My third parenting book is coming out soon, and I’m going to title it My Parenting Mistakes. Here’s a random taste.
Lower Your Expectations.
Don’t expect much, and you won’t be as easily disappointed. If you slaved away to put your kids through college and they’re a smashing success, don’t expect a handout when you’re old and disabled.
You’ve got Biff into Cub Scouts, Little League, and Soccer. Buffy faithfully attends ballet and cheerleading classes five days a week. Mom and Dad have racked up over 50,000 miles on their minivan shuttling these kids around over the past five years, not to mention the exhausting pace of rushing around. Ten years later, we find Biff is a bully who cuts class and steals iPhones to satisfy his gambling debts; and Buffy is a tattooed pothead who’s eight months pregnant with her dealer’s child.
You might be fooled into thinking the helicopter thing is a sure-fire way of keeping your kids out of trouble. Sorry, Charlie, that doesn’t work either.
Most parents have that scowl – you know what I mean. That mean face that’s supposed to show you mean business. Guess what? This turns people off. Have you ever tried that face at work? Probably not. Your children are probably muting you when you’re talking to them. So use your workface instead! You know, that face you use when you nicely ask people to do shit they really don’t want to do? It works, right? Why not use that at home, Mom?
Think Like a CEO.
For every parenting decision you make, project the future effects. Not a week or two, think years. If you let your 15-year-old daughter go to a beer party, chances are she’s going to think that’s normal for the next ten years. My ex-wife is more like a manager. She can’t see past her own nose. I’m the strategist. I know how the world works, and how to prepare for it. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to be managed than strategized. My kid and most others tend to take the path of least resistance.
Look, regardless of what you think about your spouse or divorcee, your children need to know you’re on the same page at all times. This is probably the most important advice I can give you. Kids know when there’s a shake-up, and they always take advantage of the chaos. Don’t give them that opportunity and you’ll end up with better kids. Trust me.