User:Hiatus Hernia/Unbooks:The Parent

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About the author: Niccolò Machiavelli is a renowned political philosopher and child psychologist. He has authored several books, including bestsellers such as Men are from Rome, Slaves are from Venice and The 7 habits of highly successful condottieri. He now lives in Florence, Italy, with his dog, and several marble busts of himself.

edit Introduction

The role of the parent is to be an authority figure, a source of power from which their children may obtain guidance. A parent who is meek, or who is hesitant, breeds in their children only contempt. A parent who attempts to fraternise with their children will only cause their authority to be undermined, and their stature stepped all over like Milan under the Sforzas.

In this discourse I shall attempt to discuss, at length, the means by which a parent can use to acquire children to serve his or her purposes, and the means by which a parent can use to maintain their authority over those children. Throughout my journeys in the principalities of Italy I have encountered various kinds of rulers, and observed their successes and failures in raising their children. Modern parents, who are increasingly losing control of their offspring, could benefit from heeding my advice. For the future success of a child depends solely on how well the parent performs.

edit Chapter 1: Of the various kinds of children, and the ways in which they are acquired

All the kinds of children that parents will ever have can be divided into two: nerds and sluts. Nerds require subtle encouragement in the direction of abandoning their esoteric pursuits, in favour of sport and social activities that are more likely to contribute to their future standing in society. Sluts require subtle discouragement, in the direction of decreasing their slutty behaviour and their likelihood of acquiring, or causing, teenage pregnancy.

Children are either biological, in that they are acquired through drunken sexual intercourse, or adoptive, in that they are acquired from people poorer than yourself. One may also seize children from their original parent and claim them as one’s own. The children are seized either by one’s own arms or the arms of others, and it is recommended that you seize when the children are young. That way, they would be easier to fit into the trunk of one’s car, and are less likely to alert the authorities upon the discovery that their original parents have been replaced.


The ideal family. Notice the younger child, looking up subserviently at his mother and father. Children naturally want to please their parents, and it is only those who fail to do so that turn into rebels.

edit Chapter 2: Of the two kinds of children, Nerds and Sluts

It is undesirable as a parent to have nerds or sluts as your children, for you will suffer endless ridicule at PTA meetings and your reputation as a parent will diminish. Very soon no one will attend your diplomatic dinners or ally with you, and this situation is the start of the downfall of many reputable parents and should best be avoided.

Subtle discouragement should be utilised to gently steer your child away from their wayward interests. Many parents make the mistake of initiating direct confrontation, which resulted ultimately in their ruin. For the general who charges the fortress is often met with less success than the general who slowly chip away its foundations, so too will the parent who is quick to anger be met with less success than the parent who is calm and methodical in whittling away the child’s self-esteem.

In one of my many conversations with the Duke Valentino, I asked him of the means by which subtle discouragement is to be utilised. The Duke replied, “The illegitimate children that I sired with my sister Lucrezia are exemplary in terms of quality and obedience. I achieved this through discouraging them, especially during moments of accomplishment. ‘Well done, Giovanni, in achieving the grade of ‘A’ in Geography. But oh, I wish you would have some real friends.’ Or ‘Louisa, my lovely daughter, I love you even though you are a bit fat.’” By inculcating in his children a sense of inadequacy from an early age, the Duke is able to maintain power and manage his children with ease.

edit Chapter 3: Of leniency and miserliness

Leniency and kindness only breeds greed and the want for more. Give your child a toy today and he will seize all your retirement fund tomorrow. If you are at first lenient, and then, upon realising your mistake, retract your leniency, you would be regarded as a miser. It can therefore be concluded that a parent should never be lenient.

However, one cannot do without rewards altogether. A parent should strive to reward their child in a way that appears fair and just. Not only would these appease the jealousy of the siblings, if present, but it will give you a reputation of being a good and reasonable parent. Similarly, punishments should also be just. Cruel and unusual punishment should only be brought unto those who are totally deserving. I am not saying that we should be overzealous to deliver punishments, and at the end of the day psychological punishments are better than physical punishments. They're also less likely to alert social services.

edit Chapter 4: Of guilt and other emotional weapons

Of all the weapons ever created by man (and woman) to control their children, guilt is the most powerful. Guilt, not love, even though one may mistake guilt for love, is the single greatest motivator in any child’s actions for his or her parents. A parent who utilises guilt to its fullest potential is a parent who will conquer the minds of their children without resistance like Alexander who conquered the Kingdom of Darius.

Many rulers have asked me: How does one deploy the cavalry of guilt to effectively surround the hill castle of a child’s psyche? I say, like all things the seed of guilt is to be planted early, and nourished constantly throughout the child’s life. A parent who plants but does not nourish will have a child who feels guilty but does not act, and a parent who plants too late will have a child who feels guilty only occasionally, and at other times feels that he or she actually have “human rights”. Ideally, the child should feel guilty in such a way that when he serves you, he would feel that it is of his own will.

It is noteworthy to say that the amateurish manipulation of guilt is already intuitive to many parents. By the end of their childhood, most children would have feelings of guilt enough to send their parents a Christmas card to thank their parents for all they have done. More advanced methods should be used for more effective manipulation. Great parents will realise that guilt goes hand in hand with the sense of inadequacy that you would have, no doubt, fostered in your child at the advice that I gave you a few chapters ago. Besides reminding your child of what you have done for them, tell your child that he or she doesn’t deserve it but you are doing it anyway, because you love them. Constantly remind the child that if it weren’t for them, you would be galloping across the countryside preparing for an invasion of Naples instead of toiling away as assistant manager at a nearby Wal-Mart.

