The Age-old question is finally answered.
There is one rule to good parenting. Memorize it. You will need it numerous times over your children’s lifetimes.
You may find that it is particularly handy concerning interactions between your children and the public, especially embarrassing ones. For example, you can chant this principle to yourself as you take the normally short walk from your friend’s house back to yours. Repeat it as you fake smile and wave to your neighbors, who all seem to be out working in their yards on this beautiful Wednesday afternoon. Reiterate it between clenched teeth as your 3-year-old, riding his bike next to you, is hysterically crying and screaming, “I don’t like you! I’m scared!” the entire way home.
Or perhaps you are at a party, happily enjoying a rare moment talking to other adults, when you start to hear out of the corner of your ear, “Look, O is taking his clothes off, he is getting naked in the back yard!” You turn in horror as the whole party watches your child relieve himself on your friend’s lawn. Later, after the clean up, you may remember that you were too busy chatting to listen when he walked by you and said, “doo doo grass.” What would ever possess him to do that? You know you never would have done such a thing as a child. Is this some latent nature-boy gene passed on from your spouse?
To answer this and a myriad of other parenting questions you just need to know one rule: All good behavior exhibited by your child is due to your brilliant and suave parenting skills, and all negative behavior is a direct result of your child’s genetic makeup (from your in-laws) and therefore cannot be changed by any means.
The reciprocal is true for every other person’s children. Any good behavior displayed by their children is luck of the draw from their genetic cesspool, and all negative behavior is directly caused by their blatantly poor parenting skills.
This guideline can be used for both parents that you feel a little intimidated by (because they seem smarter and more successful than you) and also for parents to whom you feel superior (because you are smarter and more successful).
First of all, it should be noted that you never encounter the former because success must always be defined in a way that makes you more successful than to whomever you are comparing yourself. If, for example, you happen to be in the company of some people who make more money than you, then it is important to define success in terms of how much love you have in your life. Look, you have a beautiful wife and wonderful kids. They love you. Your life is filled, not with material things, but with love, and love is what makes the world go round. And, by the way, you choose to live in a tiny house because it leaves a smaller carbon footprint, and you are a friend to Mother Earth.
If, on the other hand, you find yourself in the company of some lovebirds who make you sick with their affections, you must remind yourself that you make more money than them, and well, love won’t feed your kids, now will it? Not that love and are mutually exclusive … but they are. (Except for you.)
Now that you are confident that you are more successful than everyone, you might fret that you are not as smart, but you just need to remind yourself that you are street smart, and that’s the one that really counts.
It may happen, rarely, that you encounter someone who is both really smart and really successful. And with all your might you can’t convince yourself otherwise. It is then important to remember that one really can be too smart for their own good, and this person is obviously over-thinking their parenting and therefore they must really be screwing their kids up. (They might look OK for now … but just wait.)
Look at you! You are smart and successful, and what beautiful kids you have! They must have picked up their good looks from your side of the family. In fact, just today, when you were admiring your son you thought, “I’ve never seen someone wear a weak chin so well.” You should be proud.
So relax, you know the key to good parenting, and you are doing the best job that can be done. And even though you might have noticed that your youngest son is showing signs becoming a kleptomaniac, what can be done? It must be genetic.
Actually, now that you think about it, your mother-in-law’s Aunt Ginny was one, too.