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.

It’s Like Hunting, But More Exciting Because of the Cancer Risk

People who use guns to shoot things—deer, waterfowl, stop signs—have always taught children the correct way to operate weapons. Safety is the watchword, which makes the sport fun for everyone. The same mindset applies when allowing your child to light your Camel or pop and pour a Budweiser. If the safety training is done right, the rewards for both you and your child are unlimited.

Our safety guidelines below assume that any 5-year-old child with a reasonably firm grip can use a lighter or a bottle opener. We’ve even seen some technically advanced children in Appalachia roll their parents’ homemade cigarettes (fine-motor skills really pay off here) and, for a few intrepid and big-boned kids, tap beer kegs. Granted, these were pony kegs, but we were still impressed. Bottom line: Don’t underestimate what your children can accomplish, remind them that, if they put their minds to it, there’s nothing in this world they can’t do.

6 Safety-Training Guidelines

Opening the Cancer Sticks. Although some old-school parents allow kids to open the plastic wrap on cigarettes with expensive steak knives or razor blade, we frown on this practice as being slightly to somewhat dangerous to children under the age of 5. Instead, we recommend that children open each pack with their teeth—a fulfilling way to grind out frustration and develop baby incisors.

girl smoking cigarette

Allow your child to puff your cigarettes. The Surgeon General recommends no more than three drags a day.

Getting a Nicotine Fix. Children should never inhale unfiltered cigarettes. However, filtered cigarettes, especially menthol, are fine—just keep it to three drags a day, according to senior health officials in several Third World and former Eastern Bloc countries (these authorities also note that a child’s growth is stunted only slightly).

Lighting Up the Night. Young children should steer clear of messy and dangerous matches; instead, they should use lighters to ignite your smokes. (Lighters should be scattered throughout the house for easy access, including under bedroom pillows, in toy closets, and perhaps even used as bookmarks in your child’s favorite books.)

Handing Over the Goods. Children should hand you a lit smoke in one fluid motion—the cigarette should be pinched between their thumb and forefinger—with the filter toward you, much like a runner would pass along a baton in a relay race.

Getting Their Pour On. It’s important to teach children to pour responsibly—your child should never allow the edge of a beer bottle or can to stray from the mouth of a glass and spill onto the floor, causing him to slip, lose his grip on the glass, and tragically waste a beverage.

kid finishing a glass of guinness, my goodness

Tell your children early that people who bogart beer are people without friends.

Over-Sipping Is a No-No. “Bogarting” a beer (the act of nursing another’s brew far too long) is something that should be stamped out and discouraged at an early age. Set clear guidelines for children after they’ve poured your beer into a glass: They may take two small sips and no more. It may seem unfair, but you’re doing your child a favor: Bogarting later in life leads to lost friendships and a feeling of barroom abandonment.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

justin November 3, 2008 at 2:12 pm

these photos are hilarious


Rachel November 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

what channel is the Love Boat on??? and why is it called Bogarting?


Humphrey Bogart November 3, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Ever heard the song “don’t bogart that joint, my friend??”

Apparently someone holding the joint too long looked like me (Humphrey Bogart) when they kept it on their lip. Don’t bogart. Just pass it.



edie January 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

using a lighter as a bookmark, brilliant


Lindsey January 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I just started reading your blog, and I have to say it’s hilarious.
This rule made me comment because it’s actually what my parents did to me when I was little. I’ve been a bartender since the age of 5, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. Boys appreciate when I notice their beer is getting low and instantly grab another one for them. If anything, I’ve got the advantage over other girls my age.
I can’t wait to have kids of my own to act out on all of this parenting advice!


Lucy M June 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

From the time I was about 12 onwards, my parents let me take one sip of their wine / whatever they were drinking when I asked. I always spit it out directly afterward, and they then proceeded to laugh at the face I had made while shoving water at me. Because that’s how my parents are, apparently. Although I STILL don’t like alcohol much, at 21, so. Who knows.


Bett September 10, 2010 at 4:32 pm

LOL! I grew up in the ’60s when it was totally acceptable for me (starting around age 4 or 5) to light my dad’s cigars, finish his beers, and mix my mom’s old fashioneds. Heck, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that if mom was being particularly irritable that day it was easy to fix. I just doubled up on the Jack Daniels. Talk about learning coping skills . . .


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