The Boring fundamentals of parenting, in my opinion1. In no particular order:

Be predictable

Tell all the truth but tell it slant

Tell the truth but perhaps not the full truth. The answer should be proportional to both the child’s interest level and their capacity for understanding.

To use the concept of death as an example: Be specific and honest when talking about death; however, don’t feel the need to mention the Heat death of the universe.



  • Freddish
  • Fred Rodgers Institute | When Someone a Child Loves Dies
  • Dave Orr | Parenting Rules
  • (Weinersmith n.d.)
  • Readily admit fault and apologize; humanizes yourself and recognizes and affirms the child’s personhood by demonstrating they’re worthy of an apology and that the parent isn’t “above them” in that way
  • Golden rule: Act in a way that you want your child to act
    • Be calm
    • Be kind
    • Etc
  • You’re raising an adult — not a child. Think in terms of their whole lives.
  • Every “game” with a child is a repeated game; giving in is a bad strategy.
  • Acknowledge and validate their feelings
  • As much as is possible; invite and support their autonomy
  • Decide between all parents how to respond to things in advance whenever possible
    • When an expected behavior isn’t happening (e.g. Not cleaning up after themselves)
    • When an inappropriate behavior is currently happening (e.g. Running through the house)
    • When an inappropriate behavior has already happened (e.g. Child A hit Child B)
  • Remember that each child is different
    • Punishments aren’t universally applicable, and neither are rewards
  • “No” isn’t enough
    • Provide the why behind the no
    • Provide an alternative
    • Provide a timeline on when the thing could happen (e.g. “No, we can’t go to the park now but we’ll go tomorrow.”)
    • Alternatively, phrase it without the negative (e.g. Instead of “Don’t stand on the chair.” use “What are chairs for?”)


Weinersmith, Zach. n.d. “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Parenting Technique.” Accessed February 26, 2023.

  1. Note (1) these are guidelines, not rules, that (2) I’m not a parent and don’t know what I’m talking about, and (3) anything below that’s true is only so in a general/average sort of way and that children are unique and worthy of unique attention and care. ↩︎