Top tips for parents from a wise man

A bearded wise man, yesterday

These are my practical tips for parenting in the real world. If you have the time to lovingly hand grind organic spelt to make your own flour for home made bread, this isn’t the list for you and if you’ve just introduced young jonquil to his third language at the age of 4, get thee behind me Satan.

  1. You can tell if your child is seriously injured in one easy step: offer them a sweet and if they stop making a terrible fuss and ask for the sweetie they were just making a terrible fuss in the first place for the sake of it. If they carry on making a fuss you’re in for the duration and it could be serious but at least you have sweets.
  2. Chose your fights. If your boy can technically dress himself, don’t re-inact the Battle of Trafalgar in his bedroom every morning just to get him to dress himself for school. He’s a boy, we’re idle, get used to it.
  3. If they don’t eat their dinner, they don’t eat their dinner. Do not offer them 3 different alternatives or they will pursue the course of action commonly known as “getting you at it“. No child will starve to death after not eating one dinner they’ve temper tantrumed over because it wasn’t the 14th consecutive meal constituted mainly from beans of the baked variety.
  4. Make sure you have time for idly loafing and/or arsing about with the kids. It’s too easy to organise activities when half the time pissing about with the large cardboard box that the vacuum cleaner was delivered in is the best fun ever. Even if it solely involves hitting the box with large sticks whilst shouting “Light Sabre!!”
  5. Mutually babysit for friends so you can go out together is an awesomely good thing. You’ll probably end up talking about the kids anyway but at least they wont be hanging off of you screaming for attention whilst giving you acid indigestion and you can talk frankly about how much they wind you up at times. If you have no friends with similar aged kids, try other friends and find out their Achilles heel (chocolate, wine, English Oak hotdogs, whatever) and mercilessly exploit it. Your sanity requires this.
  6. There is no tactful way to tell your parents or your inlaws* that their ideas on parenting are so disturbing that you feel lucky to have made it out of the cradle and if they attempt any of them on your pride and joy you’ll excommunicate them forever**. 
  7. If you have to rely on lists written by self proclaimed wise men on the internet, you’re probably doomed to failure anyway so pour yourself a large glass of wine, put CBeebies on and try to make the best of it.
There you have it. 7 points, and not because the number 7 is particularly holy in Judaism either. I’m not Jewish but share their affinity for certain types of fish you know.
*generally of course. My parents and inlaws are the obvious exception to the rule. Honest
**research and improved understanding of things alter over time, meaning proscribed advice like laying a baby on its tummy so if it vomits at night it doesn’t choke to death (1970’s teaching) have now been superseded by stuff like cot death prevention about putting babies on their back.