New parents, you need more tips. Especially from some random person on the internet.

I’m here to oblige.

Top Ten Tips for New Parents

These ten methods guarantee you perfect kids, a happy family, and a wonderful life.

1. “The¬†Disappointed¬†Look.”¬†

This is useful for when you need to pack your kid’s matching luggage sets and take them on a guilt trip. It only works for the most sensitive of souls though.

Actually, it doesn’t really work at all, but we still use it frequently.

You can partner it with a long, drawn out sigh. Maybe squeeze out a few tears if you can, but don’t try too hard.

Kids can smell manipulation, just like they can smell fear.

The only child of mine that The Disappointed Look works on is my Middler.

Sometimes I shake my head sorrowfully to go along with it.

She immediately starts yelling, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t really eat my green beans – look! I’m eating them now! I’m SORRY!” ~ her, at age seven.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I said I would call when I got home safe and I forgot, but I’m calling now! I said I’m sorry!” ~her, at age 18.

2. “The Furry Hand of Discipline.”

This was a misnomer. I think once my husband gently tried to explain to his little angels the term, the ‘firm hand of discipline.’

It didn’t go over well since they burst out laughing and shouted, “The furry hand! Not the furry hand! Aaagh!”  

To this day, we still call it the furry hand of discipline, and we picture it like Grover’s blue hand coming out of the blue to strike fear and obedience into the hearts of little sinners everywhere.

Unless your kid has a fear of blue muppets though, this probably isn’t the most effective threat.

Which leads me to my next technique:

3. “The Idle Threat.”

This technique is as old as time. Eve probably used it on Cain and Abel, and look how – um, never mind.

Bad example.

But we can’t seem to stop ourselves as parents with this one. We know we have to NOT let little Sue slide with whatever naughtiness she is currently involved in, but we really don’t feel like full-on parenting at the moment.

So we idly say something like, 

Stop these shenanigans immediately or I will cancel Christmas!

Sometimes it’s not that scary or over the top. Sometimes it’s something like,

Stop these shenanigans immediately or I will come in there, so help me, God!

Either way, we’re lying and we’re not canceling anything or getting off the couch. We learned this technique back in the ’80s when Dad would shout into the back seat of the station wagon,

Knock it off and don’t make me stop this car!

Only he wasn’t kidding around.

4. “Talking Them Half to Death” or “Preaching.”

This is especially effective with teenagers. They will do anything, ANYTHING, to get you to stop preaching.

Even delete bad songs off their Ipods. Even if Lil’ Wayne is the only one who understands them.

The words “family meeting in the living room” should make their black little hearts skip a beat if only in fear of the next three hours of Daddy monologuing.

5. “Tough Love.”

Because, are you even a real mom if you haven’t shouted across the house, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it?!!?”

One of my fondest memories of being tough was telling my children if they got up, they can get down.

This applies to McDonald’s playland, the park structure, and trees.

I refuse to be the mom who gets stuck at the top of the swirly slide like Pooh Bear and the honey pot.

If that means my now grown daughter needs therapy because of the repressed memories she has of me calmly telling the eight year old stranger behind her at the top of the slide to “just give her a push, she’s fine,” then so be it.

6. “Encourage a love of nature.”

Example: when they get to squabbling or they have attached themselves to your personal self like a burr or a barnacle, lock them outside for a minimum of two hours.

I learned this one from my own mama, who had a tendency to not let us kids in the house during daylight hours… at all.

7. “Cut their hair for them.”

With a weed whacker.

It builds character.

And makes great photos for their wedding slideshow.

Read: Have You Done Enough? Parenting This Side of Heave

8. “Tell every child they are your favorite.”

And then remind them it’s a women’s prerogative to change her mind.

Suspicion and mild paranoia keeps them on their toes.

9. “Pick which mountain you want to die on.”

Sure, you were the best parent ever until you actually had kids. Weren’t we all?

Once you’ve been a parent for longer than ten minutes however you will know to pick your battles wisely. You will have plenty without inventing some more to ruin your day.

So if you secretly think breakfast is stupid too, or that Family Guy is hilarious, or that leggings are wonderful pants, then embrace your new family creed and go with it.

10. “Don’t let them win.”

This goes for both arguments, and board games.

I confess to letting my sweeties win at cards when they were little, but my hubster was the king of crushing their spirits. Hey, when they finally did beat him, they were euphoric and you can’t beat that.

Helpful Parenting Quotes

I’ll leave you with some great parenting quotes. If you know of any others, or have one yourself, leave em in the comments.

A child is a curly dimpled lunatic. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

Erma Bombeck

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

Erma again

Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.

Phyllis Diller

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

Calvin Trillin 

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Oscar Wilde

Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.

P. J. O’Rourke

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Advice for New Parents