Rule #106: Bring Beer to Back-to-School Night


Your future looks a hell of a lot brighter through beer goggles.

Let’s just get this out of the way: You have a tendency to do the wrong thing.

And there are very few opportunities in life to do something right, actually feel good about it, and get a nice buzz going at the same time.

Which is why it’s critical to bring a case of brew to your child’s back-to-school night. [Read more...]

Rule #105: Ignore Your Child’s Anger Issues


That's not a purr. That's a cry for help.

You’ve probably noticed little Samantha requesting more raw meat with her meals, especially breakfast.

It would be foolish of you to turn down these requests. You see, Samantha is growing, learning and adapting to the world around her, and that world often needs the fuel of uncooked sirloin.

Which brings us to Samantha’s alleged anger issues. [Read more...]

Rule #104: Feed Your Child Soap

feed child soap

After the initial sting you'll start to get numb to the pain. Just like real life.

We’ve heard about barbaric parents who have “washed their child’s mouth out” with soap for any number of verbal infractions.

But this is like inserting a Lego in your puppy’s ass for soiling your carpet…which doesn’t work, as we’ve learned through, um, friends who have told us as much. (Seriously, we don’t even own Legos.)

Feeding your kid soap is a kinder, gentler form of punishment. It can be used for any number of transgressions (rudeness, poor grades, trying to stuff Legos up your puppy’s ass), yet we’ve found it works best when used in conjunction with a clean soul. [Read more...]

Rule #103: Push Your Child to Join a Gang


Helmut? I don't need no stinking helmut.

Does your little guy still have that weird facial tick and irritable bowel?

He is destined for life’s fringes, good people, but you can help him feel included right now. Gang life usually gets a bad rap because of petty things like extortion, money laundering, fraud, death and mayhem. But it takes a village of young thugs to make all of this happen.

That’s where your son comes in. [Read more...]

Rule #102: Force Kids to Wear Sunblock Indoors


Don't get too close to the window. Or the camera flash.

Let’s face it, the sun is Satan’s play toy.

With his ball of hell fire, the Evil One is able to create droughts, sizzle the new paint job on your Escalade, and coax nubile young women to wear bathing suits exposing lovely, sun-kissed soft skin parts that the dark demon wants the world to illicitly see.

And then there’s the issue of your children’s sensitive skin. [Read more...]

Rule #101: Use Your Children to Test Electrical Outlets


Daddy! How much longer before I get to glow in the dark?

Electricians, much like doctors, are overrated and expensive, which means you can usually do their easy and relatively safe work yourself.

You have never been afraid of strong electrical currents, but you do have to support your family and couldn’t afford to be out of work if, in the unlikely event, an accident with actual, you know, electricity should occur.

So hedge your bets and let your children bear the brunt of testing all the rewiring you’ve done in the new family room. [Read more...]

Rule #100: Blame Someone Else’s Child for Pool Poop

pool poop

You gotta be shitting me. Is that another floater?

Remember the four pounds of dried apricots you forced little Jamie to eat for lunch?

Well, they staged an ugly coup in your child’s colon, broke down the doors to the anal palace, and came screaming into the previously tranquil kingdom of the neighborhood pool’s 2 feet area.

The resulting spasm of fetid floatsam cleared the pool witin seconds, leaving Jamie both ashamed and embarrassed.

Of course, you always want to shield your child from shame, especially when it’s just as easy to blame someone else. [Read more...]

Rule #99: Encourage Your Daughter to Date a Carny


I'll always be there to hold your hair back as you puke after I spin ya on the Tilt-a-Whirl if ya know what I mean.

Your teenage daughter reminded you the other day about several of her friends who are traveling in Europe this summer. And she, of course, is not.

There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is you do not trust people from other states, much less people from Europe or “Europeans” as many are called by people who try to be all superior.

While you recognize that travel was an important part of your social development, especially the summer you smuggled cod and dope across the Canadian border in a Pinto, you do not have the funds to allow your child to experience “culture.”

What you do have, however, is the carnival in town. [Read more...]

Rule #98: Blame Your Kids for Natural Disasters


It's simple, Timmy. You urinate on the toilet seat, God urinates on the world. And it's your fault.

Everyone is so convinced that earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and lousy liposuction jobs are acts of god…or maybe Rupert Murdoch.

God and Murdoch are great candidates, but they don’t necessarily help you instill a lack of confidence, coupled with a dose of paranoia, in your child. You want your son and daughter to feel the weight of the world coming down on them for misguided actions? [Read more...]

Rule #97: Grow Weed With Your Children


Come on, dad. If we're going to run a profit on this motherfucker we're going to need a bigger patch than that.

We’re all about character-building experiences, especially during the summer.

We’ve even heard stories about right-thinking parents who have put their kids to work mowing lawns for seniors in the neighborhood, working at farmer’s markets and, of course, there’s the requisite lemonade stand that always looks great in family photo albums.

These pursuits are wonderful and wholesome…but they produce chump change. [Read more...]

Rule #96: Allow Your Child to Touch Everything


What's filthier: my hands, or the scabby Band-Aid I just picked up?

Tactile learning is incredibly important to a young mind.

And if you find yourself in the company of a chimp, sloppy-drunk frat brother or eager child, you’ll notice they possess an impulse to touch and otherwise disturb everything that comes into their line of vision. [Read more...]

Rule #95: Encourage Your Kids to Take Rides from Strangers

rides with stranger

Of course the man is nice, Elliot. If he wasn't, would he love Trolls this much?

Gas prices are high.

In fact, you haven’t seen anything quite as high since your college roommate Alfonso figured out how to make a bong out of his kettle drum and the toilet plunger.

But the pain at the pump doesn’t mean you need to feel pain in your wallet, as long as you’re willing to let men dressed as women driving Chrysler LeBarons littered with Slim Jim wrappers chauffeur your next of kin around.

And while you’re saving money on gas and DUI charges, you’ll also rev your engines to these perks of encouraging your kids to take rides from strangers: [Read more...]

Rule #94: Give Your Child a Spray-On Summer Tan

spray on tan

Orange you glad I didn't say sunburn?

Since your child is more intimate with Game Boy than fresh air, chances are his skin is the blueish tone of skim milk.

It’s a great look if he’s auditioning for a part as Tiny Tim or pines to be a stunt double for the next vampire flick.

But as an overall “look,” well, it’s not great. [Read more...]

Rule #93: Form a Rock Band With Your Teenager

family band

So, uh, when do the hot babes you promised us show up, Dad?

Your teenage son may not admit it in the light of day, but he thinks it’s very, very cool when you play air guitar to “Running With the Devil” on the Lexus’s steering wheel while you’re driving.

And the part where you grimace like Eddie Van Halen in the throes of a long, finger-dancing guitar-gasm?
Your son loves it.

Sure, he and his buddies already play in a garage band. And they sound pretty good sometimes. They’ve even had a few gigs around town. Girls seem to like them, too.

But know this: Your son is proud to have you as a father, because when you and Eddie V become one in air guitar-ness, you’re showing your son, in no uncertain terms, that you can “jam.” (Note: “Jam” is a word musicians use to describe playing together.) [Read more...]

Rule #92: Teach Your Kid How to Hitchhike


Come on, you didn't expect me to give you a ride to school every single day, did you?

Remember that time when it was your turn to do the carpool and the neighbor’s snotbucket of a  kid ended up shitting their pants in the back seat?

Of course you do, because all the Odor Eaters in the world still haven’t been able to clear the stench from the air. (And Grandma passes out every time she’s stuffed back there for a family road trip, even when she’s sober).

What if you found out there was a solution – a way to remove yourself from carpool duty and parental responsibility in general? Well, there is. Just teach your kid how to hitchhike. [Read more...]

Rule #91: Rent an Old Geezer for the Holidays

grandpa wearing gloves

Did you really think these No-Grope Gloves could stop 95 years of tradition and primal instinct?

It’s time. Your children have gone long enough without a traditional Christmas grandparent.

They need to experience a Werther’s butterscotch moment with someone who’s really old and wearing a snowflake-embroidered, cuddly sweater laced with the scent of pine needles and wood smoke.

The only problem is that your dad ran off in 1986 with a cocktail waitress from Lubbock. It shocked everyone, but it happened. [Read more...]

Rule #90: Make Your Kids Share Their Birthday

share your birthday

Wish for something good! And make sure it can easily be divided into three pieces!

Little Josh turns 5 today.

It’s a bit of a watershed. But honestly, it seems like everything in your children’s lives are watersheds, and you’re pretty damned tired of it.

The birthday expectations, the planning, the execution—it’s enough to make you want to ban the celebration all together.
[Read more...]

Rule #89: Run Your Child’s Political Campaign at School

run your childs school election campaign

Lindsey will not be doomed to repeat my failure. Lindsey will NOT be doomed to repeat my failure.

In the harsh world of running for class president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer, there is little room for miscalculation.

Because, let’s face it, miscalculation leads to failure, and failure leads to mumbling to the lunch lady about how, if you’d just promised in your campaign speech to create an all-tater-tot lunch menu, things would have turned out differently back in the day.

