My 5-year-old has been a tad difficult lately. And by a tad, I mean HUGELY INSANELY HORRIBLY difficult. It must be a phase (dear God, please let it be a phase), and I am counting down the seconds until he reverts back to the easygoing boy I knew. 

In the meantime, I'm tightening the reins, doling out the punishments, and teaching him who's boss. But you know what sucks about that? The fact that I can't punish him these days without feeling like I'm the one getting punished.

Here are the top five punishments he hates most ...

1. Cancelling a playdate: Not only do I look like a dick to the other parent, but I need to deal with an annoying child complaining of nothing to do all afternoon and have to entertain him while he could have been someone else's problem for the day.

2. Not attending a birthday party: Again, I look like an asshole backing out at the last minute, I’m already out the gift, plus I have to make lunch. Definitely not a win.

3. Going to bed early: So I need to listen to him screaming and whining for hours? That makes for a relaxing night.

4. Taking away video games: The only time I know that I can shower without an audience, conduct a work call, or cook dinner alone is when he is peacefully using a Wii or iPad. Why on earth would I want to live without them?

5. Taking away TV time: TV is the only reliable and free babysitter I have. You think I'm giving that up? No way.

See? There's simply no punishment that gets to him without making me suffer even more. As he likes to say: It's not fair!