Aussie author, John Marsden has shared some insight into the mistakes many parents make in raising decent human beings.
What makes him an expert on raising kids? Well, he has 6 stepsons, he’s the founder-principal of two alternative schools and he’s written countless award-winning young adult novels. The guy knows his stuff!
In an interview with The Australian, John Marsden outlines where many of us are getting it wrong. His latest manifesto, titled The Art of Growing Up, urges parents and schools to make drastic changes to the way we shape our children into functioning adults.
Marsden, 68, is aware that there will be people that disagree with his stance on parenting.
“I don’t mind. I’ll take it as it comes… I do think there’s a need to be more direct in the way we talk to parents because parenthood has become this great untouchable area, this sacred topic, which you dare not criticise except in the most insincere ways.”
He worries that many parents’ obsession with being friends with their kids is contributing to a generation of narcissistic and damaged children.
John Marsden’s definitive list of parenting rules
According to Marsden, the 10 crucial rules to follow when raising kids are, as quoted from The Art of Growing Up:
1. “The first principle of good parenting is to be aware of the unhealthy ways we construct childhood and adolescence. Parents may need to rethink their prejudices. Their children may not be as perfect as they pretend to be, and their teenagers might be better than is generally acknowledged.”
2. “We can reasonably assume that a parent who does not say ‘no’ at least once a day to their child is failing as a parent.”
3. “It is worth teaching your children how to be interesting conversationalists. Face it, some kids, like some adults, are boring. Some are excruciatingly boring.’’
4. “Young people have an absolute right to know about puberty, about sex, about politics, about human behaviours, about money, about important global issues. To deliberately block the access of children and teenagers to such essential information is a form of child abuse.”
5. “We must give our children fear. It is a rich and immensely valuable experience to know fear. The only myths many modern parents want to offer children are Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We are scared to give them the Bogeyman as well, not realising how nourishing the Bogeyman can be.’’
6. “Parents should strongly — even forcefully! — encourage teenagers to get paid jobs. They are, after all, members of a family, not business class passengers on a plane.”
7. “People who feel angry or upset when they get a glimpse of children’s hatred or greed or sexuality or rage or dishonesty are overlooking the fact that the child is acting in the same way as every other human being in the history of the world.”
8. “Every parent should wish for their child nothing more than ‘I want him or her to experience life to the fullest’. Every child should be able to exult in the 10,000 joys that life brings, and feel with full force the sadness of the 10,000 sorrows.”
9. “The only important academic skill needed by children is literacy. We must ensure that children have access to books with realistic characters, credible situations, authentic language and we must not shrink from showing life in all its many forms.”
10. “Parenting means teaching children to get their own Weet-Bix.”
Think parenting isn’t as black-and-white as this? Feel like a set of rules can’t apply to all kids? Find out why this mum walked out on Sleep School and never looked back.