But that was long ago, and you’ve learned from your mistakes.

And now it is time to turn those verbal and physical mishaps—especially the one where you soiled a perfectly nice pair of O.P. shorts—into victories for your child by becoming his or her campaign manager. [Read more...]

Rule #88: Nothing Is More Important Than High School Homecoming

high school homecoming

This is the greatest day of your lives. What the hell do you mean it doesn't feel like it?

Remember when Friday-night lights shone brilliantly, perfumed air commingled with the whiff of popcorn and raw turf?

The pageantry and purpose of high school came together as a student body—football players, cheerleaders, band members, water boys/girls, team managers, vocally supportive classmates in the grandstands and, yes, the gorgeous homecoming court—captured the essence of youth and hope?

Of course you don’t. You and three friends were in the parking lot cozying up with a bong the length of a Trans Am.

But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the importance of homecoming for your teens. In fact, because you didn’t exactly take part in the “pageantry and purpose” yourself, make sure you tell your children that homecoming is one of the most important events in their lives…like, ever. [Read more...]

Rule #87: Don’t Bother Photographing Your Kids

awkward kid photo

Stop this tragedy before it starts.

Identity is so overrated.

Everyone is always saying shit like, “Oh, your child’s identity needs to be nurtured from the minute he’s born. Take plenty of pictures. You’ll be glad you did.”


Your child knows who he is the minute he can focus on your face and put two and two together to comprehend God’s cruel audacity at giving him your genes, which means the lack of a strong chin and an overbite.

Hey, it happens—trust us, your kid has an identity, and he doesn’t exactly want to be reminded of it every day for rest of his life. Which is why we suggest a complete moratorium on photographing your children. [Read more...]

Rule #86: Get Matching Mother-Daughter Tattoos

tramp stamp

I know it's a little high for the tramp stamp you wanted, but it's totally going to sag down to your ass eventually.

Ink on young skin is sexy. Ink on old skin is sexy, too.

Well, provided the light is right and the guy with the toothy grin and nice watch at the end of the bar keeps filling your glass and telling you 45 years old has never looked so damned good on anyone.

Which prompts you to adjust yourself by moving things around that usually didn’t require tending to a decade ago. [Read more...]

Rule #85: Refuse to Sign Any of Your Child’s School Paperwork

dont sign anything

Sorry honey, Mommy can't sign this because it'd be irresponsible. Now let me get back to my hooker parade.

Being difficult with people has so many nuances that it’s high art.

And you are the Picasso of difficult.

Trust us, everyone admires this quality in you, especially in the areas where your difficult nature rears itself like a reddish-purple boil that can’t decide if it wants to merely nag or set off Armageddon inside your inner thigh.

Boils, you see, can be feared when they’re difficult, and so can you…at work, at the grocery store, at your child’s sporting events—and yes, especially when it comes to your child’s school.

This is wonderful time of year to be difficult, since your kids will bring home numerous forms—including field-trip permission, homework verification and psychological profiling —from the so-called authorities at school.

Truth is, these do-gooders want your signature for unseemly purposes to be used at a later date, which is why you should routinely refuse to sign any of your child’s school paperwork unless it involves voting for tater tots as the main course for every school lunch. (This great country of ours was built on faith and tater tots—or as we believe, a healthy faith in tater tots.) [Read more...]

Rule #84: Own Wild Animals As Pets

wild animals as pets

Eff Mary and her little lamb. You're getting a fawn.

Have you ever witnessed the wonder in a child’s eyes when he spots a deer during one of your walks?

We have. Many, many times.

And while our first reaction is, “Hey, I bet it would be really cool and comforting to rub my face up against that deer’s lush white tail when I’m sleepy and a little drunk,” our second reaction is infinitely more practical:

“I absolutely must get a deer for my kid as a pet because no one else has one, and we would be considered all progressive and a little edgy. I want a deer, and I want one right now.” [Read more...]

Rule #83: Teach Your Child to Shoplift

teach your child to shoplifting

Remember kids, it's only a crime if you get caught.

Yes, it has come to this.

Not necessarily because your paycheck is lighter or you’re struggling to pay the mortgage, but merely because of the existential thrill of giving your child career alternatives.

Besides, everyone needs a hobby, and playing the clarinet will get your kid roughed up in school.

Lest we forget, in the long run, this benefits you, since you should encourage your child to pilfer things that you need. [Read more...]

Rule #82: Back-to-School Shop at the County Dump

Now don't be greedy, there are enough Coors Light lunch boxes for everyone.

It’s that glorious time of year when highly educated and underpaid personnel, otherwise known as teachers, take over your major responsibilities.

And the mad men and women of Madison Avenue promote this seasonal transition with the idea of buying everything new: clothes, shoes, pencils and food stuffs like party wieners—all of which signal to your children that we are about to usher in another season of massive consumption.

You are not against the transition. In fact, it gives you more time to riddle caregivers and school personnel with long-form complaints. But you are against massive consumption, the kind that has made America weak in the knees for special offers in the snack aisle at Wal-Mart.

That’s why you’ll show your children and the insensible masses where you stand by doing your back-to-school shopping at the county dump. [Read more...]

Rule #81: Use Hand-Me-Down Braces & Retainers


Try to clean some of the food particles out before we put them on your little brother.

Dentists are always trying to tell you that every child’s mouth is different.

They’ll blather on about overbites and under-bites and pie-holes that are too big or too small.

But, really, a mouth’s a mouth—and this happens to be your third child’s mouth, so it really makes no sense why you should have to pay thousands of dollars for your 12-year-old son’s mouth of bent metal when your 14-year-old daughter just had her braces taken off. [Read more...]

Rule #80: Ban All Forms of Acne Medication

THEY will learn to adapt. YOU won't have to wait up on Friday nights.

The dull pain, hovering below your skin like teenage heartache itself, began around 3 p.m.

By 5, a mere hour before you were to pick up your date, the missile penetrated and expanded your pores in a flame of shame.

That’s right, you possessed—like some kind of suburban booby prize—a mammoth zit with a fury and size that only teenagers can experience.

And it didn’t really matter where the beast presented itself. Chin, forehead, nose, ear lobe (and underrated spot that rendered earrings impossible), temple, upper lip, lower lip, cheek bone or just above the eyebrow, as if you’d gone 18 rounds with a prize fighter.

While the agony of these events are too numerous to recall with any type of clarity, there’s something you got out of these ghastly experiences of facial disobedience: they built character. [Read more...]

Rule #79: Never Stop for Bathroom Breaks on Family Road Trips

road trip no bathroom breaks

Oh come on, like you've never seen a urine-filled Gatorade bottle before.

There’s no good reason why you need to get from Omaha to Yellowstone in 12 hours, other than your brother Nick said he pulled it off in college in a VW bus.

And Nick has pretty much been humiliating you in everything from dating to badminton to mustache-grooming since you were teens, and you’ll be damned if this douche-bag of a brother is going to hold this road-trip-timing record over your head.

Which is a long way of saying that you’re not stopping at McDonald’s or the interstate rest stop for your children to relieve themselves.

But the reasons for not stopping go far beyond Nick.

Not stopping for bathroom breaks builds a whole new dimension of character in your children. Truth is, they’ll learn as they squirm. [Read more...]

Rule #78: Give Your Baby Plastic Surgery

barbie being barbie

She has her mother's eyes. No really, we took them from a Barbie doll her mother owned.

Well, sure, your kid is 6 months old, and people keep telling you how cute she is.

But as they ramble, you sort of detect a tone that says, “But, looking at you, I’d say your baby’s cuteness won’t last long—I give it maybe another three or four months, tops.”

This near-sighted buffoon might be on to something. [Read more...]

Rule #77: Raise Your Child in a Barn

raise kids in barn

So, when Cowy goes to college, I can have his room?!

Organic farming practices are something to adore.

They produce gnarled, marble-size potatoes and apples as tasty as a kiss from a farmer who has been making his own organic toothpaste since 1965.

Which is why it makes perfect sense to raise what we like to call “organic barn children.”

Organic barn children are a bold answer to the parental refrain, “What? Do you think you were raised in a barn?”
[Read more...]

Rule #76: Dump Your Kids on Other Parents

parent with child

So wait, how long did your parents say they'd be out of town?

So, you have this sweet opportunity to attend a semi-nude Renaissance Festival in upstate New York where a couple of dudes from Phish (including the back-up drummer) are playing on Saturday night.

The tickets are cheap, the timing is right (the kids are only playing four soccer games on Saturday instead of six), and you can almost smell the booze/urine/body odor cocktail you’ll be inhaling all weekend.

Only problem: What to do with your children?

They’ve worn out their welcome with the in-laws, especially after the unfortunate incident with the nacho cheese and the Citronella candle. Which means that your best option is to dump your children on other unsuspecting parents. [Read more...]

Rule #75: Arm Your Teen With Water Wings

drinking beer underwater

Danger lurks beneath the surface. Keep your child safely afloat with...floaties.

Sure, Nathan Jr. can swim. You even paid for the lessons a decade ago when he was 6.

