More Brilliance from Cracked

Hi Readers! I’m becoming a Cracked addict. (Har har. I’m sure NOBODY ever thought of that before.)

Anyway, here are the definitive, “7 Things Good Parents Do (That Screw Up Kids for Life).” I especially endorse the one about teaching kids about “stranger danger.” (The caption is still making me laugh.)  Enjoy! — Lenore

27 Responses

  1. I love that one. Schools certainly make it tough to balance the “stranger danger” issue. I have to admit, my kids have seen a few educational videos. About the only one that I think did any good was the Leapfrog Letter Factory one. So far all my kids have loved it and picked up their alphabets from it at an early age.

    But I still prefer they be outside or playing with toys. It’s just those times when videos are convenient.

    I read an article some time back that explained that it’s better to praise a child for putting in good effort than saying things like “you’re so smart!” It encourages them to keep putting in a good effort, rather than expecting things to go well just because they’re smart, and giving up when things don’t go easily.

  2. Whoops, Our oldest boy’s name is Preston.

  3. Educational videos-

    Yah, we use the computer as a babysitter sometimes. What can I say, we don’t have any free baby sitters, er, family nearby.

    But when I’m reading him a book, I can actually answer his questions about what’s going on in the pictures. Or ask him about what happened during the day that relates to the pictures. Or change the story a bit. Or get him to ‘read’ part. We do a great two part harmony of “Brown Bear” 🙂


  5. The comedian Demetri Martin once said,”Never talk to Strangers……..unless you want to meet new people…anywhere…anytime”.

  6. Perfect. Thank you for making my day!!

  7. marvelous!

  8. So funny! I read this earlier today and thought of you, Lenore!

  9. I love your blog. Thank you for being a voice of reason in a cacophony of ‘The Sky is Falling’.

    I love cracked! I can’t read it at work because it makes me laugh out loud too much.

  10. Stranger danger…. That one always struck me as odd. How many kids are actually familiar with their teacher, the lunch lady, the janitor, the school bus driver, the school secretary, the principal, etc. on the first day of school? In most cases, they are all a bunch of complete strangers and parents happily drop off they young ‘uns in their care.

    Odd, really odd.

    P.S. My cousin worked as a nanny for many years. She told me the average job interview was 15 minutes, and only one couple every actually called her references. So after a 15 minute conversation, people hand over their babies for 8 to 10 hours. Yet STRANGERS aren’t to be trusted. Makes me wonder…..

  11. Thanks for the laugh Lenore!

  12. Nice. I was going to e-mail this one to you, but my flight had to leave (side note: 15 hours on a 747 = not fun; at least the one kid near me only started wailing when we had only four hours to go).

    All of them crack me up.

  13. Great! I’m passing this link around.

  14. Starting the kids in school early or letting them skip grades absolutely causes issues, at least in my experience. Now I am a completely functional & well balanced adult, so its not that I have any regrets or place blame for all of my problems in the fact that I skipped grades, of course, but it certainly was a contributing factor. Elementary school was tolerable as I hadn’t really become aware of the differences between myself and my slightly older peers – but let me tell ya – starting high school as a prepubescent 12 year old did nothing to advance my social skills, and in fact left me so displaced that I went from over-achiever to alienated drop-out within 2 years.

  15. Some of the ways parents mess up referred to in the article include that kids can be less tolerant of others that are not like them and may “Take my ball and go home” when confronted with social pressure. This can be observed in some famous young people. This past week a 22 year old threatened to walk out of an interview because she didn’t like the questions she got. The thing that made her famous was due to an incident with another spoiled young low level celebrity. Neither is well prepared for life or as model citizens.

  16. But caroline, there are those of us who were in chronological age-normal classrooms who had exactly the problems you described, whether because of size issues, faster or slower physical development, or faster or slower emotional or intellectual development, than the average (in my case, significantly faster in some areas while significantly slower in others, making me a real “freak.”) Putting me in an age grouping that would have matched at least ONE of my characteristics could only have made things better, not worse (worse wasn’t really possible) — and you also have perfectly “age-normal” kids who also have all the same issues, so it’s really hard to pin them on what class you’re in at what age.

  17. I tell my kids, “You can talk to strangers, but don’t GO with strangers.” But I also tell them not to go with people they know unless I know where they are.

    I strongly encourage my kids to talk to strangers and to say hello to everybody they pass when we are out taking a walk. Some of these people never talk to anybody throughout the day and everybody gets a lift out of a stranger (or a familiar) saying hello. It’s a simple gift we can give to those who cross our paths, and it is especially sweet when given by a child.

