Let’s back up so we can get to the source of the problem. How do you get someone to fall in love with you? Pick:
a) Be really really nice to that person.
b) Hire a witch, cast a love spell.
c) Get that person to do things for you.
Option A doesn’t work, it gets you either ignored or used because nice is cheap, it’s ineffective, it’s too easy to pull off, there’s too much of it around.
Option B comes with a lot of side-effects and it can get weird when the spell hits the wrong target so better not.
Option C works, not because “relationship experts” say so, but because it’s the option that requires the most work. Life isn’t supposed to be easy.
Why Kids Don’t Love Their Parents
People assume their kids love them because they think it’s a law of nature for kids to love their parents. Not so, according to the Story of Oedipus, that motherfucker murdered his dad and then fucked his mom. This story endures in public consciousness because it reminds us of the uncomfortable truths we’d prefer to not think about, or to only consider academically. Deep down, and in spite of incessant bromides about self-love as the solution, we know we’re no longer in the Garden of Eden and we’re unsure of what to do about it.
What makes the Story of Oedipus so unsettling and compelling is that while every character in the story knew what was supposed to go down, nobody knew what was happening. That’s the most terrifying kind of horror. If it had just been a story about some kid throwing a shit fit for getting grounded and killing dad and raping mom in the process, we’d treat it as a sad and tragic spectacle and assume the kid became a sociopath because he was molested by his football coach and his mom was a drunk who called him a “stupid, useless, cunt” one too many times.
Instead, it’s a story about funked up shit happening to good people who try their best as parents. Oedipus was born to good parents who had to make a difficult decision — abort their only child to save the kingdom and themselves. So they left him for dead in the middle of nowhere. Oedipus, luckily (or unluckily), was found and saved by someone and then adopted by good parents — king and queen from another kingdom. And he tried to be a good son — when a prophet told him that he’d kill his dad and fuck his mom, he exiled himself, not realizing that he would soon unknowingly encounter his birth dad.
Only encounter with birth dad, they squabble and Oedipus beats the shit out of him, killing him. First prophesy fulfilled and nobody realizes it. Which invites us to ask unsettling questions about ourselves: would I love my parents/children if they weren’t my parents/children? Would I hate them and want to kill them, as Oedipus did? Would my kid love me if she didn’t need me to survive?
How many of us are Oedipus? How many of us don’t want to kill dad and rape mom, but do so anyway, without realizing it?
How to Teach Kids to Love Their Parents
The Story of Oedipus reminds us that we live in a cruel and lonely world and nothing should be taken for granted. We can’t assume there’s an unbreakable and spiritual love-bond between a parent and a child. And whatever bond there is is sociological and ephemeral, love requires a lot of work and perseverance. Check out the confessions section of Scary Mommy if you don’t believe me.
If love is an action and not a feeling, then like most actions, it has to be taught and practiced, it doesn’t just happen. Teaching a kid to love a parent requires the same effort as making friends or getting someone to fall in love with you, it’s the same dynamic. To make friends, you have to figure out a way to get that person to do something for you so they become emotionally invested in you. Benjamin Franklin, from his autobiography, on how to make friends:
He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.[
Make the person do something for you. Make them invest in you. Below is an example of how Franklin turned an enemy into a friend:
Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.
Take something away from someone if you want to make an enemy. Give something away for free too often if you want to be used and disrepected. Have someone give you something if you want a friend. Same dynamic when seeking romantic love, according to random “romantic relationship expert”:
In fact, when people see you doing stuff for them for free, unsolicited, or uncompensated, their thought is never, “Wow, what a great guy! I should repay him in spades!” but rather, “Oh, that’s nice – it’s nice having nice people around like this who give me stuff. Thanks, nice person!”
Yeah yeah, I know your friend paid you back with food and drink when you helped her move. That’s why you’re friends. You wouldn’t be friends anymore if she hadn’t reciprocated, right? Because it’d be disrespectful to not reciprocate. Yet there are parents who keep giving and giving and giving to their kids while getting little or nothing in return; or the nice guy who keeps paying for dates and buying gifts but can’t get a commitment or even a make out session from his crush. Parents will then blame technology and culture for producing entitled, disrespectful and narcissistic kids; the nice guy will blame women for preferring assholes. Both of which are lame excuses that prevents them from blaming the source of the problem: themselves.