But water, especially in shopping-mall fountains, large birdbaths and sandcastle moats, is beyond dangerous—it’s a nationwide tsunami of parental dread and worry. [Read more...]

Rule #74: Tell People Your Child Has Special Powers

kid with special powers

He slayed the shit out of a woolly mammoth in our backyard. No seriously, he did.

Naturally, you’ve mentioned to anyone who’d listen that your child is gifted and talented.

And you’ve also blurted out countless times that Tiffany plays travel soccer, travel lacrosse and has been recently selected for travel bocce ball.

But no one seems to give a shit. [Read more...]

Rule #73: Use Your Child as a Thermometer

kid as a thermometer

Wait, how long did you say I have to stay out here for?

God damn it’s hot outside.

Or at least it looks that way from inside your air-conditioned lair as little Billy’s shoes are welded by the sun to the concrete.

And some dude on the local news (did he say his name was Topper?) keeps saying there’s a record-breaking heat wave.

Which is something that makes you curious, but not curious enough to leave your sectional and the remote.

Still…you once considered meteorology as a career (right before cosmetology and just after astrology), and you’d very much like to know what all this weather-related fuss is about.

Naturally, this is a job for your child.
[Read more...]

Rule #72: Give Your Kid a Trophy For Everything

trophies for everything


If you’re like most parents, you probably spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why the world hasn’t heaped more praise on your child.

After all, he’s amazingly special, what with the way he can talk without dribbling creamed corn down his chin—oh, and the way he remembers the sequence of Slurpee flavors on tap at 7-Eleven, or the way he can recite all the major plot points of the Twilight series without taking a breath.

Those traits require talent, and they’re almost as good than splitting the atom. [Read more...]

Rule #71: Fake Memory Loss

fake memory loss

I definitely would have remembered if I said anything about saving for your college education. You're thinking of someone else.

We all do it. We promise our children things that, upon later reflection, turn out to be impossible to bestow.

Like telling your son you’ll build him a tree fort if he sleeps past 7 on Saturday morning.

First, you don’t know shit about tree forts other than they require planning, nailing and hammering skills, and the only planning, nailing and hammering skills you possess involved several coeds as an undergrad.

So, yes, the tree fort promise was a buffoonish move, but it’s also a parental move. We’re in the habit of offering things that simply cannot happen once clarity takes over.

And, naturally, children always have clarity. They remember your every word. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to…in fact, it’s your prerogative to forget everything. [Read more...]

Rule #70: Register for Your Baby Shower at a Pawnshop

Turn that frown upside down with a neon topless dancer sign, or the leg lamp from A Christmas Story.

We figure you have a few things going for you:

First, your home décor is a cross between meth-house chic and the back office at a 7-Eleven (including the cases of unopened Yoo-Hoo in the corner).

Second, you have plenty of friends who are looking to either skip your baby shower or spend as little money as possible on it.

And, finally, you have an affinity for second-hand 14-carat gold pinkie rings, drum sets once used by convicted felons and Soviet-era breast pumps.

Which is why registering for your baby shower at a pawnshop is a most excellent idea.
[Read more...]

Rule #69: Transport Your Child in a Hamster Ball

Hey, at least it's better than the leash, right?

He has your husband’s squinty eyes and nervous disposition and, to make matters worse, he’s always running around like some kind of toddler…or twitchy rodent from the hamster family.

Which is natural, because your son is a toddler.

But, damn, it’s a nuisance—not to mention a tremendous responsibility. You can lessen the hassle and add to the fun by allowing your active child to “move freely” inside the friendly confines of a giant hamster ball. [Read more...]

Rule #68: Strippers, Feel Free to Enjoy “Take Your Child to Work Day”

take your child to work day strippers

Just because we're staring, doesn't mean we're liking.

All right, all right, so you do a little dancing at a little club downtown run by a green-card carrying Russian who wears a red sweat suit. What’s the big deal? Seems like everyone is doing it.

After all, the Russian is a proud entrepreneur, and he’s built “Yurgi’s House of Shiny Poles” into a beacon of…well, shiny poles. He’s proud—and you should be damn proud, too.

Kids might be confused by the field trip to your “office,” but there are easy approaches to educate and energize the dark, cobwebbed part of their brains that find it unappealing to visit places that smell like a combination of bong water and mint dental floss. [Read more...]

Rule #67: Use Your Stroller as a Battering Ram

strollers as battering ram

Those bitches at the park will never see us coming.

First, they took away your semi-automatic Browning—a birthday present that could blow a hole in fat maple from 75 paces.

Then they made you give up your Chuck Norris-autographed numchucks.

And the last straw was banning you from lobbing rocks at the miscreants in your neighborhood (translation: anyone who happens to disagree with you).

But you know what?

Those soft, liberal dick-weeds can’t take away your baby stroller.

In fact, your Swedish brand—a double-decker equipped with what looks like a spoiler—has enough heft to cause more damage than a runaway Delta 88 driven by an escapee from the senior center. Use all that Swedish engineering to drive home your point, even if it’s pointless.
[Read more...]

Rule #66: Ban Kids From Your Lawn

kid thrown out of yard

It pains us to do throw you in the mulcher, but it's not like we didn't warn you, Tommy.

When it comes to lawns, children are actually worse—much worse—than moles, nut-juggling squirrels and the terrier up the street with the jumpy sphincter that delivers liquid kibble on your tall fescue every morning.

While these pests pass through or over your lawn, children want to do something more sinister: play on it.

Well, here’s the deal: You spend way too much time and resources on your grass for children to enjoy it. The audacity of these lawn-wreckers can only be matched by your aggressive salvos in defense of your green carpet.

This is war, and you should wage it with vigor—and your children will learn a lot about you and themselves along the way. [Read more...]

Rule #65: Put Your Kid in Timeout at an Orphanage

kid in prison

And you had the audacity to complain about sitting in the corner.

Joshua’s done it again: After you’ve repeatedly told him not to roast his sister’s training bra over an open-pit fire in the guestroom, the weight of your words are ignored.

Mockery has become the boy’s watchword, and he’s just daring you to put him in timeout.

And this you shall do, but with an effective twist: Send him to timeout at a place where punishment comes in the form of complete abandonment in a chamber of hopelessness, despair and goat-broth dinners. (Other than that, orphanages seem like great places.)
[Read more...]

Rule #64: Send Your Kid to Mafia Training Camp

In life, you're either the diaper, or the shit.

In life, you are either the diaper or the shit.

Given your child’s twitchy disposition and desire to build Lego kingdoms 24/7, it’s a pretty clear he’s going to get punched more often than cheap drywall in the men’s bathroom at a redneck bar on Saturday nights.

The kid needs protection.

The kid needs to learn ruthlessness.

The kid, well shit, the kid needs a pair of balls.

That’s why it’s a good idea to send your child to mafia training camp. [Read more...]

Rule #63: Lie to Your Child About How Important You Are

What, you think they let just anyone sit here?

Watch, son. I sit here and people just hand over money. They call that respect where I'm from.

There was a time when people used to look at you with a mix of envy, awe and desire to make out in the bathroom at Big Willie’s Bar & Notary.

But you were younger and infinitely more ambitious then. Your life was a canvas framed in the gilded trappings of potential.

That’s the word people used about you—potential. “He has the potential to do big things that don’t involve wearing a smock or a hair net,” they’d say. But then, sometime in the past 15 years, they sort of stopped saying that about you.

Which means your career has either flat-lined or you’ve delayed the success that will inevitably come your way just as soon as you lose a limb or get violently maimed on the job and collect long-term disability.

Until that time, you have to lie to your children about how important you are, because every kid wants to brag on the playground about his parents’ success.
[Read more...]

Rule #62: Tattoo Your Kids With Reckless Abandon

Stop looking at me like that. If you hate it so much just look at your other arm. You've got two, don't you?

Stop looking at me like that. If you hate it so much just look at your other arm. You've got two, don't you?

Children pretty much all look the same.

Oh, sure, some possess characteristics that keep demographers employed and allow companies like Benetton to perpetuate the myth of rainbow love, but when it really comes right down to it, after you’d pounded a few cans of Schlitz, you’re often confused about which child is yours when all those screaming mini-souls come galloping out of school.

That’s why tattooing is such a viable identifier.

It clearly sets apart your child and says, “Hey, dad, it’s me, remember? I’m the one with the iCarly tattoo on my neck and your ATM pin on my arm.”

Then, of course, you’ll squint, look temporarily confused, and say to yourself, “Right. Right. Yes, that’s right. The tattoos! That is my kid. We had those done for little Matthew at the county fair for half price, because the artist said Matthew’s arm was so small and skinny he didn’t have to use as much ink. Plus, I bought the dude a funnel cake.”
[Read more...]

Rule #61: Discourage Most Forms of Reading

Jimmy, put that trash away. Don't you know that crap will rot your already tiny brain?

Jimmy, put that trash away. Don't you know that crap will rot your already tiny brain?

Remember that time in junior high when you were so enthralled by Moby Dick that you read deep into the night and barely slept an hour?

