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Just Wait Until Your Chaotic Evil Father Comes Home

The Squirrelly is entering The Age Of The Tantrum, so The Queen and I went to a seminar on "positive discipline" at our local community college. When we entered the auditorium we passed a table in the back where some people were selling puppets. Apparently puppets all are the rage in child discipline these days. See, what you do is put one of these thick, soft puppets on your hand before spanking your child, and that way you won't hurt your hand.

Hah hah! No, I'm just kidding: I would never spank my child with one of those puppets. They cost, like, twenty-five bucks.

Anyway, I'll admit to being pretty skeptical about the whole enterprise when I saw the puppets, since I reflexively associate puppets with hippies and Fraggle Rock, neither of which I much care for. But the lecture was really pretty good. It was given by Jody McVittie, and based on the principles outlined in this book. A reoccurring theme was to give your child actual praise, instead of a bunch of meaningless rah-rah hyperbolic 'you're the bestest best kid EVAR!!!!1!!' bullshit (I'm paraphrasing), which I appreciated because that's how I've always intended to do it. So, in a sense, Dr. McVittie was telling me "you're the bestest best parent EVAR!!!!1!!," and I have no objection to meaningless rah-rah hyperbolic bullshit when it's directed at me.

My favorite part of the lecture was when she talked about the four different types of discipline styles, as determined by the parameters "order" and "kindness":

This really resonated with me. I like the idea that picking a parenting style is essentially the same as picking your character's alignment in Dungeon's and Dragon.

Man, it's too bad they didn't have class selection, too. I'd love to be known as "Paladin Dad."

Posted on May 16, 2005 to Storytelling


Laughing so hard right now.

Somebody. please. stop. the. tears.

Posted by: Jack on May 17, 2005 6:14 PM

V. funny.

Something I read once stated that instead of praising a child, you should simply give them meaningful feedback.

So, instead of saying "that is the prettiest picture of flowers I've ever seen", you should say "those flowers make me think of a beautiful Spring Day". That way, you aren't setting a (potentially frustrating) benchmark: well, you've already drawn the prettiest flowers, what now? Instead, you have said something about your child's work that is both positive and, more importantly, thoughtful.

p.s. Even as a parent, you should always take at least one level of Ranger...

Posted by: MrChucho on May 17, 2005 6:34 PM

bestest best post EVAR!!!!1!!

Posted by: Eric on May 17, 2005 6:50 PM

Why stop there? Surely this deserves it's own best-selling child discipline book: Raising Your Kid the D&D Way!

"Okay, son, I'm going to have to roll for punishment... oh, sorry! It's the strap for you."

"You are now entering a wild, dense jungle of talk-to-your-mother-about-it..."

Posted by: Dug Steen on May 17, 2005 8:50 PM

After a couple more of these, you'll realize that everyone else is full of BS, and only you know how to parent your way.

which is great unless you're a pyscho, which you seem to not be. A pycho that is.

besides, if you arent already exposing your kid to at least four foreign languages and three musical instruments, they're doomed to a life of mediocrity.

Posted by: larry on May 17, 2005 9:00 PM

Help. I am apparently in the "neutral good" alignment, and I don't even know what that means, except it sounds like French Vanilla.

What I want to know is, when do they give you a third axis? Like "Messing with your head/always speaks the truth." Or "Xtreme Sports/Let's all read a book."

My stepfather would have been High Kindness, Low Order, High Messing-with-your-head.

Posted by: Carny Asada on May 17, 2005 9:15 PM

I'm confused about graphing given 4 or more axis.
Is it anything like this:
+ is 3 axis (assume, dammit.)
and + exist (with minor variations) at all points along the fourth axis? Like, the first three are crammed into points and regraphed on the fourth (or moreth) axis?

I don't know.

Posted by: B,S on May 17, 2005 9:33 PM

Chaotic Evil and Impatient, you forgot impatient.

Puppets? Seriously, that is such a bad idea.

Posted by: Mike on May 17, 2005 9:39 PM

I don't know...I was raised with puppets and now, for me, proctology exams are relatively easier to deal with.

Posted by: Phillip on May 17, 2005 10:48 PM

Reminds me of the Political Compass...

Posted by: BigMo on May 18, 2005 6:26 AM

One of the best parenting books I have read was called Parenting With Love and Logic. I forget who wrote it, but it made much more sense that alot of the crap I have heard/read about out there.

*yes, I am weird. I don't have kids but I like to read pregnancy/parenting books.

