When we first brought our daughter home, I was surprised that I didn't feel fearful that I was going to accidentally kill the baby. I had heard this was a common concern but  I am a person who finds comfort in science and logic and I could see that millions of people, many of them stupider than I am, manage to not kill their children.
The bigger responsibility I felt was in raising a mentally healthy adult with all the skills required to thrive and prosper as an adult. Just looking around was not enough this time to calm my fears. Everywhere I look I can see adults who throw temper tantrums, who lack self control, lack self awareness, who never learned to self soothe and instead medicate their emotions with drugs, alcohol or foods. All parents they say screw their kids up in their own special way. I'd like to screw mine up in the smallest, least harmful way possible.
The trouble I discovered was that nobody else seemed to know how to do this. All the parenting advice I could find was purely people's opinions and largely contradictory.
Children need a strong attachment  Children need to learn to be independent. Good parents don't let them out of their sight until they're at least twelve. You need to leave children so they gain confidence. You should limit children's exposure to other adults to prevent them being abused. 
Children should learn to play by themselves. You need to pay constant attention to them or they'll think they are less important than your phone/the computer/the housework/their father. If your child interrupts you you're raising a brat. If you don't listen when they tell you the little things they won't tell you the bigger things.
Children shouldn't watch TV. Educational programs make children smarter. Keep the TV off even in the background. Use the television to distract the child into cutting their nails/dressing them/eating their dinner. Children need to be watch TV or they'll have no friends.
Children need clear boundaries. Don't use the word no. Don't smack, use time outs. Time outs are akin to child abuse. Explain what they have done wrong and the consequences. Don't overrationalise, you are the parent and they need to accept what you say.
Ugh. Enough!
At first I attempted to follow these opinions and then I'd read a contradicting one and feel bad and attempt to follow it and so on and so on.  Then one day, in the middle of one of these ridiculous stress inducing cycles I followed a link to a journal article and was amazed to rediscover my old friend science. Trials, interventions, large cohort studies. There is a huge body of research on parenting and its relationship with future problems and lack there of. There is more than just opinions, there is evidence but you have to know where to find it. Now I do and I'd like to share it with you.


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