Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lesson 11: Coca-Cola is not bad for your children

That's right - it doesn't rot their teeth, it doesn't contain tons of sugar, and it makes an excellent bedtime drink. How could something with such cute adverts (have you seen the one with the little people inside the Coke machine?) be bad?

Lesson 10: Playboy is just another brand

Allowing your young daughter to wear Playboy-branded clothes (a bikini, perhaps, while she's soaking up some cancer rays in Spain in September) is not encouraging the objectification of women. And what harm can a pencil-case do? It might as well be Hello Kitty.

Lesson 9: school is not as important as cheap holidays

There's nothing wrong with taking your teenagers out of school for a couple of weeks when they're studying for their GCSEs if it's cheaper than going during the school holidays. The Costa del Sol waits for no man.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lesson 8: the Naughty Step is for fascists

It's practically corporal punishment. You wouldn't take a belt to your child, would you? So how can you sanction the isolation-torture of the Naughty Step? Just keep on blackmailing your child with promises of sweets and treats for good behaviour. He won't grow up spoilt. Or obese.

Lesson 7: your noisy children are entitled to sit in the train's designated "Quiet Coach"

Because the "Quiet Zone" is to avoid all those pesky people with obnoxious ringtones who get calls every five minutes, and people who like to turn their MP3 players up ridiculously loud, despite their tinny earphones. Or even youths who insist on playing poor-quality MP3s out loud on their phones. It doesn't mean the coach is meant to be generally quiet. Just ignore those angry-looking people who keep glaring at in your direction. Nobody expects you to keep your kids quiet - that would be completely unreasonable. If they have a problem, they can always move to another carriage.

Lesson 6: anime is just cartoons from the foreign

Anime is never aimed at grown-ups. It's a cartoon - how can it be? It's just in a foreign language. It'll probably help your little precious develop precocious language skills. And, of course, watching cartoon violence isn't damaging to your children - never mind whether it's Tom & Jerry or a samurai fight complete with blood-spattering. Therefore, it is fine to let your children watch Cartoon Network at 10pm.

Lesson 5: all musicals are suitable for children

That's right. Musicals never contain adult themes, violence, bad language or scenes of a sexual nature. Musicals are good, wholesome family fun. They are universal - suitable for all. If an usher tries to suggest otherwise - say, for example, that Cabaret isn't really suitable for under 15s, and you probably don't want to take little Tarquin to see it - he or she is WRONG.

Lesson 4: health clubs are not too exclusive for your children

Contrary to what they may believe, people do pay extortionate monthly fees for the membership of a private health club to enjoy changing rooms full of children - screaming, running around, staring at their boobs as they change into their sports bras. They neither resent you nor feel uncomfortable, and neither should you. They're definitely not thinking you ought to piss off down to the local leisure centre with your brats.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lesson 3: if you must acknowledge your child in public, shouting is the best way to make them listen

Picture the scene: a hapless toddler being dragged round the shopping centre by its (probably) credit-card happy mother (I expect she could save money by consolidating her debts), wailing about not being allowed to chew things in the toy shop or some such. Mother’s reaction: “QUIET!” Yes, shouting words in your child’s face is the most effective and swift method of calming them down.

Lesson 2: ignoring your children is the best way to punish bad behaviour

Or at least nobody else will realise you’re to blame. Maintain a lofty aloofness at all times, especially on public transport. Your children will learn from their mistakes, probably when an irate member of the public gets fed up of being kicked by the child climbing on the seat next to him or her, and decides to administer some vigilante discipline. Voila! Your child will learn some manners, and you don’t have to be the bad guy. Note – taking along a newspaper to read (preferably broadsheet for blanket coverage) will help you maintain disinterest.

Lesson 1: never, under any circumstances, fold up your pushchair

In fact, don’t even get one that folds up – make sure it’s a four-wheel-drive Humvee of a pram with reinforced aluminium and go-faster stripes. That’ll make sure those pesky bus drivers can’t make you fold it up, although, on the rare occasion, it could mean you get stranded at the bus stop. This is the exception, though. Most of the time, bus drivers will be happy to let you block off all exits to the bus, so don’t worry yourself unduly about that. Final note – you never know when your buggy will need to do some serious off-roading. Pavements these days can be treacherous.