Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Trickle-Down Theory of Parenting

A few months ago I wrote a post on facebook about a silly theory I came up with called the "Trickle-Down Theory of Parenting." Back in the 1980s, then-President Ronald Reagan championed his "Trickle-Down Theory of Economics", in which tax breaks for the rich would mean that they (the rich), would spend more money since there wasn't as much tax, thus improving the economy as a whole, and the money in the vibrant economy would eventually trickle down to the poorer people of society. Or something like that. That's the best I can make of the Wikipedia entry on the subject.

My Trickle-Down Theory of Parenting had nothing to do with economics (thankfully!!!). Instead, my theory was that we (the Wife and I) were going to put every ounce of our parenting skills into raising the best first child we could (in our case, that first child is the Girl), and then she, in turn, would teach her younger siblings the ways of the world while her mom and I sit back and relax until the time we retire. Sure, this theory was just another way for me to be silly (mostly), since I didn't actually think that we could ignore our younger children and let their older sister raise them by herself, no matter how enticing that idea may have been.

Now, it turns out that my theory may not have been as far-fetched as we originally thought. The Girl is now 4-and-a-half, her brother, the Boy, is a little over 3, and her sister, the Baby, is 18 months. As I look back on things, the Girl didn't do a very good job of teaching the Boy anything, other than how to steal other kids' toys and how to throw a really good tantrum when things don't go his way. She seems to have taught the Baby those things, too, but the Baby seems to have learned some good things, as well.

Just the other day, the Baby watched her older siblings use the potty, and she demanded to get up on the potty, too, even though we haven't begun to start to try to potty train her. She sat there for several minutes without actually going potty, but that's beside the point. She only could have learned about it by having this know-how "trickle down" from her older siblings.
This is the third time I have used this photo on my blog. I have a really cute photo of the Baby sitting on the potty, but I want her to not hate me when she's a teenager, so I decided not to use it.
The Baby got her first toothbrush yesterday, and in her first brushing session last night, she brushed and brushed and brushed, and then "spit" into the sink, just like the Girl does. (I put "spit" in quotation marks because she had actually swallowed all the toothpaste, so nothing came out when she spat.) We haven't tried to teach her anything about spitting, or brushing, so it's obvious those skills must have "trickled down" to her.

Maybe this crazy theory of mine isn't so crazy after all...I think I will go with a "hands-off" approach with the Baby from now on, and see what else gets trickled down to her. She's already been the most difficult baby in the History of Mankind up until now. It's not like she could get any worse. Could she?

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