Top 10 parenting rules that were meant to be broken.

“Don’t you look at me with that face.” I hear myself say. It’s as if I’m having an out of body experience, watching myself scold my children. I say things like, “You get what you get and you dont throw a fit.” Or, “because I said so, that’s why.”

As I leave the room, I’m sure they are flipping me off; at least that’s what I would do if I were them. I used to be the rebel without a cause. Then one day I just woke up and I was “the man.” It’s a real drag.

Being the rule maker isn’t all bad though because you still get to choose to be the rule breaker. As important as it may be to provide kids with structure, sometimes it’s actually better to go off script. So here is my top 10 list, in no particular order, of parenting rules that were meant to be broken.

10. Bed time. Bed time is the thing by which we live or die. Want to have a life outside of your kids? Well then you’d better make sure they are asleep in time for you to binge watch “The Boys” and still get enough sleep to function. That said, occasionally there is nothing cooler than letting your kids stay up to hang. Build a fort, eat some popcorn and watch a scary movie. You only live once and so schedules be damned.

9. Dessert. “Can we have dessert?” Is the question which begins every meal at my house. Because I would rather not contribute to the ever growing rate of avoidable health risks in this country, I usually say no. This just makes the occasional dessert that much sweeter. Someday soon, I’m going to make dessert for dinner and than offer a nutritious dinner for dessert, just to see what happens.

8. Cussing. Just admit it; the first time you hear your toddler use a cuss word in the appropriate context is a proud one. I get that kids aren’t supposed to use foul language but well, sticks and stones… I’m just happy if my kids can communicate effectively.

7. Fighting. Having three boys has taught me that fighting is as natural as breathing. Trying to stop either would be pointless. Instead, I insist that they follow these three rules; no choking, no eye gouging and no weapons. Past that it all just builds character.

6. The thermostat. Just kidding. Never touch the thermostat.

5. Making messes. As important as it is that a kid learns how to clean up after themselves; messes happen. In fact the coolest things often have the biggest messes. I hope to never prioritize tidiness over awesomeness.

4. Talking back. I actually feel like my most important job as a dad is to step in and rain hellfire when I catch my kids speaking to their mother in a disrespectful tone. That’s one thing that I simply won’t abide. If ever they slip up and talk back to me though… so what. Everyone deserves the space to have a bad day every now and again. As long as they always show their mother respect, I’m cool with them occasionally venting to me.

3. Bath time. I have watched each of my kids pick up old gum or candy from a strange floor and put it into their mouth. Of course personal hygiene is important but the reality is that kids are disgusting little bacteria bags. Skipping bath time isn’t going to hurt them every once in a while. God made dirt and as long as I can’t smell you then it dont hurt.

2. The thermostat. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough… grab a blanket if you are cold but for the love of God; DO NOT EVER TOUCH THE THERMOSTAT.

  1. Being good. I tell my kids all the time to just “be good.” The truth is, my kids are almost always good. I think most kids are this way. What we really want is for them to behave like adults and this is just an unrealistic expectation. Moreover, it is a lame goal. Deep down, I want my kids to be bad. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am now “the man.” I want my kids to buck the system and defy convention. Do it while you can kids because someday… it’ll all be over.