Sex-Ed, Fighting, Potty-Training & Colic
At the one-year anniversary of BadDaddy – unconventional wisdom for free-thinking parents in America – the mailbag is full. So, we’re combining the best (of the very best) questions and answers into the new “Ask Daddy” column.
Keep ’em coming, and here goes round one, served over ice with your favorite spirits, kids down, feet up, and some Sticky Fingers on if you’re lucky-
When should we introduce sex-education?
-Debbie in Dallas
Early and often, Debbie. Don’t let the public-school system ruin a good thing.
Just yesterday when the mood struck (after 10 years, four kids, and three mortgages, my wife’s still got it), the twins were both sleeping (jackpot!). We ripped off each other’s clothes like lusting teenagers in a vampire movie.
Halfway in, I realized we were broadcasting the whole depraved act through the video monitor right out to the kitchen counter. Oh s—.
I had no choice but to keep this information quiet. I told myself to disengage, but like asking your dog not to wag his tail, it was a futile exercise. Mia (8) and Ryder (7) had just sat down to lunch and got more than a mouthful.
Ever wonder where babies come from guys?
I still haven’t told Ashley (maybe she’ll watch it online, like you). Click here to download the video. Sorry, bad link, try this (dirty, gullible bastards…).
Even before you broadcast sex tapes across the neighborhood on the baby monitor’s universal frequency (Channel B, for those in South Austin), you should broach this tricky subject while the kids are young, i.e. before it gets weird. You would be surprised at how comfortable and downright scientific a conversation about sex is with a curious seven-year-old.
Ryder is now quizzing red-faced babysitters about fallopian tubes, ovulation, and the birth canal. (This is my cue to fake a phone call).
Once they become pre-teens, they may want to know, or think they already do, but they won’t want to talk to you about it. If you force it, it’s just awkward.
For your sake and theirs, start at ages 6-8. Here’s the perfect book we use in our home to get things started, a real page-turner:
My kids fight constantly. What should I do?
-Mary in Minneapolis
One final death match, obviously.
Take a cue from the Chinese. I’ll always admire their One-Child Policy. Having four kids feels like treading water in the deep-end with a cinderblock around my neck. As Confucius once say, “one child cannot himself fight”.
But seriously, Mary, I do feel your pain. Nothing hurts Ashley and I more than to see our children, who are supposed to love each other, instead lash out.
You must remember though that siblings fight.
It’s what they do. You may not know this if you don’t have any. If you do, think back to your childhood. Did the fighting need to be stopped?
I was at a dinner party just last month and heard my 41-year-old older sister describing the epic battles we had as kids. She taught me everything I knew in the octagon, and I dutifully relayed those lessons down the chain.
I had five years and 30 pounds on my brother and held him down daily dribbling spit out of my mouth to see if I could suck it back up when it was close to his face (sometimes I could, and sometimes not). He’s fine today.
The worst thing you can do as a parent is to play referee, or encourage them to rat on each other by punishing the one who hit first, last, or hardest.
Just stay out of it altogether and let your kids be kids. If it’s bad enough that you absolutely must intervene, then implement some simple incentives.
Clear incentives are the only way to change human behavior, a fail-safe for the consistent parent. To overcome your (my) inconsistencies, try my point-system parenting matrix, which works like a charm (I now respond only to Dr. Phil).
In the meantime, open a cold one, and put a sock in it. Your kids are like young bucks cracking horns in the wilderness. They wouldn’t be young bucks without the ritual. Do you want bucks, or spineless jellyfish?
Potty-training is NOT working. What do we do?
-Patty in Potterville
Stop worrying about it, Patty. Just be cool with diapers for a bit longer and save yourself the heartache and pain.
They say that with the right methods potty-training only takes one day, but what they don’t tell you is that you have to wait for the right day.
(Like when they’re 12).
If you start too early, you just give yourself more laundry, and the sunken feeling of defeat while you wipe the brown stuff from the upholstery in your (otherwise sporty) minivan, only to find a trail of urine leading in the house to kitchen pantry and back to a playroom full of fruit-snack wrappers.
It’s then, back in the minivan, you’ll contemplate suicide.
Who gives a damn if Suzie Dingleberry and her whiz-kid Pinkus from tumbles potty-trained at 18 months and is trilingual (espanol and freak’n American sign language, goddamn Baby Signing time, this is a special time, tell me what’s on your mind….sign, sign, sign, baby sign…). Can Pinkus do a backflip? Gut a fish?
Shotgun a beer?
Speaking another language is nice, but must we compete about when and where our little snowflakes take a s—? Relax; your kids will use the toilet just like everybody else. Be secure enough to know it doesn’t really matter when.
Our newborn cries constantly. What now?!?!
-Sandy in Seattle
Just kill yourself, Sandy, before the minivan fills up with s—.
In the meantime, it sounds like colic, which is usually just a fancy, nebulous, hopeless-sounding label for acid reflux.
If that’s the case, I have great news: It’s not hopeless. Prescription Pepcid or Zantac can make it go away. You both can have near-instant, lasting relief.
These drugs are not without downside, as they can impact the gut bacteria, so do your research, but if it’s bad, the benefits can outweigh the risks. Nothing is worse than a baby that cannot be consoled. This is a time when you should be bonding, and you can’t even put the little sucker down to brush your teeth.
How do you bond with the monster who ruined your life?
Hell, you can’t sit down, let alone put him down. I know the story well. He isn’t soothed unless you’re on your feet, bouncing, all the time. Well, you can bounce all day, but you cannot bounce all day and all night. Something’s gotta give.
I’ve got some more news for you: Baby is going to have to cry a bit, with you by his side, to see the other end of this. It’s okay.
It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. (I’m Robin Williams, and you’re Matt Damon right now)…
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!
Just don’t shake him like a crazy, liquored-up babysitter who just got into the medicine cabinet, please, even though I know you want to sometimes.
(Man, do I know).
Take a deep breath, and schedule time with the pediatrician to discuss reflux, especially if he’s arching his back aggressively or it’s worse after eating.
And remember, this is over by 12 months, if not sooner. You can do it.
We won a copy of your book, “Where does money come from?”, when will it be ready?
-Dick in Denton
Thanks Dick, for the plug.
We have started work on the BadDaddy children’s book line, and continue to give one of every four away free (enter your email for a 25% chance to win).
We don’t have the release date as we evaluate design and publishing options, but expect it within the year.
In the meantime, we found a great series for kids and families called the Tuttle Twins. Mia and Ryder love these, and frankly, so do I.
They present a solid foundation in Austrian economics (the empirical stuff that works, not the debt-slave claptrap clung to against all sense of reason and the flood of incoming data in the Halls of Power and Politics).
Don’t let your kids become servants to bankrupt institutions pushing propaganda to prop-up the status quo.
When they learn how the world actually works, they have a HUGE advantage in life, and the Tuttle Twins are a great start, with the BadDaddy series to follow.
How many ways to screw up your kids?
A ton — especially in the face of widespread, institutionalized incompetence, misdirection, and graft — but not nearly as much if you keep your head on straight, think independently, and question authority.
You can do it, and we can help. When in doubt, Ask Daddy.
So, there you have the first of many from the BadDaddy mailbag. Keep your questions coming, and take it on the rocks with a rim of salt. Above all, ignore the noise, and always, always, question authority. Your kids depend on it.
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