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5 Social Rules Parenthood Forces You to Break

#2. Never Interrupt

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As an Adult:

Everyone has that one acquaintance or co-worker who just doesn't know when to end an already boring story. They drone on and on about the most inane bullshit, and it just never ends. And they always have a story. You've known them long enough that you've actually developed a system to dodge them -- maybe a go-to excuse to leave the room, or you know when they take their break, so you time yours 10 minutes later than that.

But what you can't do is look them dead in the eyes and say, "You have to shut the fuck up. If I have to listen to even five more seconds of your IQ-puncturing drivel, the people who find your remains will assume that you were attacked by a tornado full of tractors."

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Oh, it's comin', bitch. Just keep on talkin'.

But to Your Children:

You are the last line of defense for the world -- we're begging you to use this power wisely. How you handle an annoying or overly talkative child will determine whether you gift the world with a normal, tolerable human or ... that guy.

Luckily, I've never met a parent (and maybe I've just been lucky) who didn't recognize when their kid was being an annoying sack of shit and just told them that point blank. It's really the only time I've seen that reaction be not only socially acceptable, but demanded by virtually everyone within earshot of the offending douchechild.

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"So that's why sometimes you just have to shut your big ol' stupid word hole."

My middle son loves Minecraft, but when he first got it, nobody else in the house played it. Every time one of us turned around, there he was, desperately trying to explain some facet of the game that none of us had the ability to comprehend. To us, he was just saying a random collection of words, and every time he found something new, that string of words got longer and longer, until I finally had to tell him, "No one has even the most remote idea what you're talking about because we don't play the game. That's great that you want to share it with us, but it's just one of those things that none of us care about. You're just going to have to accept that this is your thing and we want no part of this one." And then I punched him in the face, because that's what I call my "Learnin' Stamp."

#1. Never Talk About Money

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As an Adult:

This is the number one rule at pretty much every workplace in the free world. You never, ever discuss what you make, because if it's more than your co-workers, they'll get pissed, and the peasants shall revolt. Jealousy springs up. People start storming into the boss's office, demanding a raise. Everyone compares their work to yours, and every single one of them will swear that they're 10 times the worker that you are. Others feel inadequate and unappreciated. Morale just goes to hell -- I've seen it happen more times than I care to remember.

But it doesn't begin and end with pay scales. People don't want to hear how much you paid for your car or your house because it makes you sound like a braggart. They don't want to talk about bills -- hell, their own bills are stressful enough. Why would they want to talk about yours? It's pretty much universally accepted that if what you're about to say has a dollar sign somewhere in there, you can just bend right on over and fuck yourself.

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"I had a whole box of these custom made just for you. It cost $4."

But to Your Children:

Have you ever wondered why we do the Santa Claus thing, where we pretend the Christmas gifts are from some supernatural home invader rather than from Mom and Dad's paychecks? I'm convinced that half of it is due to parents not wanting to have "that" conversation with their kids, because it would be considered rude, or cynical ("Look, we have $200 to spend this year on you guys, so if you get that bicycle, that only leaves us enough to get your sister a Ziploc bag of sauce packets we stole from Taco Bell").

Because most of the parents I know take that attitude year-round -- kids are given no concept of what Mom and Dad make, or of how good or bad the money situation is, aside from a series of vague complaints Dad mumbles when he's going through the bills. When disaster strikes, all they know is "We had to cancel vacation this year, and Dad is missing a kidney." And when they grow up, they have no way to know what lifestyle any particular income will provide them. They have nothing to compare it to. That's why so many kids screw themselves with debt right out of college -- they're trying to get a home like the one they grew up in, not realizing that they're only making half of what their parents did.

My parents were like that, although I think it was because they actively hated money, therefore refusing to keep any of it in their possession. For other parents I know, it was because their parents brought them up with the "never speak this demon's name, lest it scorch the earth with its vengeful wrath" financial philosophy. And in all of our cases, we had to learn how to budget, save, spend, and manage all on our own from scratch. Yes, some of the consumer education classes from school helped, but that's a pretty fucking piss-poor replacement for seeing an actual budget in action. Yes, generic canned corn is 10 cents cheaper than the name brand. Thanks, high school.

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"Look, I'm doing economics!"

So where my kids are concerned, I'm transparent with what I make and what I spend, because it helps them know what money is and why it's so valuable. A shocking amount of people aren't -- even in the examples I mentioned above, where as adults the parents realize how hard their ignorance about money has made their lives, they still don't want to talk about it to their kids. It's just so ingrained that it's not a subject of polite conversation.

Personally, I don't want to add another annoying, financially ignorant, stankass shithead to the adult world -- we already have enough of those. So I'm talking to my kids with that socially polite bullshit stripped right down to its naked, boner-sporting truth. The way I see it, they might as well look at its shriveled, misshapen balls now, because it's going to flash them sooner or later anyway.



John is a columnist right here at Cracked. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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