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Monday, 29 August 2011

How to write a bestseller on parenting

This one is going to be mean. I mean, really mean. I am going to make fun of people. This time, it’s the authors of parenting books that got to me. So now I am getting back at them. Just before I start, I would like to mention that I have read some really wonderful books on parenting. I loved reading them not only because I am a mother but also because they were fascinating. They were books showing the development of a child instead of giving suggestions on how to raise children. I liked them because they were telling me: ‘those are the facts. Now, it’s your turn to figure out how to put them to good use’. Other books? OK folks, here it comes.

Basically, everybody can write a book on how to raise a child. And nowadays, everybody does. There are thousands of books, thousand of methods, thousand of approaches to parenting. But, regardless of those differences, all books have something in common. If you want to write a book on raising children, just keep these simple rules in mind, and everybody will be thrilled, and the money will start flowing in. Are you ready?

1)      Start with describing why your method is the best. Not why it could be beneficial for children and parents, not how your method could possibly help the parents develop a better understanding of their child’s needs, no. Your method is the best, it’s the cure for everything. It will change the world, don’t you know it?
2)      Always tell parents that everything they do is wrong. They don’t have any idea how to raise their children, but luckily, YOU do. A good idea to do this is to introduce model families and point out their mistakes. Make those mistakes sound funny or ridiculous (‘Would you believe they actually did that…’).
3)      Also, it is clever to make the parents feel guilty. Happy, confident parents will NOT buy your precious book and we cannot have that, can we!
4)      Never do this directly, but always by implication. If then parents come to the conclusion that they are stupid, horrible, and totally unworthy of having children, you can always say they figured it out themselves, so it wasn’t your fault.
5)      Remember, YOU are the knight in shining armour and the good witch put together. Armed in your infinite wisdom and boundless experience you come to the rescue of parents who are at a loss. Luckily it is never too late. You arrive just in time, and with your magic wand you fix these horrible situations. After that, the parents change their ways and become better people. Describe such situations.
6)      Your children are always awesome, they behave well, they play the piano, the violin, the guitar, they sing like nightingales, they love you and each other, get only the best grades and have a fulfilling social life. They are basically angels in disguise. Of course, imply (do NOT, under any circumstances, say this directly!) that this is because of your fantastic method. Also, imply that if people don’t stick to your method their children will become quite the opposite.
7)      Think of how to answer criticism. I know, it’s weird but some people really don’t get you at all, and they might have problems with your awesome methods. So think of some points that might come up and address them in such a way that the person in question has no other choice but to embrace your wisdom.
8)      Cherry-pick your studies. Choose only those that support your claims. The rest is not important. Even better, you can skip science altogether. After all, who needs science when they have YOU!
9)      Always give the impression that all families and patients who apply your method are grateful for it, and cannot thank you enough. Also, your method ALWAYS works. Not most of the time. Not with most of the patients. Always.
10)  At the end, take some time (and many pages) to reflect on how your method can change the world and make it a better place.

Simple, isn’t it? So keep to these 10 simple points, and go write your book! I think I will.

Remember that I wrote this for fun. As I said, there are many wonderful books about child development. And, there are many methods of raising children. Psychology has many approaches to the human psyche, and none of them is the best. Just like no book on parenting will work for all parents and children.. However, what really maddens me is that how authors of parenting books claim to have the ultimate method for raising children. They don’t. There is no ‘one method to raise them all’. Parents can choose from a huge variety of methods and approaches. We could read the parenting books, and learn from them, and maybe even adopt some of their advice. But don’t expect more from us.

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