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#13 - Definitions for raising kids

 Before we get into the meat of the column, readers should understand that the point of view I am about to present is mine. The people who own this news paper may or may not be able to appreciate the brilliance presented herein.

 Those of you who were lucky enough to have read my first column, know that I advise my readers not to accept advice from anyone who has not succeeded in the area in which they offer advice. Therefore, so that you might properly perceive the wisdom I present this week, I offer credentials.

I am the proud father of three children, the 19 year old male artist and college student who creates the Love Doctor cartoons, a 17 year old female who attends a prestigious university on full academic scholarship and a 5 year old male who reads as well as most 4th graders  Recently, I borrowed myself from my business for three years to share my knowledge with young people as a high school teacher. In my first year teaching I was honored as one of the "top ten" teachers at the school....    Love Doctor knows children!

The first observation I would like to make is that the world might be better off if some folks just wouldn't have children. Some people just don't have the guts or skill it takes to turn something that only eats, sleeps, cries and dirties diapers into a strong, intelligent, productive, law abiding adult human being.
If you think of babies as sweet little things that coo and smile and hold onto your thumbs with their tiny hands, let's look at the facts. First, babies only smell sweet because we bathe them, change their diapers, wash the sour milk from their clothes and put baby powder on them. Second, They wouldn't coo if you (or someone else) hadn't spent many hours in their face speaking baby talk to them. Third, the same cute little hands they use grab your thumb will soon be used to spill things, tear things, pull down table cloths and draperies and poke things into electrical outlets (or any other place where they may get injured).

If you want children because they are cute, let me help you solve your insanity. Next time you think of a cute sweet little baby, close your eyes and visualize an orange haired teenager with ragged faded jeans, a key hanging from his earring, with his hands out, chewing gum, asking you for the keys to the family car so the "posse" can go to the Two Live Crew concert. If that doesn't cure you, I don't know what will.

Actually, I have to admit that my own wife, "Boo", is one of those people who melt at the sight of a baby and the smell of Johnson's baby powder. We have a box in our master bath room. She became addicted to the stuff when the 5 year old was born.

Don't get the idea that the Love Doctor doesn't like kids. I love them, but every time I see a child, I see the challenges of raising that child. I enjoy children because I enjoy challenges.

Raising children is a tug of war. The child will seek to have its own way (freedom) and you must influence what it wants to do (by your example and what you expose it to) and gradually give freedom and responsibility as you measure the child's ability to handle each. Since there may be arguments from time to time, during the process, I provide you, here, with some working definitions which will better equip you for debates with your own personal crumb snatchers.

"Who controls what" is the basis for a classic debate. "Its my room, so why do I have to keep it clean". Solution - Define yours (the child's) as things that you (the child) have paid for; mine (the parent's) - everything else

Children may attempt to become very demanding. Define rights as food, clothing, shelter, safety, medical care, school. Privileges either are earned or allowed because I (the parent) am a wonderful human being and I like you today. Privileges may be withdrawn by parent at any time for any reason.
Child Abuse - if I harm you more than what you are about to do to yourself.

Freedom of Expression: Everyone has the right to pout and suck their teeth as long as they pout and suck their teeth while they are doing what they were told to do.
Adulthood: The point in life when a person pays the rent, buys groceries, pays the utility bills, car insurance and phone bill.

The next definition is intended to help parents help their children. Toys - playthings, used by children to develop skills, attitudes, aptitudes and desires for adulthood. Note: Most children will not be turtles when they grow up.