Moral Landscapes

Living the life that is good for one to live

Dumb Parent(ing), Dumberer Child

9 easy steps to a stupid child

Are we adults stupid or what? We're making our kids "stupider" by the year. Yes, this is a harsh way to put it, but sometimes you have to give a negative framing to make the message stick. Here are a few of our current cultural practices that are making our children more stupid than our ancestors.

Feed them formula.

Their IQs will be lower than they would have been with breastmilk.

They will have a poorer immune system (since breast milk provides the building blocks for the immune system and formula does not), making them  susceptible to all sorts of diseases. Being sick will keep them out of school and feeling sick will make it hard to focus and learn. Isn't that just what we want?

Let them cry and "cry it out".

Just think, their brains will be filled with toxins that kill neurons.This is the path to a stupider child.They will learn to react with anxiety to new information and events, so much so that they can't think or reason well.  Perfect.

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Put them in front of videos and keep the television on.

During sensitive developmental periods, people learn best from EMBODIED experiences---the body doing things in social and physical space. Putting them in front of screens gives their bodies little to do. As the memory systems consolidate after a sensitive period, they will have few types of memories for their practical intelligence to build on. They will feel most comfortable sitting in front of a screen.

The added bonus is that you may be fostering cognitive deficits and ADHD (that's why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against any screen time for kids under age 2).

Keep them in the house.

No need to have them learning how to get along in life on their own and feeling comfortable in the natural world! Nature deficit disorder is just what you want to keep them dumb.

School them as young as you can.

Make them sit in front of Baby Einstein and other videos, wiring their little brains in unknown ways with flashes of light and passive reception. They will learn to become bored with learning unless there are flashes of light to keep their attention and they'll be stuck to screens for the rest of their lives.

Ignore their needs for affection, touch, co-sleeping,

Who needs a sensitive personality or brain if you want them to be stupid? This will make them insecure as well as stupid--what more could you want?

Verbally criticize them.

Like physical abuse, verbal criticism has clear effects on brain development. This shrinks the brain in critical areas and makes brains more reactive to stress and threat, shutting down the reasoning areas.

A brain in stress reactive mode is unable to think well and becomes self-oriented (what else can it do?). So when they are older, all you have to do is scare them and they will be compliant.

If they are bullied, tell them to not be a baby.

Bullying kills brain cells too. For a stupid child, you want to kill as many brain cells as possible. So lead them to the bullies!

Feed them processed and fast food.

Processed and fast food is full of "flavor enhancers," amino acids like monosodum glutamate, known to kill brain cells. So make sure everyday they get lunch meat, french fries, and fake juices. Their brains will be flooded with all sorts of chemicals that will screw up brain function, leading perhaps to ADHD and less learning. That's the aim.

We could keep the list going, but this gives you a good idea of where to start to make a stupid child. And it's so easy. (Nearly) everyone is doing it!

P.S.

This blog with last week's was an experiment. Last week I presented information and title with a positive framing. This week, I presented similar information with a negative way. I anticipated that the negative framing would get more people's attention. What do you think? Which is more motivating?

Darcia Narvaez is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and Executive Editor of the Journal of Moral Education.

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