Rule #31: Ignore Your Child’s Crying

Ignore your kid's whining and she'll go away. Either by wandering off or by Child Services.

Ignore your kid's whining and she'll go away. Either by wandering off or by Child Services.

Like most normal parents, your goal in life is to minimize how much your children annoy you.

This isn’t always easy, because while your kids are miniature versions of you—and you can’t imagine not spending quality hours staring at a smaller, cuter you—there are plenty of times when it’s much more beneficial to simply ignore them.

You have a life. You have things to do, like playing the Lottery, watching fishing shows, and spending ridiculous sums of money on purses you can tote your maxed-out credit cards around in.

Early on, the so-called Ferber method taught you to let your baby “cry it out,” which essentially meant displaying to your child that they could count on you to bolt when things got dicey.

With this kind of groundwork in place, it’s important for your child to develop a feeling of unease and general palm-sweatiness—knowing that it’s never about him.

It’s about you.

Wanted: Public Displays of Disaffection

Your children, no matter what their age, crave your time and attention—while you’re usually craving something else entirely. It takes hard work to distance yourself from your offspring, but with a little practice and perseverance, you’ll have your children feeling a queasy sense of abandonment and insecurity in no time. Some common scenarios and time-honored techniques:

Huh? What? Can’t hear you, kid…

Strangers, especially the hearing impaired and the extremely old, can’t get enough of your child’s jackhammer crying bouts and tantrums in public places like grocery stores, restaurants, and churches. Everyone else? Well, they endure it like diarrhea on a crowded bus cruising a pothole-mired road: surprised it’s happening and praying to get off at the next stop.

Earmuffs: You may look like a dork, but you won't have to hear your child.

Earmuffs: You may look like a dork, but you won't have to hear your child.

The next time your child does his best Mussolini because he’s been told that you won’t buy him a Shetland pony or the Atlantic Ocean, you won’t have to hear a thing. Three words: Industrial-strength earmuffs.

If you continually wear the type of ear protection used by factory workers and guys who wave in 747s on tarmacs, you’ll send a message to your whining child:

“Hey, Nathaniel, see these earmuffs? I’m wearing them all the time now instead of earrings. So, you can screech and bother everyone in this entire restaurant, but I’m going to sit here in blissful silence and ignore you—and I really didn’t want to hear what daddy has to say anyway.”

Shh, let me focus on the still-hot letter-turning lady, okay?

Teenagers crave your attention more than they let on, but if you ignore them long enough, like a feral cat that simply wants a few emotional scraps, they’ll go away.

Your teenage son or daughter might want to tearfully share some feelings with you about a struggle he or she is having with a classmate or love interest—this is their attempt at reaching out and bonding.

While lots of child-development experts applaud these moments, it’s often better to turn the volume way up on the TV and say something offhanded, such as, “Jenny, sweetheart, I’m trying to watch Wheel of Fortune. Stop yapping at me about how lonely you feel at school except with Josh, the dangerous goth loner in the black trenchcoat—enough already. All high-school relationships end up as empty failures. Oh, look! Pat Sajak is groping another female contestant! Run along, now.”

Jenny will learn an important lesson about “bucking up” and how dad, despite outward public appearances, is really a douche bag where it counts the most: at home.

Comments

  1. jason says:

    this is a sure-fire way to make friends with strangers in public places. oh wait, not.

  2. You have FANTASTIC advice! Oh and BTW, those “earmuffs” actually come in many, many colors if you like Black, Green and Red. I found a pair in Pink if you so desire : http://tinyurl.com/bg5ugm.

    Love your Blog!

  3. @jason: True. You probably have a better chance of making a hit-list.

    @Mommielicious: Very effing stylish. This removes the aforementioned “dork factor.” Ignoring the hellian and doing it in style. Nicely done!

  4. Pissed OFF says:

    I don’t find this funny in the slightest. Their is a concept out there called “learned helplessness” that you probably would know about if you had any educatation at all which clearly you don’t. Kids who get ignored when they cry out for help are far more likely to suffer depression and to have a negative worldview. This can lead to crime down the road and worse.

    I don’t know were you get off spewing this crap but it really needs to end now. What qualifies you to write this advice anyway?

    • Reality Checker says:

      In your sentence …”if you had any educatation at all which clearly you don’t,” you spelled “education” wrong. Kind of ironic, I think. Anyway, relax. If you are taking anything on this site seriously, you’ve missed the point–humor!

