Parenting, without the chloroform

When I was a kid, I could tell back-to-school time was here when we weren’t allowed to eat.

Can of pop? “That’s for lunches.” Yogurt? “Lunches.” Bacon and eggs? “Lunches.” If I remember correctly, all we were allowed at home was a box of baking soda and the occasional Milk Bone.

I don’t have any children, but having experienced my parents’ rearing methods — discipline through starvation — I believe I have the skills necessary to help you as your child heads back to school. Here’s what you need to know.

Fashion: Children’s trends can be confusing, but it’s important to remember that fashion is cyclical. In some eras, high school kids wear clothing so tight that they might as well be naked. Other times, they wear clothing so loose any quick movements will render them naked. They know what they’re doing. I have no idea what’s ‘in’ now, but if it offends your sensibilities, pick it up. Your kid will love it.

Supplies: Once your kids have all the ‘hippest’ ‘duds,’ you’ll want to get them the coolest supplies. Nothing was worse than owning plastic rulers pathetically devoid of holographic dinosaurs, or a compass that wasn’t nearly sharp enough to stab the girl you liked. Buy one of those $29.99 sets with the quadratic equation written on the back and your kids could be as cool as I was, though somehow I doubt it.

Rest: Getting kids to bed at a decent hour after a long summer can have even the most patient parents reaching for the chloroform. Researchers say you should make sure your child gets eight hours of sleep — more if you don’t like them.

Don’t forget to care: As the school year moves on, it’s imperative you pretend you still care about your kids. After all, these are the same children that will one day be sending you to a home.

Showing your love may prove difficult. If you drive them to school, they will deny they have parents by leaping from the vehicle while it’s in motion, sometimes through a closed window. And if you ask what happened at school today, they will say, “Nothin’,” even if their math teacher unexpectedly burst into flames.

Despite this, support whatever they do. If they lie to the teacher, tell them they have a life as an MP ahead; if they don’t show up at all, senator.

And that’s the only proper way to raise your children. But remember, all these guidelines will be useless if you don’t forget one important rule. You MUST feed your children, lunches be damned. A Milk Bone will clean their teeth, too.



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