Great parents of the past know that another emotion, fear, goes hand in hand with guilt as well. Guilt is the most effective when someone has done something wrong. We are not implying anything like blackmail here, for one must not be too eager to resort to this, but it is certainly a viable option. It is not possible for a good and able parent to be benevolent in every act, and I say that blackmail can be a sort of love, it’s just that your child is too young to understand.

edit Chapter 5: Of cruelty and clemency, and whether it is better to be loved or feared

Every parent should desire to be thought of as merciful and not cruel. However, cruelty is often necessary if one were to keep the child quiet and yielding. The parent who is cruel, and who does not hesitate in punishing or disciplining the child, will end up with a successful doctor or lawyer. The parent who is merciful, and who lets their child pursue ridiculous subjects like “art”, will end up with a deadbeat failure of an artist, and be thought of as more cruel than the parent who by their firmness ensured the future success of their children.

Now comes the question of whether it is better to be loved or to be feared. It can be answered that we should wish to be both, but love and fear can hardly exist together, and if we must choose between them I say that it is safer to be feared than to be loved. Children are thankless, fickle, disloyal, and greedy of gain. It is impossible to win the trust of a child by nobility and good character alone, for children it may be generally affirmed that they will snort cocaine and flash their vagina in public when your back is turned.

If a parent were to be feared, he or she must strive to do so without being hated. It is possible to be feared without being hated, as long as one does not take away the child’s pop culture paraphernalia. You may distrust them, you may loathe them, you may feel horribly outdated when you see them, but remember that a child will forget your crushing of their dreams as long as they have still have a CD of Lady Gaga clutched tightly in their hands. It may sometimes seem to be against your better judgment to let the rampant sexuality of celebrities corrupt your child, but just be content at writing letters to the editor and know that it is against your interests to seize them from your child.

edit Chapter 6: Of failures and achievements

I say that there is nothing a parent should love saying more than: “My child is a doctor”, so this is what one should strive for one’s child in all of their endeavours. Besides this, your children should also surpass their peers in every field including academics, sports and arts. It is very important for a parent’s child to be able to compare with the children of the parent’s acquaintances. The parent should boast about the accomplishments of their child at every opportunity. The most effective way to motivate your child is through fear, especially the fear of failure. In your daily conversations with the child, subtly insinuate that if your child does not succeed, you will not love him.

If you have relatives who are failures, for example a spinster aunt or an unemployed uncle, constantly criticise the relative while reminding your child how lucky they are. If your child bears a resemblance to the relative in question, you can further reinforce your child’s sense of inadequacy by casually remarking the resemblance to the child, while gently warning your child that if he is not hardworking, he will grow up to become fat and ugly like Uncle Luigi.

Here I would like to discuss the Duke Valentino, also known as Cesare Borgia, is a truly magnificent man, who in his virility managed to father 11 illegitimate children with several different women. He is a very good example to illustrate the possible ways a parent can use to persuade their children to succeed. The Duke knows very well that if you traumatise all of your children, none of them will be emotionally stable enough to achieve anything. Parents should be mindful to practice moderation when trying to psychologically scar their children.

When your child makes a mistake, it is important that we drop the subtlety and make it clear to the child, so that the mistake is not repeated. When the Duke's son Giovanni performed less than satisfactorily in his fencing class, the Duke made this fact known to him, by saying: “My dear Giovanni, I cannot stress how important fencing is and I think improving fencing can only be for your own good. I may or may not punish you, but it may be of your interest to know that I am now sleeping with your girlfriend.”

edit Chapter 7: Of scheming children and how to counter them

It should not come as a surprise to you if you one day find out that your children are scheming against you. You should retaliate swiftly with schemes of your own, with the purpose of letting the child know that you, the parent, is in control of the child's life. Many parents have also asked me: “How does one identify the signs that one’s child is scheming?” To this I answer: “Charles XVI justified his invasion of Naples by claiming to be a descendant of the Angevin kings. However Naples would still be handed to him army even if he was not an Angevin.” Many parents then say to me: “I did not understand that metaphor.” To which I answer: “One does not need to understand my metaphor to understand that justification is optional. The stronger party is defeated by no one but his own weaknesses.”

It is natural for humans to be driven by their passions. A wise parent must learn to overcome this and not let love get in the way of undermining their children. The best schemes are usually the ones executed with the least emotion, although it would be best if you try not to murder anyone. After all, raising children is not like managing a political state.

To scheme, one must have a good foundation to scheme upon. This foundation is built by gathering good intelligence, and it is best gathered with subtlety. For your children will not take kindly to your intelligence gathering, and if they are ignorant of your activities, you will have the upper hand. Use the information carefully, and with discretion, for a good parent strives to crush the spirit of their child, subtly and gently.

The discovery of a child's schemes can be very distressing for a parent. However, it is in the nature of children to scheme, and if all your careful conditioning is not enough to suppress this, you should not blame yourself. The only way to counter scheming children is to scheme against them yourself, even if you later discover that your children have never, in fact, schemed against you, scheming is still fine because it is known to help build a child’s discipline and character.

250px-Charles III of Spain

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