Posted by: WindyLou on May 18, 2005 7:11 AM

My personal favorite parenting books are those written by people who either don't have children, or, whose children are still young/living at home.

I no longer will accept any parenting advice from someone unless they have managed to raise more than one child to full production adulthood. Otherwise, they are talking out of their ass.

Posted by: amy on May 18, 2005 7:23 AM

omg - hee hee. I have that book!!

I acquired a small library of books like that, when my son was younger. Like all other parenting advice (or maybe that's just advice in general) you take the bits and pieces that work for you and move on.

Posted by: PJ on May 18, 2005 11:29 AM

I'm thinking parents need to be more in the monster class than the player/character class.

My Mom was the Beholder type - eyes all over and an icy stare that could freeze me in my up-to-no-good tracks.

I would put my Dad in the Orc class - but only because of some questionable emanations that he defended with during any "pull my finger" attacks. He had a magical +1 arse of repelling.

Posted by: Pete on May 18, 2005 12:15 PM

I once told my wife that I had just changed the Cursed Diaper of Putridity -3 and failed the saving throw and she almost left me.

Posted by: john on May 18, 2005 5:15 PM

Matthew, though i am perfectly willing to regard you as 'good', you are obviously too 'chaotic' to be a paladin ;-)

Posted by: Sean on May 18, 2005 6:22 PM

You can't be chaotic evil and be a Paladin! Paladins are lawful good, so you'd have to be a rule-lovin' goody-twoshoes type. If you're chaotic evil you would have to be an Orc Maurader or something. Which might lead to interesting meetings with the vice principal:

VP: Well Mr. Baldwin, The Squirrelly is having a few discipline issues. Monday he set fire to the cafeteria, yesterday he pillaged a kindergarten class, and today he went after the PE teacher with a +3 dodge ball of welt raising. I was wondering how you intend to deal with these things?

Mr. Baldwin: ME SMASH!!!

Posted by: C. on May 19, 2005 7:54 AM


The easiest way to think about dimensions greater than three is to imagine another line running through the origin of your coordinate system, in a different direction than the other three. You move the origin along that line, then plot the point using the other three coordinates as usual.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty close for everyday applications. As long as you keep in mind that when you move the origin, the other three coordinates define a completely new space. So, if you happen to plot two points from different origins that happen to wind up on the same spot of your graph, they're not really the same point. It's a coincidence related to the direction you originally chose for your fourth axis.

As an analogy, think of drawing a dot in the corner of page 37 of a book, then flipping to page 281 and drawing another dot in the same relative location. Despite the fact that the points line up when you close the book and look at it from the front, pages 37 and 281 haven't become the same page.

And yes, I do realize how off-topic this is. Apologies.

Posted by: David on May 19, 2005 2:14 PM

Goddamn Libertarians.

Posted by: Anonymous on May 20, 2005 1:17 AM

A good friend of mine who is a parent was talking about her 1&1/2 year old the other day, to whom i had mistakenly referred to as "the baby". She replied:

"Oh no. That is not a baby. That is a thinking, calculating, being with plans. Before the next time you stay with her we'll go over some things. Like basic Judo, Aikido, hostage negotiation . . etc."

Posted by: isabella on May 20, 2005 9:20 AM

Trying to picture my 6'2", 245 pound father, former University of Alabama football player, disciplining me with a hand puppet.

"Now son, Mr. Winkie says that your behaviour right now is not optimum. In order to reach the greatest harmony in our lives right now, Mr. Winkie says that you need to let go of the dog's ears, or Mr. Winkie will cry."

I'm pretty sure that "Put the damn dog down!" worked real well.

Posted by: Davey on May 21, 2005 2:46 AM

Dude, extremely funny, but not at Fraggle Rock's expense, please.

Posted by: uncrucial. on May 21, 2005 2:39 PM

"Paladin Dad"

For the oldsters in the readership:

"Have bottle, will travel, reads the card of the dad. . ."

Posted by: Dr Paisley on May 21, 2005 4:21 PM

I don't understand. Of course I have no children and consider this craze of $450 strollers and deisgner baby togs a bit over the top. Watching parents raise little baby Jesus of little baby Moses is kinda of revolting as if those who didn't spawn are not worthy enough to traverse the same sidewalks as them. To bad I am so old right now I wont live long enough to see where this generation will lead us. I am personally sucking down all the natural resourses I can while alive to give them a challenge. Let them do something with all their pre-school education and solve what our goverment is doing to the earth. Maybe Dr. Phil will help.

Posted by: Mark on May 22, 2005 6:42 PM