a good day to go on a murder streak." No one here is allowed to watch that stuff."
"He showed me a drawing of him looking in a mirror and in the reflection a demon was there. He pointed to the demon and said "That's me." He ended up getting a mental evaluation. He's fine, just creepy. I don't have a picture. I can redraw it and post it if you wanna see it."
"My daughter has what I can only assume are nightmares. She doesn't recall them at all, and is still sound asleep when it's happening, but when it started I would hear her little voice getting louder and louder "no... No! Help [mom or dad]" Daddy rolled in hot the first time it happened, I was ready to ventilate someone. She was sound asleep."
"My son 4 yrs. Old loved watching the price is right, this was when Bob Barker was the host, anyway my son would clap, yell with excitement along with the audience. When someone would lose he would be so disappointed for them. Until one day he got so pissed off, I was in another room, he's yelling throw the old man in the dryer. I came out asking what wrong. The lady didn't win the washer and dryer, my son is mad and wants to burn poor Bob in the dryer."
Mr. Howdy?The Exorcist GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"My son makes this funny noise with his voice every once in awhile. When my daughter tries to imitate the noise she sounds like Reagan from "The Exorcist." The creepy part is she does it when she's in her crib, talking herself to sleep at night. 😳"
Demon circles? What is this "The Exorcist?" How much you want to bet the little girl in that movie was in on it with the devil? Now I'll be side eyeing and ready to mace any kid that even sneezes in my direction. Trust no one.
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Only someone who's been the older sibling knows the subtle struggles thrust upon a person forced into that role.
Compared to the younger sibling or siblings, the older child has a unique relationship to parents, their rules and guidance, how to navigate growing into an adult, and pretty much every other aspect of growing up.
For the oldest, there is no template.
Apparently curious about all those struggles, Redditor _mamasboy_ asked:
"Whats the WORST part about being the older sibling?"
Many older siblings discussed the dynamic many are fully aware of: different approaches to parenting depending on the child.
The fact of the matter is, parents are learning as they go.
An Iterative Process
"You are expected to be the leader and example. As a result, the younger sibling gets away with a lot more."
"You're the test model. Your parents learn how to parent by fu**ing up with you, so they learn what *not* to do."
Lawless by the End
"You watch your parents become less and less strict with your younger siblings and you watch them do things you were never allowed to do..."
A More Specific Example
"My sister and I are about 2 years apart. Overall we got along pretty well. We shared a bedroom till I was about 14 and she was 12… we had a single mom.. so she couldn't afford a place till I was on high school so we could have our own rooms."
"The one thing I absolutely hated though… my younger sister loved dolls. Me? I never wanted a doll. Not even a Barbie doll. But my sister had SO SO SO many. She's get them as gifts for years. She even got this creepy standing doll that stood in the corner of the room. It didn't have a face. She had one of those toy canopies to hold the amount of dolls she had."
"But could I get a mini disco ball and a lava lamp ? No. I had to pick just one."
Others talked about he undue emotional weight placed on them throughout their upbringing.
"To be strong in family crises." -- opinionthatmatters
"yes this is so annoying, iIm not only the oldest brother but the oldest cousin too....like ffs I am the role model...peak of humanity in this generation apparently, i am asked to do so much it's not funny anymore..."
"When my grandpa died in 2019 from cancer I was 14 and the oldest...everyone look at me for things. Like bruv, O was the oldest and to him probably his favorite as we had the same hobbies so I needed time to grieve, didn't get that time" -- suriname-ballv2
Growing Up Fast
"You end up like a 2nd parent if one isn't around." -- imma-trope
"I was 10 when my twin sisters were born."
"I've changed more diapers, done more late night feedings, and general childcare for them than both my parents combined."
"I love my sisters. Being 12, and your friends ask you to hangout over the weekend but you can't because you have to potty train them is an experience no one should have to deal with." -- cleaning-meaning
"You're the one forced to include your younger siblings in things, which is a social burden. And you have no one older than you to stick up for you and emulate being more mature."
