Although numbered, these steps are in no particular order.
1. Stay up all night and worry. It’s an important part of the job.
2. Don’t try to be friends with your child, you’re job is to be a parent. Trying to be a friend will not make you look cool, but silly and ridiculous. Is that what you really want?
3. Teach your child to show respect for authority. Smart aleck kids might be cute on television but in real life they’re a pain-in-the-neck. Think of the last pain-in-the-neck you worked with. Did you want to help them succeed or kick them in the pants?
4. Start out strict and give more leniency as the child matures. It’ll make both of your lives more pleasant.
5. Children test boundaries, it’s part of human nature. So be sure to give them boundaries. They’re building muscles they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
6. Read to your child a lot and often. Read until people tell you it’s ridiculous, that your child is too old to be read to. Search out new novels (age appropriate), read classics, expand your horizons as you expand you child’s. It’s a great adventure that will bring you closer together.
7. Never laugh at your child’s naughty behavior. Children repeat things they think are cute.
8. Never ignore inappropriate behavior. Children view parental inaction as approval.
9. Teach your child empathy rather than entitlement and you’ll be doing the world a favor. Brats become bullies, and we already have enough bullies to go around. We don’t need any more.
10. Enjoy time with your child. Children can be the funniest, sweetest, most entertaining creatures on earth. Better than video games, better than television, and even better than a good book. Which is saying a lot, coming as it is from a writer who spent years as a librarian.