And the other times—too numerous to count—that you slept through your high-school morning alarm because you fell madly, passionately in love with the melodious phrasing of Joyce and the intellectual bravado of Bellow?

Oh, wait. That never happened.

It never happened because reading sort of hurts your head (the temporal lobe, if you’re looking for a specific area) and, despite what the well-meaning, NPR-listening crowd says, reading is just a bunch of words and stories that aren’t nearly as interesting as the shit going down in your neighborhood or on TV. [Read more...]

Rule #60: Pack Smokes in Your Child’s Lunch

Come on, you know the FDA won't call it nutritionally balanced without the cancer sticks.

How is your kid gonna survive on a diet like this? More cigarettes, please!

Remember those carefree days of your youth when long, semi-passionate drags on a Camel unfiltered cigarette during recess meant returning to the classroom with a slight buzz?

Those were such wonderfully innocent times—and so different from the overly watchful and “health-oriented” school systems most of our children are trapped in.

But smoking—particularly childhood puffing—is as American as tire slashing, random bullying and trespassing. So, when you’re packing little Monica’s boloney sandwich for lunch, slip her a little something extra (we’re thinking cool menthol) that will make her the idol of peers and the always cool custodial staff. [Read more...]

Rule #59: Vacation in a Third World Country

Weren't you the one complaining about taking a bath? That tub doesn't seem so bad now, does it, hot shot?

Weren't you the one complaining about taking a bath? That tub doesn't seem so bad now, does it, hot shot?

Your kid, like most American children, is spoiled shitless.

He’s got an iPod, a television in his room – which he shares with no one – and you even let him have his own seat at your dining room table.

Clearly, the rod has been spared and the child has been royally spoiled. And his entitled perspective has his expectations as high as his Uncle Leroy, who, incidentally, was never invited to the dining room table.

To combat the social retardation which will be the result of this spoilage, you should, at some time in your child’s adolescence, vacation to a third world country (no, flipping on Slumdog Millionaire doesn’t count.)

Your probably thinking that there’s no way this could improve anything, and you’re probably worried about getting your Manolo Blahnik’s stolen – or worse – dirty, and you may be right.

But you never joined the Peacecorps and you mildly regret this, so pack your bags, head to Somalia and get ready to improve the shit out of yourself and your kid: [Read more...]

Rule #58: Admit Your Baby Isn’t Cute

Either you can't look at it, or you can't look away. Either way, you're not reading this caption.

Either you can't look at it, or you can't look away. Either way, you're not reading this caption.

Your baby is an impish, miniature troll, who’s mere appearance can devastate aspiring Miss America contestants into never doing a pageant again.

You’ve been etching scars on friends and family members’ corneas with your wallet photos of “Ugly Jimmy” and in an honest moment, you realize you may have been responsible for several minor car accidents just by toting the sucker around in your stroller.

And this would be fine, if you quietly went about your business, raising the beast and ushering him patiently through an awkward adolescence.

But you keep subjecting us to “it,” and that’s something we won’t stand for, and neither should you.

Besides, admitting your baby isn’t cute is the first step in sculpting a healthy and realistic worldview for your child. Benefits include: [Read more...]

Rule #57: Pick Up Chicks With Your Kid

Well, I don't like to brag, but this baby freaking loves me.

Hey lady, if you cry hard enough, he'll probably even change your diaper.

You are a walking, talking, blubbering Petri dish of insecurities.

It’s obvious to everyone, even the blind dude with the dog that licks your loafers on the subway, but somehow you don’t see it—in much the same way you don’t see your unholy tangle of ear hair.

But you have a cute kid.

It’s weird. Millions of insecure and otherwise ugly to average-looking people have cute kids. No one can explain it, sort of like why people still eat boloney sandwiches.

Anyway, employ this cute kid of yours for something useful like picking up chicks. Even if attractive women won’t talk to you, it doesn’t mean they won’t talk to your child. It works, and if your munchkin is noshing a boloney sandwich at the time, your odds of success are even better. [Read more...]

Rule #56: Join Forces With the Monster Under the Bed

Just lay low for now, and if he's still awake after 10, just crawl out and lick his hand or something.

Just lay low for now, and if he's still awake after 10, just crawl out and lick his hand or something.

Every parent needs an ally, and there’s no better source of unknown evil to a toddler or small child than the monster under the bed.

Use this sinister source to your advantage when trying to sway your child to follow any of your home’s random rules that, truth be told, most children with the brain function of a parsnip wouldn’t bother following anyway.

But that’s not the point.

The point, as we see it in our long-term, tainted-by-Donnie-Darko worldview, is to break your child’s will and foment the beginnings of rampant paranoia that will one day have him scampering up trees like a feral tabby when any sign of danger approaches your home. [Read more...]

Rule #55: Scare Away Your Children’s Friends

But he only eats one child per year, so you should be safe, Charlie.

But he only eats one child per year, so you should be safe, Charlie.

The only children who can be trusted are yours—and only if they’ve been sedated with warm milk and apple strudel.

You don’t like the idea of other children or so-called “friends” influencing your brood with talk of the “internet” and its many electronic trappings, as well as using “cell phones” to discuss things such as where they’ll meet to eat food that is fast and “convenient.”

And don’t get us started with the ugly influences on the younger set, including the ne’er-do-wells at Disney.

It’s a dangerous world of ideas, and your children like ideas…mainly because they don’t get any at home. That’s why it’s important to scare away all of their friends and would-be friends. (Studies by researcher-scientist types with bad parts in their hair and acne scars have shown that friendships are ridiculously overrated anyway.)
[Read more...]

Rule #54: Demand Special Treatment For Your Child

Sure, he may get lonely on his private school bus, but at least he won't come home with boogers wiped on his jacket.

A private school bus may be lonely, but at least he won't come home covered with boogers.

Your loins have produced offspring so genetically perfect that the rest of the world—otherwise known as the woefully inadequate—better just get the hell out of their way (your children’s way, not your loin’s).

In school, in sports, in restaurants and even in personal grooming, never forget that, even if the rights and opportunities of others are trampled upon, you have to do what’s best for your child.

In fact, use that line as often as you can. It actually flows effortlessly once you get past its incredibly selfish tone. Go ahead, try it: “I have to do what’s best for my child…I have to do what’s best for my child…I have to do what’s best for my child…”

And…um, don’t say aloud the second part of this sentence, which is “…even if it means you, a common stranger or neighbor, along with your child get shit on in the process.” [Read more...]

Rule #53: Stunt Your Child’s Growth

Keep on chugging, we can't get you new shoes for another year.

Keep on chugging, we can't get you new shoes for another year.

Your child has had the appetite of a ravenous hyena since the day he was born.

It’s fairly sickening, actually, with off-the-charts growth (head, feet, adenoids), and his trips to the Waffle House have you heading toward the poor house.

Which is why you should nip his big-boned future in the fat bud and take measures to stunt his growth, both vertically and horizontally.

Seriously, did you really think your child would be in the NBA or become a lanky model? Shrimpy children are underrated for their pluck, spunk and the bit parts they might land in Wizard of Oz revivals for the Lollipop Guild. [Read more...]

Rule #52: Give Your Child False Hope

One day, you'll all be stars. Or baristas at Starbucks.

One day, you'll all be stars. Or baristas at Starbucks.

Everything in life begins and ends with false hope, wagging in our collective faces like the plump teat from which we suck vigorously—only to realize it’s the equivalent of an implant.

It is a fleshy mirage, and we feel like bitter fools after realizing our folly.

This is the stuff of life, naturally, but your child doesn’t know this yet. So that’s why it’s important to fill his little head with a range of opportunities and outcomes that give him false hope.

These daily episodes of delusion will keep him foolish, lazy and happy, making your life fairly simple because you’ll never have to do the hard parenting work of setting realistic expectations.  [Read more...]

Rule #51: Ignore Swine Flu Warnings

Can you believe the pet store gave him to me for free??

Can you believe the pet store gave him to me for free??

You’re not scared of the medical-hype machine with all this sky-is-falling crap about a pandemic, are you?

We know the media overhypes everything, from those nasty rumors about cigarettes being addictive to the myth about condoms preventing AIDS and how chicks digs them, we know that the media has a tendency to perpetuate unfounded rumors and, dare we say it, lies.

So don’t listen when the government and media start blabbing about impending doom.  According to statistics, bad stuff never happens to people like you.

It always happens to other people, who happen to live in the Midwest in doublewides, along rivers, and who have relatives or siblings with the middle name of “Wayne.”

So please, don’t heed the warnings—just ignore swine flu by: [Read more...]

Rule #50: Tell Your Child How She Was Conceived

Oh calm down, it's not like we're telling you the story of your actual birth.

Oh calm down, it's not like we're telling you the story of your actual birth.

Kids adore storytelling, and they especially enjoy tales where they are integral parts of the plot and its development.

And there’s no better story than the bumping, grinding and eventual liquid DNA hand-off that took place when little Elizabeth was conceived.

It’s a glorious saga of passion, carnal calisthenics, a $25 entrée…and 10 martinis.