"In high school I had friends that knew exactly what to expect from applying to colleges, visiting colleges, and some of them even attended college parties with their older sibling."
"Meanwhile I was applying to college on my own, paying application fees out of pocket, and I had to bring my 11 year old brother with me anytime I went to the diner, mall, or movies with my friends. They pretty much stopped inviting me at one point."
Perfection is the Standard
"The worst is that I'm expected to be great. I'm expected to have my sh** together. I'm expected to be the bigger person. I'm expected to support myself. My younger brothers are not."
"That even when I have needed help, I'm still expected to have my sh** together and be perfect, have a job, pay rent, pay more rent when it's found that I have money left over, etc. But not my brothers."
Finally, others had some more loving things to say about their younger siblings. For all the drawbacks, older siblings cannot help but feel like a protector.
"watching your parents grow old while your sibling is still young" -- myst123
"Yeah its scary. I hate thinking about it (god forbid) but I'm scared my sis wont spend as much time with my parents as i did." -- Scarlet_Scribbles
"Seeing them making the same mistakes you made" -- Formal_Function_3505
"its funny when i warn my sibling and he brushes it off calling me a wimp" -- suriname-ballv2
"Gosh, my brother… I can't even count how many cars he has bought and then immediately traded in in the last year. He's not trading up, like for something nicer, it's just sideways movement ie trading in a 2015 Ford Edge for a 2017 Chevy Cruze. The Cruze died a day after he got it."
"Save your money dude. As the kid who still lives at home I can promise you all this spending will come back to bite you. Why do you think I live at home???" -- redfern962
Just the Way it Goes
"Loving your younger siblings immensely and wanting to take care of them and give them a better childhood than you had but also dealing with the fact that taking care of them means accepting your own 'parentification' and sacrificing part of your own childhood"
People who were born the oldest had zero choice in the matter. It's just the way things turned out.
Thankfully, Reddit is here to provide a space to vent.
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Ah, to be a child again. Except not if you have strict parents. Like my dad, for example--because I was the oldest child, I basically existed as the “experiment", so lots of weird disciplinary decisions were made that my younger sister never had to go through.
It seems like a lot of people share my pain. Thanks Reddit, you make me feel less alone. GiuseppeJO3 asked:
How were you disciplined as a child?
Be warned, a lot of these punishments can be a little questionable, to say the least.
This encourages bad emotional habits.
“'Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about.'"
“My parents would often use our imaginations against us like this. 'I'm coming upstairs, and not gonna come empty handed,' etc. Sometimes I think Judo-ing our own creativity against us was worse than anything."
Break that chain.Mothers Day Wtf GIF by IFCGiphy
“My mother was a stay at home mom/frustrated housewife who would take her frustrations out on me. I was spanked quite often. One time I kept track and I was struck in some form for 33 straight days. That was the record. She even carried a wooden spoon in her purse for easy access when we weren't at home. Often a wooden spoon would break while she was beating me and that would REALLY piss her off. Looking back, I should have given her a new set of wooden spoons every year for a Mother's Day present to piss her off.
The most confusing thing to me was that I was a GOOD KID!! I was too afraid to be otherwise. When I became older and confronted her, she told me that it was BECAUSE of the beatings that I turned out to be the great person I was.
When I had kids I broke the chain. No beatings. When they wanted to hang out with grandma, I pulled her aside and told her that if she ever laid a hand (or wooden spoon) on them...I would kill her."
Schools are just as guilty.
“As a kid, time out and isolation. It also came with losing points so it took me forever to get to the level where I could talk with my classmates or get up from my desk during breaks.
In High School, they would take away electives.
My parents only punished me if the school complained hard enough. I wasn't bad at home because my parents wouldn't berate me for things I didn't do.”
Other times, disciplinary actions are meant to strengthen character.
THIS is the way to raise a child.
“So many sh*tty parents in the world, hitting, abusing, punishing kids.
