The Ultimate Parenting Manual

Introduction

This is it: The missing Ultimate Parenting Manual you’re waiting for.

I’m kidding, of course.

But on the serious note, I believe there are golden nuggets here if you share similar parenting views. 

Time flies. Before you know it, you’re parents aiming to do your best. If you’re like me, you think your parents did a decent job, but without a manual. And just like new engineers reach for the definitive book on coding, we, as parents, search for the perfect guide. But you quickly discover there’s no ultimate manual for parenting. It’s as diverse as families themselves.

A Note on Perspective
Before we jump in, a quick warning: my views often skew towards what some might label as “non-woke.” Want a quick check? Well, if Elon Musk’s opinions rub you the wrong way, there’s a good chance mine might too. If that’s the case, this likely isn’t the place for you. It’s best to leave now so not to be offended.

However, if you’re looking for insights from a likeminded parent, then welcome! I’m eager to share tips and learn from yours too.

Parents as the Original OG Influencers
I think parents are a child’s most influential teachers (keep them off the internet as long as possible, of course). I think our role is to nurture, guide, and educate them towards becoming responsible, empathetic, well-rounded adults who uphold our family values. 

I believe these are the key areas parents should pay attention to:

  • Providing Love and Security (This is the foundation for everything!)
  • Setting boundaries and discipline (For their benefit and yours)
  • Education and Learning (Cultivate a love for knowledge and ability to achieve goals)
  • Developing Emotional Intelligence (Understanding and managing emotions)
  • Developing Social Skills (Building healthy relationships)
  • Instilling Fundamental Values (Honesty, integrity, respect, hard work, etc.)
  • Promoting Independence and Resilience (Instilling a growth mindset)
  • Paying attention to health and well-being (Mind, body, and spirit)

I won’t dive into each one, as every family likely has their own unique approach. I’m just mentioning them here to spark some thoughts.

However, if you find discipline and education important, I’m happy to share what has worked for us.

Book Recommendations for New Parents
By the way, for expecting parents, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Expect the First Year” are fantastic resources. They provide detailed information on development milestones.

Education: Balancing Values and Academics
Some background for perspective…

While homeschooling seemed like an attractive option at first, I quickly discovered it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. We gave it a shot during Covid, with me taking the lead since I’m the NR guy with lots of time. However, I struggled to keep their days fully engaged and productive. Additionally, providing enough social interaction for them proved to be quite challenging.

So, as a result, we’re back to having our kids attend Catholic schools. They align with our values, although we found the academic pace somewhat slow at their schools. To bridge the gap, I reference the “What Your <Grade> Grader Needs to Know” (by E. D. Hirsch Jr.) series to teach them some. Additionally, we enrolled them in Johns Hopkins CTY for math, computer science, and English. Mostly it’s just math and it’s ongoing. The courses are self-paced and they’re advancing way beyond their grade levels.

Cultural Background and Educational Values
As Asian immigrants, my wife and I place high value on education and hard work. I emphasize to our kids that success is less about innate talent. It’s about grit and perseverance. Sure, a sharp brain helps, but what really counts is making sure to push the brain that you’re given to its limits. In other words, I agree with the ideas expressed in the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, which explores this topic in depth.

While I’ve moved away from the idea that good grades and top schools are the ideal path to a good job and good life, I still see academic achievements as a sign of focus and effort. I believe these qualities will serve them well later in life. Attending a 4-year college is a minimum must.

Oh, and I believe “follow your passion” is bad advice. For my kids, it’s NO to history and the arts as college majors. It’s too risky for typical outcomes. Practical fields like engineering, medicine, or law are areas where they can learn to be passionate about. Fortunately, you will be passionate about something you’re good at is a point well argued in Cal Newport’s book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” Learning valuable skills in practical fields are safer, which they can apply to a 9-5 job or entrepreneurship.

Academic Coaching
I’m all in on actively coaching our kids. I’d like them to excel academically with less grinding. Controversial? Maybe to some. Am I suppose to let them figure out on their own? Think about it. We coach in sports, why not in studying? So, I arm them with killer study tips and techniques to crank up their effectiveness. I trained them to block their time, to use Pomodoro timer to keep them laser-focused and multitasking is a big no-no. For memorization, like nailing those multiplication tables, we use spaced repetition systems like Brainscape to nail it down fast and with ease. And music lessons? They can master them at lightning speed.

If you’re looking to boost your kids’ test scores or enhance their learning, you’ll want to stick around for more articles. I’ve discovered some highly effective techniques that have helped my kids consistently hit the 98th percentile on standardized tests, which I think is a good achievement. Yep, I agree. Talent isn’t something you’re born with. It’s developed, and the right strategies can speed up the process significantly.