Children are simultaneously the best and the worst. They’re the best because: they don’t GAF about your feelings, they say what’s on their mind, they haven’t had their souls crushed by life yet, they’re unintentionally funny, they enjoy food without guilt, they lack self-consciousness, and they can pull off the cutest clothes, even if they’re chubby. They’re the worst because: they’re obnoxious, they whine, they cry, they can kind of be dicks, they need hand holding, they enjoy food without guilt, they lack self-consciousness, and they can pull off the cutest clothes, even if they’re chubby. So here are some tips I have for how to navigate the roller coaster ride that is interaction with children.
1. Talk to them like they’re adults
It’s a cliché, but it works. “Carlos, if you’re going to be rude to me, I’m not going to give you more animal crackers. Please lower your voice–you’re getting a little hostile. Do unto others, Carlos–do unto others. Did you take nothing away from Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea? Grace under pressure. The Sea is a character, Carlos. 3 years old is not too young to learn that lesson. Be reasonable, Carlos.”
2. Offer them treats
I’m not saying it’s good to be a pedophile, but they do know what they’re doing. The way to a child’s heart? Candy and unhealthy food.
Sometimes the easiest way to talk to children is to not.
4. Nod and smile
Most of the time when kids talk, they’re spewing nonsense. So just smile and nod along–they’re really only looking for a captive audience. They could be saying, “I killed a squirrel in my backyard and ate it raw,” and we wouldn’t really care–the objective is to survive the conversation so we can make it out the other side, where there is COFFEE AND/OR ALCOHOL.
5. Go over their head
Sometimes, because children have infinite babbling capabilities, it’s best to nip those in the bud–otherwise, you could find yourself in a marathon conversation about Dora the Explorer’s backpack, and you’ll have to bite your tongue about how retarded her bowl cut looks so many times. One of the easiest ways to do this is to start discussing things that will go right over kids’ heads–whether that’s astrophysics, heteronormativity, the ethics of big game hunting, Hillary Clinton’s stance on the middle east, the overwhelming narrative of patriarchy that dominates contemporary American culture, or the existence of carcinogens in virtually every man-made material, just make it so they can’t really respond, and instead will just revel in awe of your brilliant glory.
Kids may be tiny, breakable humans, but they’re still human–which means on some level, we can all relate to them. Even though we’re adults, and frankly have it a lot harder than kids so what are they even complaining about half the time–like, ohhhh, boo hoo, poor you, you spilled your macaroni–CRY ME A RIVER I HAVE A MORTGAGE TO PAY AND I BLEED FOR A WEEK EVERY MONTH–we can still empathize with them in some capacities. Kids love feeling like they’re on your level. They trip and fall? Tell them that’s what you do every moment of every day of your life, metaphorically speaking–you FAIL. They have their feelings hurt? Tell them that’s what every guy you’ve ever dated in your life has done to you–“I GET IT, KAYLA–MEN ARE SCUM–(Oh, it was Carly who told you you’re ugly? Still, most of the world’s problems can be blamed on men).” They love to wear pink, sparkly clothing? UM HELLO–YOU’RE BASICALLY TWINS. Just find a way to relate to them, no matter how small–because that will make them feel special, and they’re too young and dumb to realize that being like you is actually not a good thing, and you’re the last person who should be idolized, and having anything in common with you is basically the equivalent of having herpes–(yet ANOTHER thing kids don’t have to worry about… ugh lucky bastards).
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