Things all parents should stop doing, now

"Birthday cakes have become the Rolex of parenting."

"Birthday cakes have become the Rolex of parenting." Photo: A.Y. Photography

I understand that as parents we are just a ragtag collection of unrelated individuals counting down the hours until it's time for “bath, books and bed” – but no one parents in a bubble, people. Your kid comes to school and goes on about all the toys they get, the mountains of lollies they eat and the questionable decisions you make. And quite frankly there are a few of you who are really letting the side down, and I think we need to talk.

We could make this whole parenting lark easier for everyone if we just set some ground rules. Let's start with a random list of things that we should really cease right now - but we all have to do it. If one of you blinks you will spoil it for the rest of us.

Pinatas

Pinatas: why must every kids' party include this little reenactment of Lord of the Flies?

Pinatas: why must every kids' party include this little reenactment of Lord of the Flies? Photo: Maria Teijeiro

Little kids wielding big sticks, and then a bunch of lollies plummet to the floor, at once creating a scramble that would put a Wall Street trading floor to shame. Why must every kids' party include this little reenactment of Lord of the Flies?

Paying more than $2 for a tooth

I understand inflation, I understand you want to make your kid think the tooth fairy is fabulous. I get that, to you, that little piece of dental perfection is priceless – but when your son or daughter goes and blabs at school about the rolled up $10 note under their pillow, our kids start thinking their teeth belong in the bargain bin or their tooth fairy is a skinflint, short-changing her kids so she can go buy that new tiara.

Know that every other parent wants to flick their kid a $20 next time just so YOU have to answer the question: “Why are their teeth worth more than mine?”

Treating Santa's list as a hard-and-fast contract

Santa's wish-list is really just a guide. The big guy likes to do his best, but he's a busy man and when a four-year-old asks for a PlayStation he can't deliver that can he? Oh really, little Timmy gets everything he ever asks for from Santa, does he? Maybe the jolly green elf is making up for the fact that his parents are really annoying.

No personal iPads, iPods or games consoles before age 12

A related point, because where do you go from there? Are you planning to buy them a car when they turn 13? A laptop? Kick off their wine collection?

Getting your kid to use PowerPoint during “speaking and listening”

Seriously? Despite these past couple of points, I'm all for embracing technology, but my kid is in Year 2 – and I am not training him to be a middle manager in a widget factory. I have proudly gone most of my professional life without using this most annoying of office tools, do NOT get my kid to pressure me to do a PowerPoint for “show and tell” on steroids – it's called “speaking and listening” not “pointing and staring”. Telling an interesting story is a skill, PowerPoint is window dressing.

One pic of your kid on social media per month

You get a special pass just after birth when we know our feed is going to be flooded like the bib of a drooling newborn. After that, please observe the rule.

The birthday cake arms race

Birthday cakes have become the Rolex of parenting, an OTT status symbol to make the other parents tremble in awe at your icing and baking-based skills. I get how it happens, we have all had our kids give us “the look” and beg for a cake shaped like a puppy, but we all have to agree to an upper limit. For me it was the Gulper eel cake – a deep-sea dwelling creature with sharp teeth and a bioluminescent tail. The teeth were individually placed shards of almond, the tail incorporated a series of flashing LED lights – the kid was three. Stop it, or open a cake shop. And professional cakes are cheating.

Right, well I am sure you all have a few points of your own. Post them below and we will get a list going so we can circulate it to the rest of the parents, and start taking things easy.

42 comments

  • But how will little Osprey, Coriander and Thor know they are special?

    Commenter
    Barry
    Date and time
    May 22, 2014, 7:19AM
    • lol +10!

      Commenter
      Matt
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 10:52AM
    • You're very funny :)

      Commenter
      Lucy
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 11:26AM
    • ROFL! +100
      Someone buy this man a drink.

      Commenter
      Keep Calm...
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 12:06PM
    • Hysterical. Thanks so much Barry.

      Commenter
      trinch
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 1:02PM
    • Brilliant !

      Commenter
      Happy Budgie
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 2:13PM
    • Thank you - you have made my day.

      Commenter
      Tom
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 5:52PM
  • My 10 year old was excluded from a class party this month because the now 11 year old classmate invited all her friends to the party via Facebook/instagram/choose whichever medium on her ipad. My 10 year old does not have ipad/ipod/mobile phone - I know! Shock! Call Docs! Line me up with Will and Jada! And so was not invited to this awesome party that EVERYONE ELSE in the class got invited to. My daughter was told that this classmate just went through her contacts and went tick, tick. Her Parents (who presumably footed the bill for this party) did not even check the guest list of which was very large group. And yes, my child did invite all the same people to her party last year, the good old fashioned way. She designed an invitation and put it in her classsmates bags. The children rsvp'd through me and my mobile number. Parents, take back some of your responsibilities and parent!

    Commenter
    Euuuuw Gross
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 22, 2014, 9:36AM
    • That's cool :)

      I have such fond memories of the sheer excitement of finding a party invitation in my bag after school!

      Commenter
      Donna Joy
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 1:27PM
  • Hilarious! thanks Paul. I'm not a parent but I have friends who really need to observe some of those rules, particularly the facebook posts of their kids every second of the day!

    Commenter
    MH
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 22, 2014, 9:44AM

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