  5. @pissed OFF – If you’re (notice the proper use of the word “you’re”) going to come onto a HUMOR site and read a post about a fictional, sarcastic parenting scenario, and then find yourself compelled to leave an ignorant comment, please find the decency to use proper spelling of simple words.

    Enjoy your humor-free life.

  6. Kyle Maxwell says:

    @4: Seriously, you don’t see the name of the site?

    Also, “educatation” is spelled “education.” Run-on sentences might be permissible out here on teh intarwebz, but actually they straddle the line between poor writing and incorrect usage.

    And holy moly, talk about “negative worldview”.

  7. ebbandflo says:

    Hmm! Something about the title to this site gives me the hint that it might be tongue-in-cheek?

    but maybe I’ll run out and buy the earmuffs too cos it sounds v sensible

  8. Mad Woman says:

    Gosh, this is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek, non professional site? And here I was basing all my parenting decisions on what I read here. I guess I’ll have to go back and get myself some “educatation” like you have, oh lovely Pissed OFF.

    FKW – Excellent post as always :) Had me laughing all the way through, all while figuring out how I could implement it into my parenting repetoire.

  9. brent says:

    HAHA! This site is awesome! The comments are just as good as the post itself!

  10. Susan says:

    When my 4-year-old son wanted a Fisher Price camera in a DisneyWorld store and I said “NO,” I let him lay on the floor and cry (more like wail) about it. Those darned do-gooder Disney police made me explain why I was letting my kid cry. I think I was in direct violation of the “buy anything your kid wants” policy of the parks.

  11. kate says:

    Cute site, funny article, hilarious comments. Sadly, it’s not surprising someone would mistake your advice for truth because most of what you’ve written passes for good advice in most mainstream parenting magazines–they’re just not quite so candid about it.

  12. Wow. Most of you are pretty awesome.

  13. Marilyn_Res says:

    @Angie and Kyle: you picked up on two of Pissed OFF’s misspellings, but their’s another one…

  14. Gail says:

    BEST. WEBSITE. EVER!!!!

  15. Xhex says:

    Love your site makes me laugh every time I see a new post!!

  16. kitty says:

    Well, they endure it like diarrhea on a crowded bus cruising a pothole-mired road: surprised it’s happening and praying to get off at the next stop.

    0.o I can fully imagine that and empathise… 0.o rofl

    I love you FKW <3

  17. New_Bad_Dad says:

    @Marilyn_Res

    1) Their
    2) Educatation
    3) Were

  18. Mark says:

    Ok so I’ve read about half the posts on this site and so far haven’t been disappointed with the ensuing hilarity. What I really don’t get is the people who read stuff here, get all offended like its meant to be taken seriously and then spout off with diahreah(spelling?) of the mouth. Or of the fingers.
    @pissed off… Were did you get your educatation? I think they may want there diploma back. Jackass.

    On a side note, this particular entry isn’t totally bad advice. It’s what my mother did with my brother and myself and we learned early on that crying wouldn’t get us our way. Only a spanking once we got home.

  19. Nancy says:

    Leave ‘Pissed off’ alone. They’re probably upset that their kid got caught shoplifting. After all this is a serious site!

  20. Kelly says:

    Stumbling upon this site is the ONLY thing that’s kept me from murdering those worthless little life-drainers that throw fits in public. Now, I finally understand WHY it happens so much “nowadays”. Parents with shitty educatations have obviously been visiting this site and incorporating its teachings into there worldview. I think that “Pissed OFF” might just be the handle of some newly unemployed retard we all came to loathe and laugh at, more commonly known as “W”??? Hmmm? Fool me twice, shame on the ignorer.

  21. COLIN says:

    feeling of unease and general palm-sweatiness—knowing that it’s never about him.
    a queasy sense of abandonment and insecurity
    that discribes how i used to feel
    now my parents annoy the shit out of me exactly like diarrhea on a crowded bus cruising a pothole-mired road: surprised it’s happening and praying to get off at the next stop
    i need some Industrial-strength earmuffs.

  22. COLIN says:

    im depressed and i want to kill people i useualy take alot of baths i love the sound of the water runing, my dad voice is so annoying its a nice change
    i dont feel comfortable in public and have a negative worldview ..anyone that looks at me makes me angry but i sometimes stare back until they look away…im going to look up learned helplessness now

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  1. [...] Bad Parenting Advice Dot Com. Here’s a fun sample of what you’ll find on this must-see site: Rule #31: Ignore Your Child’s Crying. “Like most normal parents, your goal in life is to minimize how much your children annoy you. [...]

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