While most of us keep the bong far away from our baby, don't purchase alcohol for our teenager's after parties, and never rob a bank and force our newly licensed 16-year-old to drive the getaway car, we may be breaking plenty of other laws in front of our dependents.
Rather than invoking the age-old (and ineffective) "Do as I say, and not as I do," clause, perhaps it's time for an inventory of those bad habits, even illegal ones, that we are passing down to our kids.
You don't do any of these? Well, goodie for you. (No, seriously. That's awesome. Keep up the good work.) Read on to see if you need to shape up.
Texting While Driving
It may only be illegal in 30 states, but texting while driving should be banned in every state that has roads, and people who drive. Regardless, a parent texting while driving is one of the biggest indicators that a teen will do the same thing. Save some lives, and some fines, and just don't do it.
As a former New Yorker, I jaywalked about 50 times a day. Now that I'm in LA, where they actually ticket jaywalkers, I've learned to curb the urge to cut corners. Additionally, I'm setting the example for my own little pedestrians. Unlike their father (harumph).
Downloading music or movies from the Internet is a crime, and some people have actually gotten into a lot of trouble for doing so. You may think it's just "one song" but by not paying for that one song you're not only ripping it off from the artist who worked hard at creating a song that you want so badly you'll steal it -- you're teaching your kids that it's okay to steal and undervalue people's work.
Hiring Illegal Workers
A touchy one, the main crime here is against the IRS. Using undocumented or illegal workers means no one is paying taxes. I'll buy the argument of helping out someone who came to this country to improve his or her life -- but it's still a crime. Even if your child has no idea what's happening with the gardener, he will some day (as will everyone else if you decide to run for office).
Snacking While Shopping
I'm not talking about those amazing free samples that pop up on the weekends, I'm talking about letting your child eat a piece of fruit before you get to the checkout stand. Or grabbing a few grapes and popping them into your mouth before they hit the scale. I also have had to open a bag of bunny crackers before I paid for it, but I at least had the bag available to scan so I paid full price. Anything less is stealing, even if it's unlikely you'll get cuffed for shoplifting.
We've all scooched over the speed limit, made a premature right on red, or an illegal u-turn. While you may not think this is hurting anyone -- it could be hurting your child when he goes to take the driver's test. Also, it is more likely you'll cause an accident when not following the rules of the road. Yes, I sound like your mother.
Hunting & Fishing Out of Season
A lot of these laws are put in place to protect the eco-balance, breeding season or to simply alert the neighbors that shots will be fired around Thanksgiving -- so keep the kids indoors. Jumping those laws to get ahead of the game is not only slimy, it's illegal and immoral. Especially if the result is a motherless baby because you took Bambi's mom away too soon. Try explaining that one to the kids.
Do you break the law in front of your kids?
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