When I lived with my uncle he used to lead by example, prepare kids for situations, use time out as a means of emotional regulation, use natural and logical consequences, talk you through things and teach you, be extremely selective about what mattered, understand the stages of child development, and had a huge amount of patience.
Be more like him.
Also, he has 8 kids. All different personalities, all different temperaments, all different challenges, all different levels of hmmm, let's call it 'perseverance'. He's never hit any of us. Don't be coming at me with "oh, but some kids..." or "oh, but some situations...". People hit kids because they want to."
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Not surprising.Disappointed Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
“My mom would yell and scream and take our toys/phones away. My dad would sit me down and say "I'm very disappointed in you."
My dad's method was always the most effective.”
Level headed parents are the best.
“I grew up in the 70s with very level headed parents. My dad would just slide his reading glasses down to the end of his nose and say 'well, let's revisit what happened'. No yelling, I think 2 spankings in my life. My husband grew up with a very strict 'whip your a**” Air Force colonel dad.”
“That was my Dad, too, but I much preferred the "2 halfhearted swats on the butt and it's back out to play" vs. "Let's analyze your mistake for evvvver". I was lucky, though, because he raised three kids to adulthood before me so nothing really fazed him.”
“I knew where my parents hid the presents for Christmas: under the bed. So one day, age 6, I "casually" roll off of their bed while watching tv with my family. I came up and announced that I saw NOTHING. My very wise mom later figured out what I saw, a Christmas Barbie I REALLY wanted. Next day she takes me to the grocery store where there is a toy drive. She makes me donate that exact doll to the drive.
As an adult, I love this so much. As a kid, I was so so sad. Edit: I still got the doll for Christmas. My mom tricked me. Sorry, important detail.”
Parents- be sure to not traumatize your kids. It’s the bare minimum.
Makes for a very tough childhood.Get Out Parenting GIF by A24Giphy
“I was disciplined by my school.
As far as home is concerned, parents didn't discipline me, they completely controlled me, manipulated me and verbally abused me. I wasn't even allowed to play with friends or do any sports or anything extracurricular.”
“The most common punishment for me as a child was water boarding. I would be dragged by the hair to the kitchen pined of the counter and have water from the sink run over my face until I almost blacked out. This was used for anything from messing up on a chore to talking in the wrong tone of voice. Worst part this was done by foster parents.”
Spanking needs to end.
“I would get spanked in front of people. The worst one in my opinion was getting spanked in front of family members I didn't like. This was followed by teases and encouragement from others that my spanking wasn't enough."
Anyway, sorry to end this on a sad note, but this should be a wake-up call to parents that treat their children this way. They WILL end up seriously traumatized, and that WILL affect them as adults.
I swear, some people don’t deserve to be parents.
In days of yore, parents took what would be considered extreme methods of disciplinary action on misbehaving children.
One example is washing out the mouth with soap for children using profanity, lying, or even biting. Such a method of punishment however would be considered borderline abusive today.
But regardless of the times, not all forms of punishment are of the painful or discomforting variety.
"What's the most creative punishment your parents gave to you?"
Some punishments led to a learning opportunity.
Opening And Closing Doors
"If I slammed a door really hard when I was mad, my mom and grandparents would make me practice closing it nicely. I'd have to reopen and then close it gently about 50 times, counting each one out loud. If I closed it too hard I'd have to start over. At one point I learned to get my anger out by just slamming the door over and over and counting 'ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE!' Until I wasn't mad enough to keep slamming the door. They didn't utilize it as much when I started doing that. Lmao"
"My parents always made us repair things we broke."
"One day my sister and I were rough housing and we accidentally made a hole on the wall. So my dad drove us to Home Depot and told us that we both had to figure out on our own how to fix the hole."
"We had to to talk to the employees on our own, ask our own questions, gather repair items, select paint color, and bought a home repair magazine on own. We then had to fix the hole on our own. We messed up a lot, it looked wonky and we picked the wrong paint color. We learned the value of taking care of our things, we realized how hard it was to fix things and we learned new skills."
