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Sure Dad Says

Blame It on the Genes

Unfortunately, children aren’t born with instruction manuals. Parents can read plenty of books that offer helpful hints about how to properly rear their offspring. However, equally unfortunately, our only real exposure to parenting is the memory we have from our very own moms and dads raising us. OY! 

We can all complain about what improper role models our parents were, but we can’t avoid the inescapable truth: we are our parents’ children. And as much as we swear to never duplicate their disciplinary and tough-love techniques, we do. Blame it on the Genes Old man with cane and younger person with baby

As our own children find their way in this world, we try again and again to instill our unique ideas within their lives. We attempt to put into practice the new and innovative methods we’ve discovered in our extensive research. Obviously, we can do a much better job raising our own children than our parents did with us, right? Famous last words. Remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

For some unexplained reason, as time goes on we find ourselves giving this uniquely valuable guidance by saying the most inane things to our next generation. We then look up, look around and wonder how the hell those stupid things our moms and dads said are coming directly out of our mouths now. 

Need some convincing? Here, pay attention: 

  • “Be careful.” Why would we waste our time saying that to young Sidney as he’s walking out the door? Does he want to run your car off a cliff as soon as he leaves the house? Is he preparing to jump into a volcano or something? No, Sidney is consumed, like us, with self-preservation and wants to be around to live another day. Our inspiring, well-meaning words are completely wasted and ignored. 
  • “Have a good day.” Do any of us really have that much control over whether our children will have a good day or not? If a piano falls on little Rhonda’s head, that’s likely going to be a bad day for her, despite our best intentions. Of course, if she happened to win the lottery that day, we―as her parents―will take full credit, because we told them to have a good day. 
  • “Don’t be too late tonight.” You might as well tell them not to light themselves on fire; it’s just as effective. 
  • “Remember, you have school tomorrow.” Is this something they ever forget? 
  • “Don’t hit your sister.” Save your breath. Did you ever comply with that demand when you were that age? 
  • “Stop being so annoying.” How about suggesting they just stop breathing? 

Here’s my advice to anyone trying to raise children: Assume that whenever you are discipling your lovely children, you are just talking to yourself. Keeping that in mind will spare you lots and lots of agony. Your parents likely came to that same conclusion long ago.

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