Hard Learned Do's and Don'ts of Parenting

by Joelle Wisler
Originally Published: 

I have only been working at this parenting gig for seven years now so I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but here are some of the tips I have learned from my seven years of trial and error. And error. And error. And error…

1. Do teach your children that whenever you are on your computer that it is always called “working” so that when they talk to your partner later on, they will tell them that you were working all day even if you were just getting caught up on Breaking Bad.

2. Do put duct tape over the speakers of your children’s talking toys so that you don’t turn into a raving lunatic over a plastic cat yelling “Chase me!” ninety-one hundred times per day.

3. Do be silly. Even if silly is not in your nature.

4. Do listen to your kids’ dreams from the night before. Sometimes, it’s a fascinating look into what they are thinking about. And if their friends start turning into zombies, it might be time to limit the Minecraft.

5. Do buy a Rainbow Loom or something like it. Sure, the rubber bands are annoying and self-propagating but I have never seen my kid concentrate so hard on something. But don’t get one if you don’t think it’s funny to find an actual rainbow in your dog’s poop.

6. Do invest in Crayola. Like, stock investing. Just my family alone should make it worth your while.

7. Do teach your children that raisins are candy. I totally forgot to do this.

8. Do make a sacred word in your family. A word that can’t be compromised, no matter what. Our word is Promise. If we say “I Promise” it is like the law of gravity around here. The word Promise supercedes tall tales and unknown situations and hurt feelings. It’s helpful.

9. Do look at them when they are making you crazy. And then realize that they are only being little mirrors to the most annoying parts of your own self and cut them some slack.

10. Do let go of some of the control. Some of the time.

But don’t…

1. Don’t underestimate the inherent joy (aka danger) in laundry baskets, empty boxes and pretty much anything you can put in the recycling bin.

2. Don’t get into arguments with your children’s friends. Even after that friend says “My bike is WAY cooler than your kid’s bike!” when, in fact, they have the exact same bike but when he says this, it annoys you so much that you are compelled to say, “Is not.” And then he will say, “Is too.” And then this goes on for quite a while.

3. Don’t ever forget that if your toddler is quiet, there is a 95% chance that they have dumped an entire box of crackers and are shoving the pieces into their diaper or they have decided to experiment with self-expression in the form of whole-body art.

4. Don’t buy pretend swords. It never ends well.

5. Don’t give your toddler a yogurt tube in the car, stamps in a wind storm, or unsupervised access to a sharpie. Or dog food or dirt or the toilet.

6. Don’t ever buy your sibling’s children annoying toys to be funny when you are younger and don’t have children yet because it will come back and bite you in the butt in the form of a popper that your toddler is obsessed with and can find no matter where you have hidden it.

7. Don’t give your child his very first Lunchable and then also buy him an art project that requires intense concentration and then drive him on a curvy road. Unless you never want him to eat Lunchables again.

8. Don’t teach your child it is okay to pee outside, even if you live in the middle of nowhere, because he won’t understand that he should not pee off the deck at the local pizza restaurant onto the cars below and then you will have to pretend that you don’t know him.

9. Don’t assume that you are smarter than your children, because you probably aren’t and then you will be shocked when your three-year-old says something like, “Before I came here, I searched all over for who would be my mommy and I recognized you by your voice.”

10. Don’t try to work on the computer while your children’s eyes are open, cook a meal at dinner time, exercise on the floor, or let them know you have an important call coming in or you will be reminded of what happens when you get Gizmo wet or feed him after midnight.

What are your hard learned “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of parenting?

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