    As for our parents messing us up. That’s a copout. Sure, we may have to work a little harder to be the person we want to be, but we all have the choice to rise above how we are raised, whether we feel our parents were right or wrong. And our kids have the same choice to overcome our inadequate parenting. We really need to fight the idea that parents are responsible for how their kids turn out. It is not true. That doesn’t mean we should all be “bad” parents. It’s better to keep the baggage our kids have to sort through to a minimum. Just because for some it is more difficult than for others doesn’t mean it is impossible.

  18. I absolutely refuse to believe that more criminals are named “Alec” “Garland” or “Ernest” in America than are named “Joe.” Something is amiss in this information.

  19. “About the only one that I think did any good was the Leapfrog Letter Factory one.”

    Yes, that REALLY did seem to teach my kid basic phonics when she was 4. Then she went to school at 5 and actually seemed to regress, since they are teaching in some weird way that doesn’t involve phonics but involves writing however you happen to THINK the words sound, and then never being told you’ve just written gibberish (lest your little cherubic self-esteem be crushed, and you think you have to try at anything–loved the self-esteem section of the article). I need to crack those Leap Frog videos out again…

  20. Sky, I think what you’re describing is ’emergent writing’. I’m not an expert, I don’t even have a kid in school, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be about protecting their self esteem, although it certainly might get taught that way. I think it’s more about getting them to be creative without sweating the small stuff.

    Kind of like I can barely understand half the words my 3 year old is saying, but I first try to get the story (which is the important part) and then maybe correct a bit of grammar or pronunciation (which at this point is frankly the less important part). If every conversation with Dad is an exercise in frustration ’cause Dad’s got his Grammar Nazi hat on, he’ll just stop telling me stories.

    At least, that’s how I think it’s supposed to work.

  21. Yeah, I think that’s the goal, but it just makes her frustrated. She wants to know how words are actually spelled. I find most kids do. The idea that kids will stop being creative if you tell them “wot” does not actually spell “went to” seems a little overportective to me. If you want them to create, let them tell oral stories without correction, since oral and written langauge don’t have the same standards anyway. Letting them write a word spelled incorrectly 100 times, and never telling them it’s incorrect, I would think could build bad habits. Well, we’ll see how it works out in the end…but I’m cracking out hooked on phonics over winter break.

  22. I absolutely refuse to believe that more criminals are named “Alec” “Garland” or “Ernest” in America than are named “Joe.” Something is amiss in this information.

    The problem is how you’re reading this. What it says is not that out of every 100 criminals, 1 is named Joe and 10 are named Alec.

    It says that out of every 100 people named Joe, only 5 (or whatever) are convicted felons, where out of every 100 people named Alec, 15 (or whatever) are felons.

    Note that this also doesn’t explain *why* this is so. It may be because people with less familiar names (and let’s just go out on a limb and say we’re talking about unfamiliar names like Hasheem or DaShaun instead of Alec and Ernest) are more likely to be convicted because judges and juries unconsciously are less sympathetic to people who are different from them.

  23. Just a thought I know people that
    1. Tell their children to never talk to strangers
    2. Try to make their children hug me as a greeting

    Drives me NUTS. I do think children should be taught to greet people verbally, make eye contact, and shake hands. No one should be forced to hug. I have spoken privately to the parents about being uncomfortable with them them forcing their child to hug me. Most stopped.

    The funniest was when a Mom ordered her son to hug me and he said NO, I just ate peanut butter cookies. Mom got so mad at the no – she overlooked the fact that the hug from her son could kill me.

  24. Loved the bit about athletics being maybe-not-so-great for a kid. Of course having done numerous projects with inner-city kids I can say that there is nothing more frustrating than being with a new group of early-teen boys and when you ask them about their life plans half of them are going to be rap stars – not musicians, stars – and the other half are going to play in the NBA. Translation: “I’m going to be rich and famous without studying or learning to treat people with respect.” So count me an anti-jock, but when outrage erupts because a famous athlete is charged with rape, spousal abuse, dog fighting, or whatever my reaction is “So? What do you expect? Don’t you remember the jocks in high school? Really, bro, who would you have your 15 year old daughter date – a varsity linebacker or the first-chair tenor sax player?” P. J. O’Rourke (what is it about this site that makes me quote PJ?) once remarked, I think while talking about drug-use zero tolerance that while many say that professional athletes should be held to higher standards because children look up to them, PJ said “So? They’re children… they look up to everyone because they are short.”

  25. Also – regarding names: “News of the Weird” had a long-running series called “That Fatal Middle Name” where he cited dozens of people who had been arrested for henious felonies and had the middle name “Wayne.” John Wayne Gacey was just the tip of the iceberg – I remember reading several years ago in the local paper when the Houston cops took down a notorious crack ring called the Scott Street Posse – out of the seven people arrested, two had the middle name Wayne and another was Somebody DeWayne.

  26. Cracked is one of my favourute sites. I especially love the articles about the human body and mind, showing that even a sneeze can kill a person, so why worry?

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