Your children ARE DoublePlusHuman
Brought to the world in their full natural purity, untamed and uncorrupted at the moment of birth children and their minds are a precious window in the nature of being human. They have not experienced propaganda. They have not been advertised to. They have not been taught to think this or that way.
They don't think that skinny women are attractive, that the amount of money, number of prior mates or their muscle mass constitutes their social worth, that obedience and self-sacrifice are a virtue, that life is struggle and suffering rather than the joy it should be.
They don't believe your lies and delusions, and when you tell them, they question it until you quash their will with threats of punishment. They bury it since you are the only one who can look after them. You cannot be questioned. They bury it until they burst in the so called "teenage rebellion". They instinctively know when you're speaking bullshit. More often than you think, they know better than you. Yet here you are with the presumption that you know everything better than them.
They are DoublePlusHuman. They are as human as you should be. They are what you should aspire towards. They are consistent with reality. They are natural philosophers and scientists. They question, think, explore, test and learn. They are selfish yet benevolent. They will give you a smile when you deserve it or when you benevolently give it to them. They will love you only if you deserve it and pretend to love you if you don't.
Here is thus a radical idea. Treat your children like your equals. Treat their opinions as just as important as your own. When they say something philosophical don't just dismiss it as him or her being "cute" and then talk with your friends about it as if he or she was just a toy that makes you laugh. You cannot believe how important this is. Your child is more important than your friends, than your government, than your god, than the social norms you've been taught to follow, than the religion you've been taught to subject yourself to.
This is because every child carries within a world changing potential. In your attempt to mold them you will almost inevitably make him or her into merely a reflection of you, your family, your culture or your society. Are yet another bad copies of everyone else really what this world needs? Don't we have enough? Why not encourage them to be what they naturally aspire towards? Why not leave them to develop themselves into extraordinary individuals, ones who will not necessarily conform to the tight slot that the society has prepared for them in the machine of the system?
I am not proposing a lack of guidance. I'm not proposing that you just leave the child to his or her self. You are responsible for him or her being in this world and thus he or she as well as I rightfully expect you to try and build a genuine relationship with them. But it should not be a relationship in which you are the authority and he or she is a subject to it, solely on the basis of you being older, bigger and stronger. If you desire authority you must earn it.
You can earn the authority by demonstrating why your instructions are right and worth following in a way that your child can understand. There must be a why to all of your whats. You cannot expect a child to be forced to follow your word and have a good relationship with you. If you do, you're deluding yourself. Guidance has no place for obedience. It is about showing the doors, lighting the path, not about compelling one to follow that path. Your child will ask a lot of why's. You're supposed to provide them or be honest and say that you do not know, putting yourself on equal grounds as your child and should it be an important matter endeavor to take the journey with your child to discover the answer.
Do not manipulate your child by instilling in them fears derived from fiction or guilt derived from your "love". Do not tell your child you love them as means of getting obedience from them. That's not how love is supposed to work. It's not supposed to be this psychological leash by which you drag people around. It's supposed to be a deep mutual understanding based in honesty and virtuous behavior. Your child can truly love you only once he or she genuinely admires you for what you are and desires to please you not because you are his or her mom or dad, but because you are demonstrably and as he or she observed a good honest person.
Just the same, do not delude yourself by saying "I will love you forever". It is an extremely unrealistic prediction to make. There is no guarantee that you will love the path which your child may choose. Pretending to love them while despising what they may become is the worst kind of manipulation and the worst kind of delusion. But the worst thing about this is that it is akin to saying your child that she will be indebted to you forever.
Do not, by any means, instill in them a sense of endless debt to you. You had sex once, you made love and you, I would assume, enjoyed it. It was a selfish act. It was your own decision. How can you possibly hold your child indebted to you for it? Has he or she compelled you to do it? (S)he couldn't. Has he or she had any choice in the matter? Of course not.
Your child is a DoublePlusHuman. Don't make him or her into any less than that. Instead, strive to grow with him or her.
I say this as someone who was a child once and who has gone through the whole process of being programmed and then deprogrammed. I was for a while a mere drone, subject to the whims of social norms. I felt rebellion so many times in my childhood and felt terribly guilty for it. Now I understand I was right. When my parents told me they love me I felt smothered because anything I do imperfectly was not enough to make up for her love. When my parents told me life was suffering I did not want to believe. Today I know I was right, about nearly everything. If there was someone to show me what I know today, many of my current compulsions which limit my present personal freedom would not exist.
Children are not blank canvases that you can paint whatever you wish on. They already are masterpieces. You just have to let them flourish.
Inspired by a discussion titled "My son, the 8 year old philosopher".