Like most parents who don’t happen to be on crystal meth at the time they procreate, my wife and I promised each other we would never raise our children the way our parents raised us.
We succeeded in some ways and failed in others. There was back sliding born of unimagined frustration and there were moments of pure channeling as in: “I never planned to say that! I sounded just like my father!”
We have tried our best to stay on the straight and true course of magnificent parenting, but we have had to make all manner of amends ex post delicto.
Now that we are way way way beyond parenting anyone or anything (in our 70’s) we have collected a number of hints for those of you in medias parentis (sic) so that you lessen the number of amends you will have to make later on when your children write you letters that begin with “Dear Mom and Dad: I have been loathe to write this letter since I was 13 years old, but I can no longer hold in my feelings.”
Ten Things Never To Say In Front of Your Children—-
1) “Grandma died just like you will—old, alone and unloved.” While this may be true in far too many cases, we at the Study Center for Psychiatric Anomalies, (SCPA), have made it a truism of our profession to state unequivocally, “Ix-nay on the ooth-tray!” There is a time and place when it is best to let your children know that life is a crap shoot at best and, oh, by the way, try not to say that either…not until they are 11 or 12.
2) “Feel free to stick Q-Tips anywhere they’ll fit.” There is no need to tell children this, for, by the time you actually say it they will already have stuck Q-Tips in every conceivable anatomical location on themselves, their younger siblings or the neighbor child with the learning disability.
3) “Santa loves rich children more than you.” This is a tricky one because it is so totally and inarguably true. Santa may keep a list of who’s Naughty and Nice, but Mrs. Claus keeps a dossier on all parents’ holdings. It would be absurd for your kids to think that they were going to get a Maserati when you don’t make more than $150K a year before taxes. It is rumored that whenever Santa tries to shove a ridiculously expensive gift down a middle class chimney, Mrs. Claus slaps him red-faced. It is said by North Poleans that “…it is easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to sneak a trust fund into an orphanage.”
4) “Insanity runs in our family.” This is a terrible thing to say aloud to any child of yours. It will make your offspring feel special when, in fact, INSANITY RUNS IN EVERY FAMILY!” There is no point in giving your entitled little kumquat a sense of importance just because his uncle Manfred was arrested for sexually assaulting a letter box.
5) “Sarcasm is the highest form of humor.” As if….
6) “There really is no animal rehab where we took all your pets.” Props for making up such a ridiculous cover story for your thoughtlessly euthanizing everyone from Binky the cat with the pancreas problems to Sam the gardener who kept stealing bottles from your wine cellar.
7) “Play Football.” This is as dumb a sentiment as you can possibly impart. It is up there with “If you wet your bed, we’ll tell all your friends” and “Poets never make any money.” If you tell your child this and he or she opts into the football program at The Montowese Island Daycare Playnasium, you may assume that he or she will emerge many years later unable to remember his/her name or where he or she banked the $1.5 M signing bonus. Even if your child avoids all concussions, and fractured collarbones, there is every likelihood that the poor dear will be using a walker by age 50.
8) “The reason all your classmates hate you is that you are so much prettier and smarter than they are.” Though this is probably true, it won’t help your beautiful and brilliant child one bit. You might suggest your child dress down, stop combing his or her hair and say things like “We should have a country without a government to stop those welfare mothers from stealing from the rest of us.” It didn’t work for us, but it might work for you—especially if, by chance, your child is really homely and not so bright after all.
9) “We should build a fence between us and Mexico and Canada that nobody can climb over or dig under.” The problem with this statement is that if your kids actually hear you say this, they will, hopefully, assume you are an idiot. That is a secret you must try to keep hidden until they leave home.
10) “And then you die.” Oh, We already said that, kinda. Try not to repeat stuff all the time. That is, you won’t wish to keep saying the same thing over and over in a different or same way.
No matter what, you are embarking on an adventure that will take more bravery than Everest and less oxygen.