"All this without yelling, punishment or a lecture."
Taking Bad Aim
"i once misfired a nerf gun in front of my dad and he had me go through a manual on gun safety."
"Winning The Bid"
"One time I broke a couch while rough housing with friends."
"My punishment was having be responsible for getting it repaired- I had to provide 3 quotes from different repair shops, and include a pros and cons list to consider alongside the price, such as which company would pick the couch up and which one required it to be delivered, and then I had to cover the costs myself. My parents had some odd jobs around the house that they had been planning on paying some one to do, like doing repair work around the house or painting all the exterior doors, window frames, shed and garage, so they gave me an opportunity to put a bid in on them, which required me to make a budget for supplies, provide a time estimate, and to make a pitch presentation."
"I ended up 'winning the bid' for the painting job by undercutting the companies I knew they had already gotten quotes from. My bid was $150 below the next lowest quote they received, and $100 above the quoted cost for the repair to the couch, and included enough to pay a couple friends to help me. If the couch repair came in on budget I would also pocket a small amount, but not quite as much as I was paying my buddies."
"In the end, the couch repair ended up much below the quoted amount- it was a leather reclining couch and the original quote included replacing the reclining mechanism but in the end they were able to repair the damaged mechanism and only had to replace a single panel of leather. I was able double the rate I was paying my buddies and pay myself the same amount."
"I was in third grade, got in trouble at school and was suspended for three days. In the past my mom would've just spanked me, put me on punishment at home, i e., no tv, extra chores, etc. But since spankings didn't really work for me she got creative and decided to have me come to work with her all three days of my suspension (she worked at a community center). While at work with her, I had to work on some math and reading workbooks, handwrite an apology letter to my teacher for being bad, which she would proof read, edit and make me rewrite correctly, and worse of all I had to practice my piano lessons in the staff lounge as her coworkers were coming in and out throughout the day getting coffee or eating lunch. It was pure torture."
Making a game out of something may not always be interpreted as punishment...or sometimes, it still is.
A Worthy Distraction
"I can honestly say my parents didn't give me any creative punishments."
"But… I have a boy and a girl (now young adults) when they were little they were best friends, they also shared a bedroom and got along great. But, when they would fight and it got ugly I would send them both to their room for one hour and told them they couldn't come out until they came up with a really good secret handshake."
"They would forget that they were mad at each other and start immediately working on a handshake, I would hear them laughing their heads off while they were doing it. They would come out an hour later show me this super long fun handshake, synchronized to the minute, I would congratulate them for their hard work and then they would go back to playing. It still brings a smile to my face :-)"
"My mom pointed out to me that this wasn't really punishment, I told her I wasn't trying to punish them I just wanted them to stop fighting. And it worked every time."
Leaving It To Fate
"My mom created the wheel of punishment. When I would be naughty I would have to spin the repurposed board game spinner and whatever punishment it landed was the punishment I had to do."
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Watching Paint Dry
"I've been dying to tell this story. It wasn't me but my best friend and her brother, when they were younger, would not stop fighting. Their parents tried everything. Taking their toys, early bedtime, grounding, can't see friends, etc. But they wouldn't stop. So one day their dad had the bright idea of putting them in the garage, sitting next to each other, while holding hands....while watching paint dry on a canvas. And everytime they said something rude to each other, he poured a little more paint over the canvas. They were there for 4 hours. But they stopped fighting so....success?"
The Instant Silencer
"My father once gently slapped me with a loaf of ham, that was so unexpected that I just shutted up"
The methods these parents employed were not physically painful experiences but they sure drove their point home.
"Making 7 kids shovel snow using pots and pans because we lost the snow shovels building snow forts."
"After a late night out of underage heavy drinking, my father got me up at 5 AM. Decided it was a good time for us to clean the garage - thoroughly. I did most of the work for 3 hours. Then he took me to breakfast and discussed the error of my ways, promising more 5 AM chores any time it happened again. It didn't happen again."
