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Do be afraid of the dark…

By, Sergio Burns

There are days, especially as daylight hours start to reduce and night time arrives earlier and earlier, when it’s easy to get into a dark mood and reflect on your parenting skills. Wondering if you’re good enough and wondering if you could do better. Well, wonder no more, just read this list of parenting fails and instantly be reminded you are a GENIUS at parenting. Go you!

Celebrity fails

Do you know what I like to do of an evening? Cover my child in a blanket and hang him over a balcony, then nearly drop him. Wait. No. That was Michael Jackson. He’s probably the first parenting fail to come to mind, but my GOD he’s not the last I’ll list here.

I’m not actually sure if Ryan Reynolds is failing or winning at parenthood, but his Twitter account is his very open way of telling the world how he’s raising his daughter. Some of his parenting quips range from telling his daughter that the sun goes down every night because ‘it’s mad at her’, through to updating the world that at 6 months his little girl was already mastering drawing, but that he wouldn’t put the pictures on the fridge as they are ‘garbage’. He’s confident the day will come when he writes a book on parenting. (If he puts a centrefold of himself in that, I’d be all over that purchase).

Naming fails

This overlaps a little with celebrity fails. Let me first throw some side eye at Gwyneth Paltrow – she named one of her children ‘Apple’. WHY? The only reason I can think of is that she inadvertently cooked her brain during one of her infamous vagina steaming sessions. Special mention for the Zappa’s, they managed three curiosities; ‘Dweezil’, ‘Moon Unit’ and ‘Diva Muffin’ – true story. Up next, a favourite actor of mine from my twenties, Jason Lee. I thought he was awesome in Mallrats and Chasing Amy…he could be hilarious, in fact he had such a sense of humour he named his child…‘Pilot Inspektor’ (that is not a typo, that is how it’s spelled). I only found out recently that he used to practise Scientology, so I’ll blame their teachings for his (poor) child’s name. Oh and ‘immma let you finish’ with the Karadshian-Wests. So your surname is ‘West’, why wouldn’t you call your daughter ‘North’? Congratulations on turning your child into an actual direction. Could have been worse, could have been ‘Wild’.

One country, dear to my heart, that has actual legislation in place to stop all this bananas behaviour is Denmark *frantically waves the Dannebrog*. Their ‘Law on Personal Names’ sees prospective parents pick from roughly 7000 approved names for children, anything not on the list has to be formally reviewed and approved. Honestly. There’s even a section at Copenhagen University called ‘Names in Denmark’, part of the Department of Nordic Research. This law has stopped some poor wee souls being called, ‘Pluto’, ‘Monkey’, ‘Bebop’ and ‘Anus’. Really, you can look this stuff up.

Child rearing fails

There are the classics. Everyone knows someone who was told that if the ice-cream van was playing music, it meant they had run out of ice cream. However, a new favourite story I heard recently was of a father, who instead of reassuring his child there was no monster hiding in the dark at night, told the child there WAS a monster hiding in his bedroom. The only way to keep the monster happy? Go and get Daddy a bottle of beer from the fridge. Okay, so that’s actually pretty horrific…but also kind of clever?

The tooth fairy has been known to kick up problems. My favourite tale that was told to me was about the night a set of parents had a few too many glasses of wine, remembered just in time to put some money under their kids pillow in exchange for the tooth, but had no change and had to leave a tenner. There’s no coming back from that. Their kid was practically pulling their own teeth out after that to rack up the spends…

My tales of fails

I am not immune to my own parenting failures, but 8 plus years into this child rearing business at least I can laugh at myself now. For example the time I realised I had to start putting celebrity and fitness (because I’m such an athlete) magazines out of reach of my eldest child. Aged four, I found him hiding under a blanket behind the couch, with a number of magazines all opened at bikini shot images. He was slack-jawed looking at the ‘pretty ladies’. Also, even when trying to be good and putting parental controls on YouTube, my youngest (when he was 4 – must be some kind of watershed age?), still managed to watch the ‘Anaconda’ video by Nicki Minaj. From that day he has tearfully begged for YouTube to be put on again as he ‘wants to see the bums’. *Exasperated sigh* 

I learned from the best though. As a little girl, I enquired as to what the tub of pink stuff was in the fridge, my parents asked me what I thought it was and so wide-eyed I replied, ‘strawberry mousse!?’ They said I could have a spoonful if I wanted, which I did and so I gleefully inhaled a spoonful of…taramasalata. THANKS FOLKS. Nothing more a small girl likes to eat more than pureed salted, cured, pink fish. 

A final lesson for raising kids is ‘do as I say, not as I do’. An example of this from my family? Telling children not to swear, but getting road rage in the car. Once, many years ago, someone cut in front of my Dad on the way into town, without missing a beat, my brother, a little nipper at the time, leaned forward and screamed at the top of his lungs ‘TW*************************T!’ And lo, the days of keeping road rage bottled up inside began. You’re welcome.