In short, it was a beautiful night—and if you offer every detail of the evening to your child, she’ll appreciate just how incredibly lucky she is that, on the night she was conceived, it was lady’s night at Hungry Harry’s Bar & Grill and martinis were half price. [Read more...]

Rule #49: Steal Your Kid’s Money

There is DEFINITELY enough in here for some malt liquor.

There is DEFINITELY enough in here for some malt liquor.

His piggy bank sits there, pregnant with quarters and tightly folded dollars bills and an occasional 5 spot.

And, truth is, this big ceramic piece of money-saving goodness kind of mocks you.

It says: Look at how Little Daniel is earnestly stowing away money every day, and look at how it accumulates nicely. And you? Your savings account is a barren womb of financial disappointment.

You have no cash these days, and your credit card has become a plastic whore of convenience who lays down any time you’d like.

That’s why swiping your child’s piggy bank cash—just to have a little walking-around money—is important to your social status and the engine that drives our great economy. [Read more...]

Rule #48: Never Change a Diaper

Diapers: Remember when you used to spend your money on condoms?

Diapers: Remember when you used to spend your money on condoms?

Babies are poop-producing machines.

Despite not being able to stand up on her own, the inability to make coherent sentences and the fact that she has absolutely no motor skills, your daughter has managed to become a fierce competitor in the sport of filling up diapers.

And this is a problem. A really shitty one. Aside from draining you financially, the constant diaper changes are robbing you of your free time, and more importantly, your soul. You never signed up to be a butt janitor, and you’re fed up with the third-world-country-esque Diaper Genie and its accompanying stench. (Crap-filled sausage links, really? We’re not buying that shit.)

Which is why you should never change a diaper again in your life, and help your child:
[Read more...]

Rule #47: Hire a Bully to Toughen Up Your Kid

This kid is ready. Is yours?

This kid is ready. Is yours?

Generally speaking, kids these days are gigantic wimps.

They no longer run at recess; they wear helmets for everything; and they even insist on using a local anesthesia for mild bone fractures.

It’s safe to say that they’re not making ‘em like they used to, and your kid is no exception.

At first, you may think it’s cute that little Adam cries during “Beauty and the Beast,” and you may find it endearing when he holds your hand as you cross the street (in public, no less), and you may even melt when he cuddles into bed with you after a scary dream.

But really, you’re just fattening the calf in preparation for social slaughter.

Which is exactly why you should save your child future humiliation by injecting a little trauma into his life now by hiring a bully to toughen him up. Above all, you’ll: [Read more...]

Rule #46: Exploit Your Kids for Useless Causes

This seems like a really long line, but I can't wait to meet the Jonas Brothers!

This seems like a really long line, but I can't wait to meet the Jonas Brothers!

Dating back to your days as a geeky trombone player in junior high, people have been ignoring you.

There was the time you ran away from home, and then…well, no one noticed. And there was the episode when your “human chain of one” couldn’t stop the 100-year-old elm tree in your neighborhood from being chopped down.

Oh, and the time your parents went on vacation without you (you still can’t watch “Home Alone” without breaking into the hippie shakes and a cold sweat).

Thankfully for you, as a parent, the calvary has already arrived in the form of your kids.

There’s nothing that attracts a crowd quite like dangling a baby out of a window and likewise, bringing your child along to protests and rallies.

Besides, exploiting your child to advance your personal cause is not only noble, but it also has fringe benefits like: [Read more...]

Rule #45: Rent Your Child’s Bedroom to Strangers

Oh quit your crying, kid. It's not like I'm the boogie monster.

Oh quit your crying, kid. It's not like I'm the boogie monster.

It’s tough to admit, but in those quiet yet terrifying moments in the middle of the night when shadows transform into monsters, you acknowledge you’re having a few cash-flow issues—mainly due to off-track betting, the timeshare in Boca Raton, and an addiction to QVC.

And it’s ugly out there. You need a little extra cash.

The easiest place to pick up quick coin is to rent out part of your child’s bedroom to drifters, ex-convicts, and circus people. It’s good for society, good for your bank account, and good for the psyche of your child, who certainly won’t mind sharing his room with society’s fringe element. [Read more...]

Rule #44: Become Your Kid’s Facebook Friend

It's just like listening in to their phone calls, without the heavy breathing.

It's just like listening in to their phone calls, without the heavy breathing.

All kids, especially teenagers, need emotional security, and nothing gives them greater stability than having a parent as a Facebook friend.

You’ve probably heard that teenagers would rather wear braces and headgear until they’re 40 than have parents tromp around their social turf. That’s complete bullshit.

These protests are cries for attention.

Your teenager may throw his body in front of his computer screen each time you walk by, but really, underneath it all, he wants you there. And nothing will elate him quite like adding you adding him as a friend on Facebook. [Read more...]

Rule #43: Feed Your Child Garbage

Trash: Once you pop, you can't stop.

Trash: Once you pop, you can't stop.

Ever since your child has been old enough to cry (age: 3 seconds), he’s been a waste-producing machine.

Leaving a trail of filled diapers and discarded food in his wake, he has produced more waste than a Russian power-plant and has no signs of slowing down.

Which is why you must force the little garbage gremlin to pull his weight by using him to get rid of your trash. [Read more...]

Rule #42: Teach Your Son Slang for His Wang

A wiener by any other name would smell as sweet.

A wiener by any other name would smell as sweet.

In the art of using slang, you consider yourself to be a young, squinty Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately, your son is the equivalent of the stammering Peter Pan.

Obviously, this social ineptitude causes your already goofy child to face the struggle of being accepted by his peers, talking to girls, and being manly in general.

That’s why it’s important to arm your son with an arsenal of private-part slang for his Mr. Jiggle, which will help him… [Read more...]

Rule #41: Blame Your Kids for Everything

See, this is where you screwed up my taxes, dipshit.

See this, dipshit? This is where you screwed up our taxes. Thanks.

The economy sucks, your Escort needs new wiper blades, and you’ve developed a sore on your upper lip that looks like some kind of small, angry shell fish.

Amid all of these maladies, it’s clear that you need a scapegoat. And choosing the innocent, the pure, and the powerless is always the best way to go.

That’s why it’s important to blame your child for every shortcoming and bad break you can think of—it’ll make you feel better and steel your child against the unfairness he’ll face later in life. [Read more...]

Rule #40: Keep Your Kid in a Helmet 24/7

A life on the sidelines keeps your kid scar-free. Physically, at least.

A life on the sidelines keeps your kid scar-free. Physically, at least.

Paranoia is incredibly underrated, especially when it comes to protecting your clumsy-ass children.

And there’s no better body part to be paranoid about than a kid’s melon, which is soft and fleshy and ripe for all manner of fatal injuries, no matter how far-fetched they may be.

Clearly, your child’s precious head needs safeguarding with an industrial-strength helmet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sure, your efforts might embarrass your children and contribute to their social status as fruity pariahs, but we figure it’s better than a plastic bubble—or worse—a lifetime of pain and physical suffering. [Read more...]

Rule #39: Carry Your Baby in a Bag

Please remember not to use plastic.

Please remember not to use plastic.

Your baby is a bulky burden that selfishly expects you to take care of his every need.

You may not mind the occasional feeding or even pushing him around in a stroller at the park (as long as you get to ogle hot joggers).

But, like most of us, what you probably can’t stand is carrying your child everywhere you need to go.

Carrying him around all the time makes you tired, cranky and disdainful of his presence—which may encourage you to drop him or put him up as collateral in a poker game.

As a busy person, you can’t allow the pathetically slow development of your child’s motor skills make you less productive, especially when it comes to the important things in life.

That’s why it’s important to embrace a new era of fashion and efficiency and carry your baby around in a bag. [Read more...]

Rule #38: Tell Your Kids the End Is Near

And you thought your kids were embarrassed when you wore a fanny pack...

And you thought your kids were embarrassed when you wore your fanny pack...

Everyone is going to die, and some of us are going to do it while in various stages of undress with hookers who don’t know CPR.

Which means that, even if you figure you’ve got another 30 to 40 years to kick around, the countdown begins right about now—and you might as well share this general sense of gnawing trepidation with your children.

The sooner they realize the end is near—not only for them, but also for our species and the planet—the better. It’s an outstanding disciplinary tool, and it sets expectations so low that you can absolve yourself from the hard work and responsibility of raising helpful and productive children. [Read more...]

Rule #37: Don’t Let Anyone Touch Your Baby

If people touch your baby, your baby will get dirty. And you’ll have to throw him away.

If people touch your baby, your baby will get dirty. And you’ll have to throw him away.

The gurgling life form that emerged from your womb is about as close to perfection as the heavens will allow.

He is pure. He is delicate. And he is so unbelievably precious that scholars in dusty lofts drinking double lattes are trying come up with new words to describe this child of yours as you read this.

Meanwhile, nearly every canker-lipped, grubby-handed person in the Northern Hemisphere very much wants to hold, kiss, poke and coddle your baby.

