This month a tiny bit of my terrible advice will appear in May’s issue of Redbook. I know. I don’t understand it either. My guess is that the editor is high. But it’s an excellent opportunity to pimp out my book and to make sure that people do understand the important things you can do for your children.
The article is called “The 50 Best Things You Can Do For Your Kids” and although I only needed to come up with one I ended up with 10 myself. Because it’s fairly easy to end up with unsolicited advice when you’re a mother. Or when you’ve been drinking. Or both.
- Write handwritten notes to your child. Both because it’s sweet and also because it gives them a good sample of your handwriting so that later they can fake your signature on report cards and bail bonds. But be aware that these notes could come back to bite you (in the form of evidence analyzed by a handwriting expert) after you’ve been caught for writing those ransom notes for all those cats you’ve been stealing, so I’d suggest just typing the cat ransom notes. This all basic Parenting 101 stuff.
- Go away by yourself every once in awhile. Refreshing yourself is one of the best things you can do for your child and for yourself. Unless you’re refreshing yourself in a crack house. Then you probably need to get some help. Just saying.
- Tell your child how you feel. I tell my daughter how much I love her every day. I also tell her where I’ve hidden the guns. Because she’s the most responsible one in the family and how else am I going to remember?
- Always put safety locks on your guns. See number 3.
- Always kiss them goodnight. Then come and wake them up to kiss them goodnight again when you have 3am insomnia. It’s a wonderful tradition that will remind your child how much you adore them. Also, it reminds them that you will probably catch them if they sneak out at midnight without you.
- Set up a college fund for your child. Even if it just has $20 dollars in it it will show your child that you have faith that they can go far. Plus, you can have the $20 if they don’t go to college. Congratulations. You now have a kid in college or $20. There’s no downside here.
- Show your children that girls can build bombs and rockets and boys can bake cakes and design evening gowns. Stereotypes suck and you want your children to do what their passion is because otherwise it’ll come out in some fucked up way and you’ll end up with evening gowns that explode when you put them on.
- Take your children to the circus. Magic and excitement is the stuff childhood is built on. Teach them to believe in pixies, and witches, and angels who get wings when bells ring. And if they’re bad, threaten to sell them to traveling fairies. That way, even your threats have whimsy.
- Trust your children. Invest time teaching them well so that you can trust that they’ll make the right decisions as they get older. And love them anyway (even when they make the wrong decisions) because that’s the way they learn. Also, LoJack their car, just in case they end up as serial killers. You can never be too careful.
- Let your child make mistakes. As a parent it’s hard not to step in when you see your child about to make a mistake, but it’s best way for them to learn. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell your child that the cat’s tail is not a purse strap, they aren’t going to listen until they learn it directly from the cat. Also, the cat will learn that small children are not to be trusted and that you should never turn your back on them. EVERYONE WINS AGAIN. Besides, if you don’t let kids make mistakes when they’re young they’ll wait until they’re old enough to be prosecuted as adults and then all your retirement money will go to bail. It’s far better (and more economic) to let them screw up while they’re still considered minors.
More from The Stir: Lesson 29: Teaching Your Children to Curse (VIDEO)