10 Parenting Tips From Susan Sontag’s Journal In 1959 That Still Ring True Today

The writer Susan Sontag gave birth to her son, David Rieff, in 1952. After his mother died in 2004, David found this still-relevant list of parenting tips, written when he was seven, in one of her journals.

july ugust 2015 aol family illustration1. Be consistent.

2. Don’t speak about him to others (e.g., tell funny things) in his presence.

3. Don’t praise him for something I wouldn’t always accept as good.

4. Don’t reprimand him harshly for something he’s been allowed to do.

5. Daily routine: eating, homework, bath, teeth, room, story, bed.

6. Don’t allow him to monopolize me when I am with other people.

7. Always speak well of his pop (no faces, sighs, impatience, etc.).

8. Do not discourage childish fantasies.

9. Make him aware that the grown-up world is none of his business.

10. Don’t assume that what I don’t like to do (bath, hair wash), he won’t like either.

july august 2015 aol family bookReborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, copyright © 2008 the estate of Susan Sontag, is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Picador.

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