It is their mission, as if every new life has to be indoctrinated into their filthy little worlds where disease and pestilence are happy bedfellows. Oh, and most of these people happen to be family members, coworkers, neighbors, and the creepy produce guy at the grocery store.

That’s why it’s really only safe for you—and maybe your husband after he’s applied rubbing alcohol to most of his body—to hold your baby. You really can’t be too careful.

This will allow you to bond with your offspring and help him develop a healthy distrust of, well…everyone, which will come in handy by the time he’s old enough to be beaten to a paranoid pulp in preschool. [Read more...]

Rule #36: Invent New Forms of Birth Control

The banana-method of Sex Ed will only lead to more confusion and possibly UTIs.

The banana-method of Sex Ed will only lead to more confusion and possibly UTIs.

Talking to your teenagers is awkward enough—so the prospect of talking to them about practicing safe sex is the conversational equivalent of slowly filling a room with man-made gas.

Naturally, you have others offering their help. The health teacher at your child’s school, for example, gives demonstrations involving a not-quite-ripe banana—and the ladies at church preach abstinence, but these misguided attempts will yield few, if any, positive results.

Which is why you should take matters into your own hands and create new forms of birth control.
[Read more...]

Rule #35: Employ Sexy Displays of Public Affection

Seeing this is on no one's Bucket List.

Seeing this is on no one's Bucket List.

Your sexual urges are the moldy masts on your sailboat of life. They carry you into waters that seem appropriate and perfectly fine when intoxicated by alcohol and delusion.

It’s what makes you think to yourself, “Everyone in the world wants to see me vigorously rub the lower, bulging quadrant of my wife’s ass while we’re standing in line at Dunkin Donuts deciding between French crullers and glazed fritters.”

This public display of affection reveals how strong your marriage is, as well as the incredibly classy standards you’ve propped up for yourself.

And children can’t get enough of seeing their parents commit to overzealous rubbing, kissing, and canoodling. Child-development research shows, for example, that 12-year-old kids rank seeing their parents “make out with tongue” slightly ahead of “being trapped in a sinking car” and “getting shit on by an angry camel.”

Which is exactly why you and your spouse should display affection, publicly, and perhaps most important, in front of your kids. [Read more...]

Rule #34: Arrange Your Teenager’s Dates

Arranging dates for your daughter is sort of like buying an insurance policy.

Arranging dates for your daughter is sort of like buying an insurance policy.

A good date is to a teenager what dentures are to your Uncle Morty: a necessity for social status and the one surefire way of getting a decent meal at Red Lobster.

But just as you wouldn’t expect your uncle to gum his way through life, your child needs an assist when finding a squeeze.

Think about it. You’ve been arranging your teenager’s social circle since the first toddler play date and have managed to control her choices and tastes…which, interestingly enough, look a hell of lot like your choices and tastes.

Your child doesn’t resent this whatsoever, which is why she’ll be thrilled when you arrange dates for her. [Read more...]

Rule #33: Use Your Child As Cheap Labor

Unlike other children his age, this one actually deserves his dinner tonight.

Unlike other children his age, this one actually deserves his dinner tonight.

The shameful truth is that American children get a free pass these days when it comes to hard labor with little or no pay.

Which is why you always feel free to tell anyone who’ll listen about your hard-labor travails as a child. It usually goes something like, “When I was 5, I worked sun-up to sundown in a codfish plant beheading and gutting the day’s catch while an old codger with an eye patch and a mallet stood guard so I wouldn’t flee. Frankly, the experience made me a better person.”

This is a lie, naturally, and you’re pretty much a dick for perpetuating it. The truth is that you once ate codfish sticks when visiting your Uncle Hector, the funeral director who wore an eye patch, in Toledo. But in the gray area of truthfulness that comes with parenting, this hardly matters.

Instead, what you know to be true is that your bank account isn’t exactly flush with Benjamins right now. Sure, you could work some extra hours or maybe spend fewer dollars at massage parlors or at the dog track, but this would impact your lifestyle negatively. You need more time lounging, not less.

It’s high time your young children began to fill the family coffers with cash garnered from the sweat of their yet-to-be-developed brow. [Read more...]

Rule #32: Give Your Child an Inferiority Complex

Prepare your child for a life in the shadow of better kids.

Prepare your child for a life in the shadow of better kids.

An enormous part of parenting involves cringing at your children’s shortcomings and jealously pining for the intelligence, accomplishments and excellent traits of children who are way better than them.

This instinct to compare your children to others is natural, and from the time your offspring are old enough to blow spit bubbles, you start noticing that the spit bubbles being blown by babies the same age are somehow better—maybe they’re more symmetrical, or the baby has ingeniously laced his spit bubbles with breast milk or crushed peaches to increase their stability.

And so you look disdainfully at your baby as he blows ordinary spit bubbles and want to say to him, “Son, it seems pretty clear that you can’t even blow a decent spit bubble. Look at how large Matthew’s spit bubble is compared to yours—and he can even crap his diaper while he’s doing it.”

When your child gets older, there’s a good chance he’ll be surrounded by kids who are considerably better than him. You might see this, but he doesn’t—that’s why it’s important to point out how superior some of his friends, classmates and total strangers are. [Read more...]

Rule #31: Ignore Your Child’s Crying

Ignore your kid's whining and she'll go away. Either by wandering off or by Child Services.

Ignore your kid's whining and she'll go away. Either by wandering off or by Child Services.

Like most normal parents, your goal in life is to minimize how much your children annoy you.

This isn’t always easy, because while your kids are miniature versions of you—and you can’t imagine not spending quality hours staring at a smaller, cuter you—there are plenty of times when it’s much more beneficial to simply ignore them.

You have a life. You have things to do, like playing the Lottery, watching fishing shows, and spending ridiculous sums of money on purses you can tote your maxed-out credit cards around in.

Early on, the so-called Ferber method taught you to let your baby “cry it out,” which essentially meant displaying to your child that they could count on you to bolt when things got dicey.

With this kind of groundwork in place, it’s important for your child to develop a feeling of unease and general palm-sweatiness—knowing that it’s never about him.

It’s about you. [Read more...]

Rule #30: Love Your Pets More Than Your Kids

At least grandma's got her priorities straight.

At least grandma's got her priorities straight.

You invest too much time and emotion into your children to be getting such a crappy return on investment.

No matter what their age, they disappoint and demoralize you without fail.

They may not pull this off all in one inglorious day, but just as sure as you’ll receive a stale Whitman Sampler for your birthday, it’ll happen until, bit by bit, their tiny failures will render your soul barren.

Your pet daschund, on the other hand, never lets you down.
[Read more...]

Rule #29: Confuse Your Teen About Sex

If they don't know what to do, they won't bother trying. Or they'll stop in the middle and get hit by a car.

If they don't know what to do, they won't bother trying. Or they'll stop in the middle and get hit by a car.

Sex and teenagers simply don’t mix, nor does honesty when it comes to you explaining the finer points of doing the deed.

No matter what you say—or how you say it—you’ll never get it right, and you’ll wind up sounding like a cross between Dr. Phil and the guy from the Sham-Wow infomercial.

That’s why it’s important to pass along sex-related information that’s simple and entirely untrue. [Read more...]

Rule #28: Practice Random Nudity

Some call it a plumber's crack. We call it a good start.

Some call it a plumber's crack. We call it a good start.

By the time your children turn 8, their worst fear is seeing you naked.

In fact, they would rather see you in prison than see your exposed, special parts—which could trigger night terrors that could last well into adulthood.

That’s a reasonable assumption, given the mottled flesh you tote around. But you’re extremely proud of and comfortable with your body, and there’s no good reason why the rest of the world—or at least your immediate family—shouldn’t relish it, too.

While you’re not all that relaxed sharing emotions with your children, you’re absolutely fine baring parts of yourself that should be covered by yards of heavy, plastic-lined fabric.

You learned in college that being indiscriminately nude, especially when you have no good reason to be, builds a kind of lazy confidence. That’s exactly what you want for your children. By seeing you naked, they’ll also learn that life is unpredictable, incredibly embarrassing, and forever yielding sights that are better left in the pages of National Geographic or the New England Journal of Medicine. [Read more...]

Rule #27: Bribe Your Children With Sugar

Worried about rotting those baby teeth? Come on—they’re just going to fall out anyway.

Worried about rotting those baby teeth? Come on—they’re just going to fall out anyway.

Most media outlets would have you believe that the vast majority of American children are either complete fatties or well on their way to being one.

They will tell you, of course, that the culprit is sugar. And they will insist that assorted confections foisted on kids by their submissive parents are to blame.

This is clearly nonsense.

This great country was founded on sugar (look it up)—and generations of parents have learned that sugar, if used effectively, can convince a child to do just about anything.

If you’re struggling to get your child’s attention, or if you need to sway him in any way, forget a firm hand—sugar as a source of bribery is like giving candy to a baby. (Which, by the way, we recommend as a way to develop salivary ducts before the age of 6 months.) [Read more...]

Rule #26: Take Your Kids to Bars

You've always been a bit of a dork. Having kids just emphasized it.

