The media can’t get enough of Nadya Suleman, the “Octomom,” who gave birth to eight babies when she was artificially inseminated with eight embryos. She already has six other children, also as a result of embryonic insemination.

At first, almost everyone was fascinated. Babies, after all, have universal appeal. The smaller and more fragile the babies, the more frequent the media coverage—and the more intense our concerns for their health. Soon, concern nipped at our heart-strings. Fourteen children? Is she nuts, we wondered.

Well, it turns out there has been speculation that she has serious mental illness. So, we felt pity for a little bit, and our concern developed an edge. Her hunger for the spotlight annoyed us, and when news about her financial windfall hit the press and networks, we were angry. She doesn’t work, have a career or an involved partner to help raise the children (this is the politically-correct phrasing that now substitutes for the unacceptable out-cry of “where’s the father?), so companies and other donors are providing diapers and formula and clothes, oh my. And a home--an even bigger oh my. Just where is Santa Claus when we needed him in our lives? Now jealousy and outrage, understandably, replaced our previously less judgmental feelings (being judgmental these days is a big no-no.)

The media frenzy subsided for a bit and then editorials and commentaries addressed the moral and ethical issue of implanting so many embryos. What is an acceptable number? Who determines it?

Well, here is the next phase of concern: How does any mother provide effective rearing of so many children at once? Ms. Suleman will undoubtedly rely on nannies and volunteers, but, even factoring in that benefit, the question remains—how does anyone actually nurture any child, let alone so many?

Here is my short list of advice to all parents, regardless of how many children you have—or how you got them. These are the fundamental responsibilities of anyone who is bringing a child into the world:

  1. Don’t just accept who your child is—or isn’t—celebrate and support each child’s talents and differences.
  2. Do away with scripts for your child. Don’t start planning to bring Junior or Juniorette into the business or to have them attend your alma mater. And don’t hope that your child can correct the unresolved issues between you and your parents.
  3. Don’t expect your child to end your loneliness.
  4. Regard parenting as THE MOST important job you will ever have.
  5. Bring your selective work skills into the home: Get organized. Assign tasks. Do follow-through. Reward jobs well-done. Help those who can’t finish theirs.
  6. Establish a team environment. Siblings don’t automatically fight with each other. Parents should work together, get a plan of what values you want to instill.
  7. Make sure each child has time with you.
  8. Plan and save for their training and education after high school.
  9. Establish time for you and your partner to be together.
  10. Make sure each child has chores and helps around the house. Put a schedule up in the kitchen.

How will you know if you’ve succeeded? Signs of your success include whether your children do well in school, are not abusing substances and are not breaking any laws. As adults, your children can care for themselves responsibly and actually want to spend time with you.

Author's Bio: 

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