Parenting (as a skill)


  • A pediatrician shows you how to calm a crying baby
    • Fold the right arm across the body and hold it in place.
    • Fold the left arm across the body and hold it in place.
    • Put the palm of your dominant hand under the baby's butt.
    • Tip the baby forward at a 45 degree angle.
    • Gently bob the baby up and down, or gently swoosh the butt in circles.

Things my parents do/did that I like

  • Both
    • They care about intellectual things.
    • They can be very, very good at something if they care to be good at it.
    • They can be well-mannered when they want to be.
  • My mom
    • She can be OK with holding opinions differently from others, if she's arrived at the opinion through her own experience / research.
  • My dad
    • He's totally fine with holding opinions that are extremely different from everyone around him.

Things other people's parents did that seem to have helped their kid

  • John Ahn:
    • John: until hs, my study strategy was to stay ahead of the class
      John: so everyday in school was really like a review session for me.
      Me: how'd you do that?
      John: johndaddy was v strict about it
      John: you just look at the syllabus and stay ahead of today's date
      John: like, you teach yourself what you'll learn tomorrow, the next day, next week, as far ahead as you can go
      John: so when you show up to class, you get a chance to ask questions about things you didn't understand
  • Bryan Vorbach
    • His mom would make him (and also his brother) take one practice test each weekend for a full year before a major test (e.g. the SATs), and during the week he would review it with a paid tutor.

Things my parents do/did that drive me nuts

  • Explanation - The idea here is to avoid annoying other people by keeping a list of behaviors to watch out for.
  • Both
  • My mom
    • She sometimes gets really, really stressed about having social situations go smoothly (for example, when guests are coming over for some get-together like Thanksgiving), especially if the house is a mess, and will end up flipping out and yelling at me for not working as vigorously as she is for something that she cares about and I don't care about.
    • Cursing - I'd spent a fair amount of time in college trying to get rid of my cursing habit, and when I moved back in with my parents after graduating I had my mom cursing around me, and I soon picked up the habit again.
    • She'll sometimes react to ideas based on what the majority of people think rather than pausing to think through whether the majority is right.
    • When driving, if she's coming up on a red light, rather than gradually apply the brakes to come to a smooth stop, she'll continue to drive at the same speed until she gets within 50-80 feet of the light, and then she'll apply the brakes as if the light had suddenly turned red, which is much more nauseating for passengers.
  • My dad
    • He'll frequently ask people to repeat themselves.
      • Examples
        • 1
          • <Context: The internet in the condo we were staying in stopped working. He is asking me a question while I'm sitting at the dining table and he is in his bedroom, around a corner and maybe 15 feet away.>
          • Him: "You did have the internet working for you earlier, right?"
          • Me: "I did, yes."
          • Him: "You did?"
          • Me: <I don't say anything, hoping that what I had already said would sink in.>
          • Him: "You did?"
          • Me: "Yes."
    • Playing the piano or watching television at night when I'm trying to sleep.
    • Getting angry when I tell him I'm trying to sleep and could he play the piano tomorrow instead.
    • Eating unhealthy food.
    • The various negative effects of the food he's eaten.
    • If we're both sitting around the house, and I get up to go to the bathroom, he then will tell me that he wants to go first.
    • Double-standards
      • Asking the kids to turn down the volume of the TV while he's playing his keyboard, and then switching with the kids and asking them to turn down the keyboard (which was at the same volume he'd been using it at) and turning up the volume of the TV.
    • Saying 'We need to do X' to mean 'Do X.'
      • Examples: "We need to take out the trash." "We need to wash the dishes."
    • Saying "ehhh ehhh" constantly (and often louder than the rest of what he's saying) when he's talking to fill any gaps in his speaking and not allow the other person to interrupt him.
    • Raising his voice to talk over the other person when he has something to say.
    • He snores really, really loud, so that if you're in the same room with him it's impossible to fall asleep (eg when travelling with him).
    • Shouting through the house to me when he wants to ask me something, and telling me to go to him, rather than him coming to me, or letting me shout back at him.
    • Asking me to help him do things that he should be able to do himself; acting helpless.
      • Needing help to fix errors on his computer without having even tried to fix the problem himself, despite having spent as much time as I have working with computers.
    • Talks 95%+ of the time for 2 hours without interruption, and then when I start speaking for more than 20 seconds, he interrupts me with "hold on a second" so he can do something.
      • As a one-time thing, this wouldn't be noticeable. But as something that happens over and over, it becomes noticeable.
    • Being very dismissive of more-mainstream music.
    • Being suspicious of me / not trusting me
      • I've noticed myself doing this to my gf to her annoyance, although I'm arguably justified given past experiences.  In my dad's case, the main memory I have of him acting suspicious (thinking I'd maybe drank some of his alcohol when I was ~13yo) was arguably justified as one of my cousins (who were also there) had probably done it.

How I want to raise my kids

  • I don't want to pressure them to be successful. But I do want to surround them with successful / hardworking people so that it'll hopefully rub off on them.
    • I think the magic balance is what happened with Woz and Larry Page, although I don't think either of them were surrounded with entrepreneurial parents.
      • Richard Branson had a roughly equivalent upbringing to Woz and Page (in terms of fostering a certain skillset) except his parents were entrepreneurial / risk-takers instead of engineers.
  • I don't think mirrors may be the best way to make sure people are well-groomed, because it seems like it can make people narcissistic / depressed. It might be better to just have people groom each other.
    • On the other hand, the way that other people treat you may be a big contributor to narcissism.