You've always been a bit of a dork. Having kids just emphasized it.

You’ve pretty much been labeled a social pariah ever since you decided to have children…at least that’s the way you see it.

You get fewer invites to happy hours and hardly receive any 2 a.m. drunk dials from reasonably attractive people—but perhaps the biggest change is that you simply don’t have the opportunity to get hammered and all crazy in a public setting any longer. (Well, unless you count the church parking lot on Sundays, and we’re not.)

But you are nothing if not incredibly resourceful, so it’s easy to shed a few years of parental lameness by making one simple decision (and please note, this will go down as the single-greatest decision you’ve ever made): Just take your kids with you to bars. [Read more...]

Rule #25: Be a Breastfeeding Superhero

This child is literally going blind. Why? His milk comes from a cup instead of a boob.

This child is literally going blind. Why? His milk comes from a cup instead of a boob.

You are blessed with vessels of milky love that give, unendingly, like Saudi oil fields.

You know this, of course, and you cannot understand why others aren’t as militantly into breastfeeding as you are. It has always been easy for you, and you’ve read all the literature about how it’s the right thing to do, so why don’t others follow you to the Milky Mountains?

You see their children, mouths agape with chubby faces from being force-fed baby formula and solid food, and you think it would be a better world—a perfect world—if you could lecture them about the glory and righteousness of breastfeeding. [Read more...]

Rule #24: Crush Your Child’s Dreams Early

Teach your child that when you try, you'll probably fail. And no matter what, you'll always look ridiculous.

Teach your child that when he tries, he'll probably fail. And no matter what, he'll always look ridiculous.

There was a time when good-natured people (parents, teachers, coaches, and the guy who tried to make you an Amway rep) told you that there was “nothing you couldn’t do if you set your mind to it and worked hard.”

You sort of believed them. But, after college, you also figured setting your mind to something and working hard didn’t sound nearly as appealing or interesting as bumming around Europe for a couple of years and not shaving things that usually need shaving. You returned home, shacked up with a person who would later steal your cat and the fez you bought in Amsterdam, and finally settled into a job that satisfied you about as much as licking stamps.

Your children share your slacker DNA, which means they’re prone to fits of general laziness and ambivalence during times of great opportunity, as well as when people are counting on them—so it’s important to let them know now that they probably won’t amount to much. [Read more...]

Rule #23: Use TV as a Babysitter

Your kid looks to you for wisdom and guidance. You tell him Suze Orman is on at 9.

Your kid looks to you for wisdom and guidance. You tell him Suze Orman is on at 9.

Parenting takes up way too much time, and sometimes you just need a proxy while you’re hiding in the kitchen pounding martinis.

As best we can tell, there’s not a better and more nurturing substitute for your stellar parenting than the almighty television.

That’s why it’s important to use TV every chance you get as a babysitter. The boob tube never fails to offer a warm glow when your children need a little love because you’re too tired, distracted, or hammered to provide it.
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Rule #22: Dress Like Your Teenage Daughter

We bet you’ll even get carded at the liquor see if you’re wanted for prostitution.

We bet you’ll even get carded at the liquor see if you’re wanted for prostitution.

You may have noticed that your teenage daughter is younger and inordinately hotter than you. Perhaps most important, you’ve noticed how much attention she gets from teenage boys and older, boldly leering men who should, in fact, be boldly leering at you.

Like almost every mother, you’re brimming with jealousy and envy. But you learned a long time ago that the proper outfit can make all the difference. And nothing says, “I Still Got the Goods” more than dressing like your teenage daughter. Yes, exactly like her.

She’ll appreciate the flattery (isn’t imitation the sincerest form?), and you’ll turn heads like never before as you announce to the world, “Hey, check me out. I’m so comfortable in my skin that I want to show you as much of it as possible—with a fashion sense that’s a cross between Miley Cyrus and the Pussycat Dolls, only with way more chafing.” [Read more...]

Rule #21: Throw Your Spouse Under the Bus

Play hooky with responsibility by throwing your spouse under the bus.

Play hooky with responsibility by throwing your spouse under the bus.

In the epic struggle to be adored and mindlessly worshipped by your children, there will be winners and losers. And because you’re not exactly the picture of emotional security, there’s no way you want to lose. Ever. You simply can’t fathom one or more of your children thinking you are undeserving of your “World’s Best Parent” coffee mug.

Which means that when anything goes awry—for example, a trip to Disneyland is suddenly canceled—it’s important to assign blame to your spouse. That’s right, the bus of parental legacy is moving quite fast, so toss your spouse under it with the deftness of a hit man. [Read more...]

Rule #20: Use God to Make Your Kids Paranoid

Kids not coming when you call them in for dinner? You know where to go for help.

Kids not coming when you call them in for dinner? You know where to go for help.

It’s easy to hit a brick wall when disciplining children. No matter what approach we take—whether it’s verbal coddling or threatening to take away important things like food and water—our words sometimes fall flat, and our children continue their rotten behavior.

Which is why you should threaten the use of the Almighty Hammer. That’s right, using God’s wrath as a threat to your children – especially in trivial situations – can be the extra ammo you need in your battle against your child’s general incompetence and lack of social graces. [Read more...]

Rule #19: Use Christmas to Show Your Children Which One You Love the Most

Why is he crying? Because he's your secondary child and he got the armpit-flavored candy cane.

Why is he crying? Because he's your secondary child and he got the armpit-flavored candy cane.

No other occasion gives you a better opportunity to evenly and fairly distribute praise and expensive gifts to your children than Christmas.

It’s a great concept, but hard to pull off.

The problem, of course, is that at least one of your kids is pretty much a loser—or smells like mold, has adopted sissy hobbies or resembles someone who couldn’t possibly be related to you.

Whatever the case, you resent this. And if you make this kid’s Christmas as special as the child in the house whom you love the most, you’ll only be cheating yourself. So it’s important to use the holidays to validate the greatness of the Chosen Child and confirm the shortcomings of your secondary children—no matter what their ages, as it will help them step up their game. [Read more...]

Rule #18: Harass Youth League Umpires

What are you, the Vienna Boys Choir? This is a youth league basketball game. Yell. Throw stuff.

What are you, the Vienna Boys' Choir? This is a youth league basketball game. Yell. Throw stuff.

Somewhere between getting cut from a beer-league softball team and drafting a high-stakes fantasy-football squad, you became a bitter douche bag about sports.

Check that. You became a bitter douche bag with a sports agenda. And that agenda usually entails letting most of the free world know that your prepubescent children are superstar athletes.

Anyone who doesn’t see the pure genius of your child’s athletic skills—especially volunteer referees and umpires—should be appropriately scolded. Publicly.

So, we suggest screaming, loudly and frequently, at youth league umpires. This proves to your children that you love and support them, and that you’re willing to make a braying jackass of yourself in public to fulfill all their athletic dreams.
[Read more...]

Rule #17: Scare Your Child Shitless About Germs

He may look innocent...but he's planning on wiping that somewhere.

He may look innocent...but he's planning on wiping that somewhere.

It seems one half of the world is busy picking at scabs and boils, and the other half of the world is digging inside its collective nostril.

This dance of disgust goes on every day among the Great Unwashed, whose members ride buses, attend schools, play soccer matches, and generally cling to the hope that they can infect your child with germs so twisted and toothy that scientists have yet to name them.

It’s a filthy world. You know this, but your child does not. That’s why it’s up to you to scare him shitless about germs, which, of course, can be lingering on anything from a festering handrail to Grandma’s puckered lips.
[Read more...]

Rule #16: Put Your Child on a Supermodel Diet

No one likes a chubby kid. Except for maybe Ronald McDonald. And no one likes him.

No one likes a chubby kid. Except for maybe Ronald McDonald.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of fat kids out there these days. And there’s nothing more embarrassing than being the parent of one. Sure, your kid keeps in decent enough shape, but if you’re really honest with yourself, you know your child is only a couple Twinkies away from appearing as a guest on an obesity-themed episode of Maury Povich.

But you’d rather be safe than have tubby children, because that would be a lousy reflection on you. This means you should put your child on a supermodel diet, because exercise, for what its worth, isn’t what your family is about—unless we’re talking races to the sprawling buffet at Ponderosa.
[Read more...]

Rule #15: Create Uncomfortable Thanksgiving Traditions

Let your children know what Thanksgiving is really about: Giving thanks that it only happens once a year.

Let your children know what Thanksgiving is really about: Giving thanks that it only happens once a year.

Thanksgiving is so much more than canned cranberry sauce, trousers with stretch waistbands, and poly-cotton sweaters displaying bronzed leaves and horses. Granted, these are holy and otherwise good. But the great American holiday is also about creating family traditions.

If your brood lacks holiday customs, now is the time to launch a few. As always, you’ll want to make sure that these traditions aren’t just random ways to make children feel good about themselves by providing a lifetime of glossy memories; instead, the traditions should teach some life lessons while passing along some of your core values.

Discomfort + Shame = Thanksgiving Cheer

It’s so easy to mimic your goody-two-shoes neighbor’s tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, playing family touch-football games, and gathering folks around the table to break bread and eat smoked turkey. But if every family has the same tradition, how can they possible feel special?

