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.