Last week, after I laid out why I agree with Target’s new non-gender assignation policy, a handful of people on social media praised me, called me a great dad, and said they wished more people would raise their kids like I’m raising mine.
AWKWARD. I’ve never committed credit fraud, but when I get praise for being a good parent, that’s what it feels like.
I prefer when people call me an asshole and a terrible father. Because, as my regular readers know (thanks, regular readers!), that’s a lot closer to the truth.
When it comes to getting your kids to do something they don’t want to do, there are basically three tactics you can employ: bribery, threats, and just giving up and doing it for them.
Doing it for them is obviously not the way to go. Detective Munch is lazy enough as it is; if I were to start waiting on him hand and foot (or waiting on him even more, which I guess would make it waiting on him hands and feet? COMEDY GOLD!), he’d probably end up with bed sores.
As most parents already know, bribery is a double-edged sword. It works, but you’re gonna pay for it down the line when the kid refuses to get out of bed without the promise of a new toy or some TV time, and eventually you’re buying him a new car just to get him to go to college.
Which leaves us with threats.
I don’t know you. And I don’t know your kids.
I have no idea what they’re like, how they act in public, at restaurants, in movie theaters. I don’t know if they have good manners, if they curse, if they listen to you more than they don’t, if they eat their dinners without argument and clean their rooms when asked.
I’ve never met you and probably never will. I couldn’t pick you out in a lineup. (I hope you’re not in any line-ups.) I don’t know if you’re quick to yell, or if you’re lazy, or if you’re neglectful.
But that doesn’t matter. I know you’re a good parent.
Last week, a friend of mine wrote a nice little post about a subject that’s dear to my heart. The bulk of the post was about the nonsense of “phases,” which I’ve discussed myself, but Dave (check out his blog: Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad) had me at the title: It’s Not Just a Phase. Kids are Assholes. They sure are!
Unfortunately, despite our affinity for insulting our children, I have to take issue with one thing he said in his piece. I quote: “‘Because I said so’ is the phrase of a lazy parent…”
Ahem. I know lazy parents. Lazy parents are friends of mine (not you, Brendan!). I am a lazy parent.
“Because I said so” is not lazy parenting. Not all the time.
When you’re a parent, you take on a lot of roles.
You’re still the person you were before you were a parent (to varying degrees), but now you’re also the person your kid knows as Mommy or Daddy. And then you’re the million different things your kid needs you to be over the course of the day.
If this were a resume it would 30 pages long.