Nice people are liked, but not respected, we learn from history and classical literature and political philosophy. “Now that’s fucked up,” some of you are thinking, “I won’t play that game.” Fine, but don’t play martyr when disrespected because it’s a lot easier to play Santa than to empower someone to become who she wants to be. Kobe Bryant, one of the most disliked AND respected NBA players of all-time on what he wished he had done with his money when he made his first millions early in his career:
You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good; it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world…While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.
“While you were feeling satisfied with yourself,” because Kobe’s been there, he’s done that. He knows a handout is the quintessential narcissistic douche bag act that’s neither effective nor an act of love precisely because it’s the easy thing to do to gain short-term pleasure at the expense of another person’s dignity and long-term happiness. Kobe on how he wished he had treated people when he earned his first millions:
When your [NBA] dream comes true…you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends. “I said INVEST. I did not say GIVE.
Invest means not giving girlfriend the weekend getaway she wants until she passes a section of the CPA exam she’s been studying for; no blowjobs until husband sets personal sales record for the month; no squeeky toy for dog until she learns a new obstacle course; no catnip until the cat catches that mouse. This is how people and animals learn to perform at high levels. And that’s why it’s so hard to do so, why it’s easier to give than to invest: investing requires self-denial, patience, respect, and the ability to enter another’s spirit. Giving merely fulfills immediate needs, it’s like giving heroin to someone who is in pain, or candy to a kid so he stops crying. Kobe on the effectiveness of investing rather than giving:
As time goes on, you will see them grow independently and have their own ambitions and their own lives, and your relationship with all of them will be much better as a result.
So how do we *teach* a kid to love his parents? To begin with, teach the kid to become *emotionally invested* in the parents. And it starts early, by drilling habits. Meaning, parents don’t tie a kid’s shoes, kid ties parents’s shoes and shines them. Parents don’t spend money to entertain kid, kid entertains parents by memorizing and reciting parents’s favorite poems and performing their favorite songs. Parents don’t pay for kid’s pedicure and massage session just because, kid massages her parents feet every day after school to earn that right once a quarter. Parents don’t cook and clean for kid, kid cooks and clean for parent and if the food sucks, send it back, have kid redo it because that’s how it is in the real world. Parents don’t take kid out to dinner to celebrate first job; kid takes parents out to dinner when he gets his first paycheck to thank them for the opportunity to have a job and for driving him to and from. Parents don’t pay for kid’s grand tour after college graduation, kid saves and saves and saves to send parents on all-expense paid vacation to thank them. Parents don’t buy their kids their first house, kid buys parent a vacation home before buying their first. That’s how to teach a kid to not send parent to a decrepit rat-infested nursing home when parent turns geriatric. That’s how to teach a kid that love is an act, not a narcissistic and impressionistic feeling.
“But they won’t do any of the above,” some parents are thinking. Then reject them, just as you should reject an abusive spouse or a friend who stabs you in the back. Because when a kid takes and takes and takes and never gives only asks for more, that’s abuse, they’re learning how to be abusive and they’re going to be abusers as adults. Why put up with it? Why feed it? Only people who suffer from Battered Spouse Syndrome put up with that kind of shit.
How to Get Kid Who Doesn’t Want to Eat Veggies to Eat Them
Answer is the same as how to get a kid to love parents. Back to the question asked in the beginning:
How do you get someone to fall in love with you? (Or, how do you get your kid to love you)? Correct answer in bold:
a) Be really really nice to that person.
b) Hire a witch, cast a love spell.
