"How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes" is a very peculiar book. I'm a very open-minded person, so most of the advice didn't result in repulsive emotions, but I can see how a lot of right-wing-pilled individuals will take this book as an insult because... I don't know, because it offends their gods (as if gods care enough to be offended by a book)? I enjoyed reading the book, which made me think about many parenting things from a new perspective. I highly value authors who can do so.
Melinda's points are backed by science, which is the most essential part of the value proposition. Truth and science don't care or change if they offend you. The world isn't your made-up perfect place, and nature is cruel. So if data tells us that children experience bullying less if parents confront bullying and talk openly about it — or if data confirms that not talking to children about sex doesn't decrease the rate of teen pregnancies (in fact, silence increases it) and explicitly explaining sex in a non-taboo way decreases teen pregnancies — then you better do what data tells you to do no matter your beliefs. Any parent who values made-up opinions over their children's short-term and long-term well-being has no respect for me.
But what does the data tell us?
- Kind people aren't "weak" or disadvantaged — i.e., good times do not produce weak people; raise your kid kind but aware of limits and boundaries — they will do better than being raised in harsh or hostile conditions or mindset.
- When siblings fight, act as a mediator, not as a judge and prosecutor. Try to talk to both parties and make them understand the issue from the other person's point of view. This takes a while to develop, but empathy is essential.
- People who think that their kids don't engage in bullying are statistically wrong. Talk to your children about bullying, why it's bad, why it shouldn't be done, and what to do when they are bullied, bullying, or witnessing bullying. Kids don't know what's good or bad until we explain this.
- Screen time isn't wrong when done right. Video calls with family are best; using screens together is excellent. Kids don't do as we say; they do as we do. Be the fitting role model and put down your phone. Your face is emotionless whenever you're occupied with your phone; kids see it, and it hurts them even when we don't think they see it.
- Talking to your kids about sex, gender, and things revolving around it is essential, starting as young as four years old. Kids do not "do more sex if they know about sex." They know about sex, deal with it, talk to them about it, educate them about it. School sex ed fails miserably; never count on it.
More valuable tidbits of info are spread throughout the book, but the main message is clear. Follow the data, not your made-up beliefs, when nurturing your kids. You won't be perfect, but the main thing you need to do is not to be an asshole yourselves.