"My dad once grounded both my sister and I. We were blaming each other when he decided to separate us. He came into my room and sat down on the bed before taking a deep breath and explaining that he knew my sister was the one to blame. He asked me how long I think he should ground her for."
"I said a couple of days."
"He then went to her room and told her the same thing. It was all my fault and he knew it. Asked her how long he should ground me for, and she said a month."
"So she got grounded for a month and I got grounded for a couple of days, because that's what punishment we each thought was appropriate. She stopped being spiteful after that."
When Dad's Hold The Power
"When I thought I was big and tough, after getting into an argument with my father, I told him that I didn't need him anymore. He simply goes downstairs and shuts off the power to my room. After hours of being stubborn and hot headed (mind you, it was the middle of summer and I lived in the attic...) I finally caved. I've never said anything like that to him ever again."
The Value Of Having A Home
"Not for me but for my younger brother."
"Got suspended from school. Can't remember the exact reason but it led to a huge argument between him and my mum. He ended up shouting at her about how much he hated her and hating living here and that 'even jail would be better than this!'"
"So my parents took out every piece of furniture and every item from his room aside from his bed. He had to sit in there for five days, with nothing to entertain himself with. Was allowed out four times a day to use the toilet. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was decided by mum and put outside his door."
"He apologised quickly but mum stuck to her decision. After the five days, he never complained about living here ever again."
"When my brother and I would fight, my Mom would make us sit on the couch and hold hands for a long time."
I can honestly say as an adult, I was a pain in their backside. There comes a point where warnings are not enough. That being said, I don't begrudge my parents for their punishment methods.
It's certainly an interesting topic. Most of my friends who have endured many forms of traditional punishment as kids do not employ similar methods for their children.
They are more protective of them and only issue stern warnings, but the kids remain uncooperative and unruly.
It makes me wonder what other parents' limitations are before taking a hand to a child to say, "enough."
Having a baby can be a very exciting time, but also very nerve racking for first time parents. Especially for new dads, who may feel left out of the parenting conversation.
Though, it's actually critical for the child's development to have a positive connection with their children. Having a father figure can help develop emotional regulation skills, cognitive behavioral function, and general health and well-being.
Well, how does a dad really do that? Redditor spektorboi wanted advice from real dads who have been through those early, critical stages of development with their kids.
Reddit user spektorboi asked:
"Dads of Reddit, what's a tip you can give a soon to be father for the first year of fatherhood?"
If you're wondering about keeping calm during crying fits, bonding with your child, or disciplining your child, these are some amazing answers,
Don't fall for it, Dads.
"90% of the toys and accessories 'you must buy' will go unused. It's a cliche but your kid will play with the box more than anything."
"I highly recommend books as it's good learning and bonding time."
"I firmly believe that one of the biggesr things that lead to my mental development is that my parents bought legos for me. When i was little and a choking hazard, they got the jumbo sized blocks. It really helps your imagination and understanding of 3d space and dexterity. They also bought these neoprene foam blocks for the bathtub. There were always things like this to keep me stimulated growing up."
"I graduated from large legos and block sets to tinker toys and link-n-logs and large-piece puzzles, to regular legos and regular jigsaw puzzles, to knex. If they had it back then I probably would have moved on to those kinematic and robotic kits."
Sometimes the toys you buy are influential!
"One of my sons who had (still has) a crazy amount of LEGOs is now an architect doing design & build work. I can't think of a better investment for kids, though I guess the easy bake oven and kitchen set was pretty solid too for one of my other sons with mad culinary skills now…"
It's backed by science!
"Well have I got science for you!! There's a few studies on the influence of childhood play on spatial reasoning in adults. Here's one studying college students, and it basically says that spatial reasoning was better in those "who played action, construction, or sports video games in childhood" or "played with construction-based toys." – doi:10.1130/GES01494.1"
"I started with those big legos too, then moved on to mapping out my lego towns with my My Little Ponies and Barbies, and now if I get drunk and a mahjong rubiks cube is around I tear that shit up."