c) Get that person to do things for you
Which is easier said than done. It takes a lot of work to get a kid to be emotionally invested in parents’s well being by teaching and training her to take care of her parents the moment she can walk on her own. If she doesn’t get in the habit of doing things for her parents early in her life, she won’t do it when parents are late in their lives. Amy Chua (aka Tiger Cunt to some) knows that so she trains her daughters — even at ages 20 and 23 — to be her bitches. Here’s a contract she wrote and had them sign when she sensed her daughters were going to take advantage of her generosity:
WHEREAS Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld are the owners of Apt. [XXX] at [XXX], and their children are not;
WHEREAS Children owe their parents everything, even in the West, where many have conflicted feelings about this;
In exchange for Amy and Jed allowing them to stay in their NYC apartment from June 1, 2016 to August 1, 2016, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld and Louisa Chua-Rubenfeld agree to the following irrevocable duties and conditions:
1. To occupy only the junior bedroom.
2. To greet Jed Rubenfeld & Amy Chua with spontaneous joy and gratitude whenever they visit.
3. To make their (joint) bed every day, and not to fight about who does it.
4. To never, ever use the phrase, “Relax—it’s not a big deal.”
5. To always leave all internal doors in the apartment wide open whenever Jed, Amy or any company whatsoever (including relatives) are in the apartment, with an immaculately made bed in full view and no clothing or other junk on the floor of the bedroom in sight.
6. Whenever any guests visit, to come out of the bedroom immediately in a respectable state, greet the guests with enthusiasm, and sit and converse with the guests in the living room for at least 15 minutes.
7. To always be kind to our trusty Samoyeds Coco and Pushkin, who Sophia and Louisa hereby agree have greater rights to the apartment than Sophia and Louisa do, and to walk them to the dog park at least once a day when they visit, within 30 minutes of being asked to do so by Amy.
8. To fill the refrigerator with fresh OJ from Fairway for Jed on days when he is in town.
9. To keep the pillows in the living room in the right place and PLUMPED and to clean the glass table with Windex whenever it is used.
ADDITIONALLY, Sophia and Louisa agree that the above duties and conditions will not be excused even in the event of illness, hangovers, migraines, work crises or mental breakdowns (whether their own or their friends’).
Sophia and Louisa agree that if they violate any one of these conditions, Amy and Jed will have the right to get the Superintendent or a doorman to restrain them from entering the apartment; and to change the locks.
All of which are reasonable requests since they’re getting free rent in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. Tiger Cunt on above contract:
The fact is, we’re never off the hook as parents. Even when your kids are in their 20s, it’s still a constant balancing act. Are we asking too much of them or too little? Are we being strong and holding them to a high standard, or just being too critical? Are we teaching them by example how to live a happy, meaningful, giving life?
More importantly, she’s teaching them how to reciprocate and to not take advantage of other people’s kindness. She’s teaching them how to be gracious. She’s teaching them how to love. She doesn’t hope for reciprocity and respect, she demands it.
From UK Guardian:
Food researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University in New York found that children are five times more likely to eat salad when they have grown it themselves.
Children who are *emotionally invested* in the food in front of them are more likely to eat it. They don’t necessarily have to grow it — they can prep or serve it, for instance — they just have to be involved in the work of making a meal happen to become emotionally invested.
How to Get Kids Involved in Making Their Own Meals
But some kids don’t want to be involved in making their own meals. Which brings us back to the source of the problem: kids who’ve never been trained to love their parents (don’t misread that, read it carefully). That’s where it begins. A lot of people think that pain-in-the-ass kids are the way they are because their parents haven’t loved them enough, haven’t done enough for them. No, look around, look especially at the middle-class pain-in-the-ass kids, they’re the way they are not because they grew up poor or their parents have neglected them, but because they’ve never had to do anything for their parents. They never had to earn their parents’s love. They never learned to love.
A child who doesn’t know how to love another isn’t going to be able to learn how to love eating veggies. Such a child is accustomed to receiving love (pleasure) from his parents without having to work for it. So why would he want to work at improving his palate when he’s been trained to receive pleasure immediately and often, without pain and effort? Getting such a child to eat vegetables is the least of our worries. There’s going to be meth addiction.
Love isn’t the solution, it should be the end result. By making love the solution, it becomes the problem. Children don’t need more love, they need to learn how to love. Only when they learn to love will they be ready to experience how good a succulent bite of sausage can be when preceded with a crisp bite of lightly sauteed zucchini and appreciate the effort put into loving them from those who love them the most.