Parenting is hard. There is no class, no test; you just do what comes naturally and nine months later someone hands you a kid and expects you to figure it out. Fortunately, there are lots of people out there with experience raising their children safely, happily, and turning them into functioning adults.
These tips are not from those people.
#7. Put Your Kid On The Naughty Mat If They Are Acting Up In A Restaurant
For people who don't have children, there are few things in life more annoying than going out to dinner with a hot date after a tough week at work, and, just as you are about to bring up the really weird sex stuff you are into, hearing some kid start screaming in the background. Come on, PARENTS, can't you control your offspring in public?
Well, the non-magical Mary Poppins, aka the British reality star Supernanny, thinks you can. And it involves something called the Naughty Mat.
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Well, fuck you too, mat.
The idea is simple. At home parents might punish their child for bad behavior by putting them on the Naughty Step. It's basically just a designated place for a timeout so the kid knows he or she is in trouble and can calm down. The Naughty Mat is a way of making that threat portable. You go somewhere, your child starts acting up, you unroll the Naughty Mat, and they have to stay on it until you say otherwise.
There are so many problems with this idea. We don't know what kind of giant, cavernous cafeterias the creators of this tip are used to eating in, but most restaurants tend to use up all their space. If you aren't close enough to hear the woman next to you asking for a divorce, that place is losing money.
You can do better, Ted.
To be fair, they do say you should "find a quiet corner" to put the mat down in. But what if your table isn't near a corner? Do you just strand your kid near some other patrons and hope no one will think that's weird? Sure, you have "explained clearly" to your spawn why they have to stay on the Naughty Mat, but how about explaining this bizarre behavior to the rest of the people in the restaurant. While the site says that you shouldn't "feel embarrassed" because "other people will be grateful you're not allowing bad behavior to continue in public," they don't mention how everyone will feel about having an abandoned child stand really still and stare at them for a few minutes.
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This is how Village Of The Damned children are made.
#6. Embarrass Kids By Making Them Run Laps In The Grocery Store
It can be hard raising (or being) a kid with ADHD. Fortunately, we live in a time where there is help for this condition, through counseling, behavioral therapies, and/or medication. Or you could just make your hyperactive child run around like a crazy person in public until they get tired.
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Focus On The Family's website recommends ordering your overactive kid to run laps when they start acting up, even if you are in a grocery store. We feel we should note at this point that Focus On The Family is anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-divorce, anti-gambling, anti-pornography, and anti-pre-marital sex, but clearly pro-anarchy in the frozen aisle.
Let's say you are a parent who is mostly sane and realizes that having hyperactive children run around an enclosed public space isn't the greatest idea in the world. Don't worry; you can still make them do less obtrusive physical exercise like jumping jacks or pushups. Now you don't have to worry about them careening into anyone, but other shoppers will wonder how obsessively determined you must be to eventually get your 6-year-old onto the varsity football team if you won't let him stop training for even a minute.
"All your father's failed dreams hang on this moment. No pressure."
And before you start thinking that, actually, getting excess energy out of a kid through exercise isn't a bad idea, you should know: Focus On The Family does intend this to be a punishment, not a productive method of dealing with a big issue. They note that whatever you assign, it should be "sufficiently unpleasant." And that is something their group knows a lot about.
#5. Make Your Kid Live In The Dark
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OK, so maybe that last one hasn't convinced you that Focus On The Family's "effective biblical discipline" is crazy enough. Don't worry, there's more.
Most kids don't like cleaning their rooms. After all, what is the point when they live in one of FOTF's ideal "traditional gender role" families where they have a mom to do that shit for them. But sometimes you have to put your foot down and make them tidy up their space. And if they don't, you just take away from them the one thing humanity has taken for granted since we first discovered fire: light.
You'll notice that their cave is clean.
This tip involves telling your child, "I cannot bear to look at this room anymore -- it's too messy! I'm going to turn off the circuit breaker so I can't see it." This leads to so many questions. First of all, what if they are cleaning their room during the day? Unless it is January and you live in Finland, that isn't going to be very effective. Also, most importantly, HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO CLEAN IN THE DARK? Did you give them a flashlight? Or will you just stand outside their door and laugh as you hear them step on a LEGO for the 15th time?
Tiny blocks of Satan.
Obviously, you could also run into problems by turning off the circuit breakers, namely, that you might also turn off power to parts of the house you need to use. In that case, FOTF has another tip for plunging your children into eternal darkness. This one is particularly meant for children who insist on staying up past "lights out." They can't keep their light on if you unscrew the light bulb. We assume by "unscrew" they mean to actually take it away, because even young kids probably have the hang of righty tighty, lefty loosey, even if they did get most of their education out of this book.
#4. Destroy The Concept Of Personal Boundaries
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How many times during your childhood did you do something in your room that you didn't want your parents to see? And no, we're not talking about masturbation or building meth labs, just innocent kid stuff that was private. Things like writing in your secret diary, eating an extra snack, and, yes, fine, masturbating.
It's not a surprise that people who were rascals as kids grow up to be adults that want their own kids to quit the selfsame rascalry, because it's 11:48 p.m. on a Monday night, and I swear to God I will crucify everybody in sight if you don't explain why you're riding your bicycles on the carpet. But on the flip side, you need to allow your tots to be tiny little deviant drug lords for a spell if you want them to turn into normal adults.
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Their parents can never forget what they have seen.
Or you could follow this advice on iMom, and when you find your kid doing something naughty you could just take their bedroom door off its fucking hinges.
That's right; apparently, the best way to stop your kid from doing something bad behind closed doors is to literally take that door away from them. Now they get the joy of as much privacy as a prison cell, where anyone walking by can see them reading, changing clothes, or going to the bathroom (if you are that kind of family).