"Reinforcement of learned skills during crucial developmental periods is what creates most "natural" ability."
Please, keep calm.
"No matter what happens don't shake the baby."
"And it's absolutely OK to walk away and take a break from a crying baby, if you're feeling frustrated."
If the baby is in a safe place, it's okay to walk away.
"Adding on to this; if you're frustrated and starting to vigorously rock a colicky baby, stop. Put the baby in their crib or somewhere safe. Leave the room, close the door and take a shower. This works for a number of reasons."
"1. The hot water is soothing."
"2. You're probably not on a consistent shower schedule with a colicky baby and you smell."
"3. The sound of the water will drown out the cries, which is a good thing!"
"The baby is safe, it's okay if they cry for 10 minutes while you reset your brain. You can't help them if you are stressed, you have to calm down before you can help."
Be creative with your coping.
"This is seriously great advice. I found myself repeatedly frustrated with a my first daughter had serious gas issues for the first couple months and struggled to sleep at night because of it. She had to be rocked or carried around to fall back asleep - which was tiresome to do night after night. She had no control over it, it just was."
"Lacking any healthier outlet, I sang to her about how I was tired and wanted her to go to sleep. Turns out, she was soother by the singing and I was soothed by letting my frustration out. Find some silly and healthy way of coping - be creative. It worked for me - and helped a lot in terms of bonding."
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It's all about perspective.
"Understand that to your child you are a giant. When you get mad, realize that you yelling at the kid is like a 30 foot giant standing over you. Really try to imagine how scary that would be."
"If you do it right you'll picture that every time you get angry and it'll give you some perspective."
"It is all about perspective. A baby/child doesn't know anything. They do not do things to p*ss you off. Be empathetic to their issues. The baby phase is easy as they generally only cry if they're hungry/tired/full nappy. Obviously there are more reasons but generally. Not the rule. If you approach them empathetic to their plight, not only will you be calmer and better equipped emotionally to deal with them long term with more complex issues, but they will want to talk to you in future because of that empathy and showing of compassion regardless of how trivial you may think it is"
Three conditions for saying 'no.'
"Be patient. Every skill you want your child to master needs time to develop and space to flourish. They can't just 'copy' your way of doing things, because they won't make sense to the child the same way they make sense to you."
"Always discipline out of love, never hate! Never forget that you're a parent first and a cool friend last, though."
"I agree. I was very lucky in that I had pretty great parents. I try to emulate mom in a few ways and say no under three conditions: it isn't safe, there isn't time or there isn't money.
"'Daddy can we play outside' isn't something I always want to do, but she's three. How can anyone say no to that? Kids should be outside more! We'll go hit the trampoline or play tag or something."
"If by discipline you mean hitting your child, then just don't. Hitting children is not good for anything. This is recognized in a large number of developed countries and forbidden in a number of countries in Europe."
"Also, 'discipline' only really works in the moment and only teaches them what not to do (and they can be unclear on generalizing). Yelling at them for drawing on the walls with crayon may make them stop doing that, but won't prevent them from practicing graffito on another wall like praising them for drawing on paper will."
Headphones for crying.
"An excellent pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a life-saver the first 3-6 months. Not to ignore them obviously, but if you need to walk them around to calm them down it helps A LOT."
"'No baby has ever died from crying' really put it in perspective for me. If you're too frazzled, it's okay to step back for a few minutes to collect yourself and calm down. In fact, it's not just okay, it is what you should do."
"The corollary to this is 'no baby ever fell off the floor.' My wife and I used that one with both our boys if we needed a short break. Put the baby on the floor, go do what you need to (take a breath, go pee, get a drink, prep a bottle, etc) and come back. For the first few months at least, they aren't going anywhere."
Duck and cover!