With that in mind, here are 5 suggestions to incorporate into your Thanksgiving routine this year: [Read more...]

Rule #14: Use Your Child’s Birthday to Flaunt Your Cash

Parents, it's YOUR party, and they'll cry if you want them to.

Parents, it's YOUR party, and they'll cry if you want them to.

Your child is astonishingly special. And because you’ve brought this child into the world, throwing a birthday party fit for anyone less than the Chosen One wouldn’t seem right. Even more important for you and your offspring’s ego is a party that absolutely squashes any celebration his friends might have.

Remember, this is less about making sure your child has a quality birthday than showing scores of other parents that you have the monetary and creative power to throw one hell of party—which makes their festive attempts look weak and puny by comparison (think Woodstock vs. a Baptism).
[Read more...]

Rule #13: Hit on Your Kid’s Teacher

The only proven method to improving your child's academic success is by hitting on his teacher. Swing away.

The only proven method to improving your child

Keep in mind that scholastic success starts at home – and with you. Your kid isn’t going to excel in school unless you get involved in his academic activities.

Sure, you could go over painfully pointless multiplication tables, forgettable history and verb conjugation, but who has the time or inclination for that kind of sacrifice? Besides, there are simpler and more direct methods to furthering his academic standing, like hitting on his teacher.
[Read more...]

Rule #12: Screw Tradition When Naming Your Baby

Get ready for people to marvel at your ingenuity if you give your kid a weird name.

Get ready for people to marvel at your ingenuity if you give your kid a weird name.

You need to make a bold statement with your newborn baby’s name. And that statement, down to its very essence, should be that you don’t care all that much about your child’s future prospects for friends, dating, college admission, or avoiding public humiliation in general.

Really, you just want to show how undeniably hip you are. And there is no greater testament to your hipness than branding your child with an unconventional name.

So forget about baby-name books, genealogical web sites, and family almanacs—these are the tools of your neighbors and friends who name their kids Joshua, Laura, Brandon, and Ashley. Yes, these are yawningly predictable.

This is not you.

You are creative. You are original. You are a trendsetter. Indeed, you possess the type of baby-naming attitude that will put your kid on the map, and so will these ideas: [Read more...]

Rule #11: Man-Boob Dads, Please Breastfeed Your Children

Close your eyes and you won't know the difference, except for maybe the hair.

Got man boobs? Got milk!

They have been your fleshy pontoons of shame since you gained a little weight in college. You’ve worn loose-fitting shirts to accommodate their wiggle and conceal their girth. You’ve avoided swimming pools, public beaches, and most situations where any bare-breasted move meant they’d wave at strangers like beauty-pageant contestants. They are like two guests who’ve taken up residence on your chest and won’t leave—ever.

Yes, we’re talking about your man boobs.

So, dads, why not put these guests to work and turn a double-booby negative into something singularly positive? That’s why you should give your lactating wife a break from time to time and breastfeed your children.
[Read more...]

Rule #10: A Happy Child is a Child on a Leash

a leashed child is a happy child

Leashing your child teaches tough concepts like "boundaries" and "humiliation."

There are many endearing similarities between your 4-year-old child and a basset hound. A quick comparison of child and dog will make this statement even more profoundly true:

They both are giddily slow-witted.

They both drool.

They both adorably invade the personal space of houseguests, making them queasy and uncomfortable.

And they both seem to relish the comforting aroma of their own filth and have a curiosity for the filth of others.

But all this cuteness has its limitation, because both tend to wander out of your sight in public. Which is why it’s important to have your children on colorful leashes from the time they’re old enough to walk. We live in a terribly scary world that brims with playgrounds, inviting oaks and maples to climb and, perhaps even more sinister, other unleashed children.
[Read more...]

Rule #9: Boost Your Crappy Self Esteem Through Your Children

Your kid gets a trophy - and you get a boring story to tell. Ahh, vicarious living.

Your kid gets a trophy - and you get a boring story to tell. Ahh, vicarious living.

Sure, you never played sports, and you regularly get stomach cramps just from walking in circles muttering to yourself. And sure, your understanding of sports is kind of hazy, especially when it comes to rules and, well, how to actually play anything without looking like a wounded chimp.

Which is exactly why you should prop up your child as the athletic prodigy that you believe he or she truly is. It’ll make you feel better, almost like you’re the one wearing the nice uniform or scoring the winning basket or goal yourself. This is vicarious athleticism, and it’s a great position to be in. Better yet, all this attention will make your children feel even more important and talented than they really are, boosting their ego beyond all reasonable levels.
[Read more...]

Rule #8: Bond With Your Kids Over Cigarettes and Alcohol

dad drinking while child cries

Booze and cigarettes makes bonding with children easy. (See above)

Every child wants to feel useful. And every parent wants to put his or her child’s fledgling motor skills to good use (and prove that there was, after all, a point to producing offspring). There’s no better place to match these objectives than by having your young children help you perpetuate and fully enjoy your vices. That’s why it’s important that you have them light your smokes and pour your beer.

Showing your child that he can make a difference at a young age is crucial to developing self-esteem and a sense of pride. And allowing your child to light your cigarettes and fetch your beer not only hastens this development, but it also starts your father-son (or mother-daughter) relationship on the right foot.

Think about it: you can simultaneously put your child to good use, build their self-esteem, strengthen your relationship, set a rock-solid example for your kids and still not miss a second of your nightly “Love Boat” reruns.
[Read more...]

Rule #7: Make Sure Your Kid is Obnoxious

kid showing off something

The only thing he's showing off is obnoxiousness.

A confident child is a wonderful child, which means you should frequently remind your offspring that they’re gifted, talented and more unique than average children—especially their friends and kids spawned from the Great Pool of Extremely Average who attend regular public schools.

Precocious offspring elicit joy wherever they roam. Everyone loves a child who is incredibly smart and shows it by reciting all he knows at every possible opportunity.
[Read more...]

Rule #6: Cut Your Child’s Hair at Home

cutting a child's hair is like shearing a goat

Why pay money for a haircut, when you can pay with your child's dignity?

Three factors play major roles in cutting your child’s hair at home:

1. As much as you’d hate to admit it, you don’t want your kid’s hair to be better looking than yours.

2. It’s a hassle to drive to Supercuts.

3. You’re feeling the effects of the economy. And you’re willing to sacrifice your child’s dignity for a few bucks.
[Read more...]

Rule #5: Make Up Stuff About History

make up history to kids

Make up history to kids. It's fun, and they'll believe you.

Since your child assumes you’re the conduit of legitimate information, he or she will never know if you make up stuff about history. You’ll look smart, sound smart, and gain respect no matter what the scenario.

When your child brings home an irritating assignment from one of the motivated teachers at his school, you may have to answer vexing gems like “Who wrote the United States Constitution?” But you don’t have to worry, you can sit back in your recliner and confidently tell him:

[Read more...]

Rule #4: Tell Your Child He Sucks

peed pants playing baseball

Peeing pants isn't a part of baseball. But for your kid? It is.

You feel it almost every day. It gnaws at you like a pet mouse with a tapeworm: Despite your best work as a parent, there are times—well, many times—when your child just sucks. They suck in school, sports, personal hygiene, posture, overall appearance, and even checkers. And nobody really sucks at checkers. Well, except your kid.

But you resist the temptation to say anything. It wouldn’t be right to point out the obvious. You’re a progressive parent, after all. Children have feelings. They care what you say. Hell, you care what you say.

But consider this time-honored maxim: Humility is underrated.

[Read more...]

Rule #3: Teach Toddlers the Proper Names of Private Body Parts

teaching anatomy to toddlers

Toddlers will delight guests and strangers with their vast knowledge of body part terminology.

Roughly around the time your child was a preening zygote, you and your spouse made a vow to be completely honest with him, no matter what the circumstances. And this honesty extends to enlightenment—especially when your child is young. Which is why teaching young children the proper names of private body parts is a wonderful way to spread truth, expand their vocabulary and impress your friends.

It shows how open and honest you are with your children when your 3-year-old daughter can point to an adult guest and say, “Mommy, I wonder how big her vagina is!”

[Read more...]

Rule #2: Take Young Children to Funeral Homes

creepy funeral home

Extremely creepy funeral home. Take your kid here.

Dead people and funeral homes get a bad rap. Neither are all that horrible, when you think about it. And introducing your child to both will positively influence their impressionable young minds.

In fact, we were so taken with this notion that we made a quick list of things dead people in funeral homes aren’t likely to do to bring anyone down:

[Read more...]

Rule #1: Get Wasted With Your Kids

Drinking With Your Kids is Cool

Last one to the bottom has to drive home.

Admit it. You want to be a teenager again. It’s not the loose-fitting clothing. It’s not the brazenly hip banter or the meaningful grunts that translate into intelligent conversation among peers. It’s not even the prospect of rolling naked in a field or in the backseat of a Malibu with a relative stranger.

No, it’s none of these things. You simply want to be cool again.

[Read more...]