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Posts tagged: parenting

What would you say?

…if your child was struggling to make a decision about whether to be in a school play or be on a sports team?

Today’s Slice Blog Parenting Challenge

You are in the car, driving from here to there.

Your two young daughters are riding in the back seat.

Suddenly one of them emits a distressed squeal and says, “She's looking at me!”

What do you do?

Just wondering

What's the best way to teach a child to be leery of thin ice?

My late father's favored approach was to tell a story that ended with some poor kid in his childhood hometown falling through the ice and not getting fished out until spring.

Kids in his little town on the Vermont/New York border were always meeting their maker in his cautionary tales. The body count was nothing short of astonishing.

Of course, I tended to be careful about fresh ice. So maybe my father knew what he was doing.

Just so we’re clear

It's not a compliment when relatives refer to your son as “The Dauphin.”

How to rear children

Step 43: Get the child a bear cub costume.

Cookies are for closers

Has anyone written a parenting book based on the lessons and sayings of “Glengarry Glen Ross”?

Crowning king or queen of spillage

Measured in total fluid ounces, what Inland Northwest kid has spilled the greatest volume of liquids (both at home and in the car)?

Agree or disagree

For kids being punished, getting “grounded” was a stiffer sentence decades ago than it is today. 

Voice of a new generation

Some colleagues who happen to be parents of young children were talking about flying with little kids.

There seemed to be agreement that occasional screaming fests are all but inevitable. But one mother said she has found other passengers will usually cut her some slack if it appears she is at least trying to address the situation and attempting to make it stop.

I tend to agree. All I want from the parent/parents in such a scenario is some sign that they are aware there are others on the plane who might prefer not to hear an hour of shrieking.

I guess, once upon a time, some parents would smack the kid into submission. But what if it is not a tantrum but is an eardrum thing or simple terror about flying?

I'd rather endure the screaming than witness a child getting throttled.

Though certainly, some kids are less charming than others. It's a good bet that it wasn't air travel that made them that way.    

What was your dad’s signature line?

A) “If it's not one thing, it's another.” B) “Get a haircut.” C) “You're not going out dressed like that.” D) “I'll give you something to cry about.” E) “Don't make me pull over.” F) “Turn that racket down.” G) “Use the brains God gave you.” H) “You paid how much for that?” I) “You're going to go blind in there.” J) “You've got it easy.” K) “My father would have knocked my block off if I pulled a stunt like that.” L) “Are you kidding me?” M) “You call that music?” N) “Good job, Jason.” O) “We're not trying to heat the whole outdoors.” P) “Use that tone with your mother again and you are going down for the count.” Q) “This report card suggests to me that you are not overly exerting yourself.” R) “Finish that, people are starving in Armenia.” S) “Go clean your room.” T) “How long have I been passed out?” U) “So that's what they're wearing these days?” V) “I woudn't do that, if I were you.” W) “If I discover that someone has absconded with the last piece of pie, there's going to be trouble.” X) “There are going to be some changes around here.” Y) “If Kathy Larson told you she was going to jump off a bridge, would you do that, too?” Z) Other.   

“Oh, Daddy, you’re making that up”

Parents tend to be taken aback the first time one of their kids doubts something they say.

But that's been happening for a long time.

My father knew Jack Palance during World War II. I believe they were in the same unit being trained for action in B-24s.

They weren't best buddies or anything. But they did spend some free time together.

Anyway, years later, my family was at a drive-in movie. (This was several years before I was born.) Palance was in the picture.

My dad mentioned that he had known him. And my sister didn't believe him.

Must be rough to have your kid all but call you a low-down Yankee liar. 

Long ago and far away

One summer when I was junior high-age, part of that season's entertainment involved hearing my friend Dave Taylor recount the running battle of wits between his year-older brother, Steve, and their father.

It all started when Steve began accessing his parents' well-stocked liquor cabinet. (This is not unheard of in the annals of misguided teen antics.)

Mr. Taylor eventually noticed. So he started drawing lines on bottles with a magic marker or something.

Undaunted, Steve simply added water to each bottle after pouring off a little of the hard stuff.

But apparently Mr.Taylor knew how Canadian Club was supposed to taste. So he grounded Steve and meted out some vigorous corporal punishment, as I recall.

Steve responded by using some strong cleanser to wipe away the lines marked on the bottles. Then, after yet another unauthorized appropriation of spirits, he would redraw the lines. A little lower.

(I seem to recall that this was similar to what Mr. Taylor himself did. Though I think the father might have tweaked his technique by drawing the lines partly on the label. Or dating them. Or something. It was a long time ago, and the Taylors'  was not the only household that generated stories of this nature.)

In any event, as Dave told it, Mr. Taylor once again caught on. There ensued another grounding and additional hands-on suggestions about how Steve might improve himself.

Mr. Taylor eventually got a locking liquor cabinet. But of course, Steve found the key.

Sometimes, when I hear certain adults sigh and issue “Kids today” laments, I wonder if they had particularly sheltered childhoods.

I have no idea what became of my friend's brother. But I sure hope he became a parent.

I love the idea of one of his kids trying to put one over on him.

“Nice try, Sparky,” I can imagine him saying. “But I invented that one.”  

Missed a spot

It has come to my attention that some Spokane area moms and dads are falling down on the job when it comes to one key aspect of parenting.

I'm referring, of course, to a gross and widespread failure to properly scrutinize the job a son or daughter did of washing the family truckster. This is something parents of previous generations had down pat. But I'm hearing troubling reports that today's mothers and fathers have gone soft. 

So let's review the basics.

After issuing long and borderline snappish instructions — punctuated with “Are you listening to me?” — here's what you need to do when the kid declares the job finished.

1. Before you even start looking at the vehicle, adopt a scrunched up, dyspeptic expression.

2. Early on during your walk-around inspection ask, “Did you use the soap I gave you?”

3. Ask, “Did you use water?”

4. Say, “You understood, didn't you, that I wanted you to wash the whole exterior?”

5. Take your glasses off and rub your eyes as if in the throes of a mighty headache.

6. Sigh and mutter.

7. Say, “Did you imagine that I would regard the job you've done here with favor?”

8. Take your ballcap off and scratch the top of your head.

9. Say, “So I take it you are in a hurry to go meet your friends or something?”

10. Launch the big talk about applying oneself and how seemingly small things can determine whether you experience success in life.

Sighing and praying

So what do you do after reading in the morning paper about a father throwing his young son into some cacti and driving off, abandoning the little boy?

Me, I tried hard to think about something I saw last night.

The preschool boy across the street was running around with a towel draped from his shoulders. Clearly it was intended to serve as a cape. He also had on some sort of headgear that I can only assume is much like what the superheroes are wearing these days.

He and his dad tossed a ball back and forth. Well, at least they were trying to do that. The little boy is just learning about throwing. And catching will come a bit later.

But the dad could not have been more patient. And when the lad did manage a reasonable toss, his father showed his approval in a demonstrative way.

Other than the cape, this was a pretty standard scene over there. Those two spend a lot of time together.

I wish cactus boy had a dad like that. I wish every child did.

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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