"When changing diapers:"
"If it's a girl, wipe front to back."
"If it's a boy, assume it's loaded and will unload at anytime and at max range."
"For a boy, wipe his lower belly with a cold wipe before taking off the diaper, most of the time it tricks him into peeing. Most of the time."
"For all other times, leave a washcloth or (if it's not too gross) the nappy/diaper you just removed over the penis as an intercepting shield."
"Lots of good advice already. I have 2 things to add about breast feeding. You can't! But you can help. For the middle of the night feedings, whether planned or unplanned, I would get up, get our daughter, check the diaper, and bring the baby to mom while mom does whatever to make herself comfortable. I nap while they feed. When done, I took her back to bed, checked the diaper and went back to bed where mom was asleep again. Its not much, but my wife appreciated it."
"You can't get that mother/baby feeding bond, but I took a different approach to getting that bonding moment-diaper change! It has to be done, so make it a dad/baby bonding thing. Don't race. Its not the Daytona 500 where seconds count. Play with her/him while you clean them up. Find their feet, their nose. Laugh when they giggle. Bond. Mommy makes the tummy better, dad makes the bottom better. Both are very important to baby. Of course I don't mean you have to change all the diapers, just make the most of it when you do."
"Have fun. Remember, you're not going to be perfect. There's a heck of a learning curve. Babies are tougher than they look, but still delicate."
"Oh, that first morning you wake up and baby slept through the night is scary. You'll be happy when it happens and everybody is fine, but it is scary when it happens."
"The breastfeeding was huge for wife and I. We did it in the babies room, but I made it a point to get up and go with her change the baby's diaper and then hand her to my wife. I laid on the floor and played game boy while wife and baby fed in the rocking chair. Then when all was done swaddled baby back up put her in bed and crawled my a** back in bed with the wife. But also important and you kind of glossed over it."
"Keep calm and relax. All babies are different some are chill AF and some scream all night. Neither one spells doom and gloom. Just do your best to understand that sometimes it's fine to put baby down in a safe place like crib and walk away for a few minutes to regain yourself. Being a first time parent is very hard so try not to listen too much to other people who tell you the baby should do x or y by z date."
"Finally yup. even though my last baby in story above was my second baby to raise and care for first night she slept through terrified me when I woke up."
By the way, don't forget your wife.
"When my wife was breastfeeding she would get super thirsty the moment our baby latched on. Have a glass of water ready when she sits down with the baby."
Though, are we gonna trust someone with a username like Yeeteth_thy_baby?
The first 8 weeks.
"The first 8 weeks are not representative of the overall experience."
"Some people say the first 8 weeks are the hardest. Some people say it gets easier after the first 8 weeks....but that's almost...an oversimplification of the transition to 'parenthood.'"
"What in trying to say is: there will be days during the first 8 weeks that you think things are going badly, don't despair in those sleep deprived emotional moments: you've got this!"
"The first 8 weeks are the most straightforward. They're not easy but pretty standard across babies, for the most part. When they start crawling and walking, then you got problems."
"Oh lord. I look back at those first 8 weeks with envy. So easy. I wasn't working. My husband had lots of holiday. My parents were around. People came to coo over the adorable baby and bring me stuff. And the baby did basically nothing. Eat sleep poop. It stayed where I put it and it didn't sass me. And you're kinda riding the high of the new baby you've been waiting for for so long."
"Then they learn to move. And talk. And all bets are off."
"You settle into routine, real life comes back and you have to actually figure out your schedule properly and work out how to fit the new baby in long term around everything else that hasn't just magically vanished..."
"I'm more exhausted now trying to out logic the damn child and figure out how to be at work and school pickup at the same time!"
There are plenty of tender moments to be had with your new born, even if at times you're ready to throw in the towel. I really appreciate what know_vagrancy had to say:
"Share your stories, connect with others, and don't be afraid to join social circles / groups to connect with other new parents. It makes us realize we are not alone with our struggles."
You're not alone!
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