Laughing Matters
The Maniac Parenting method

By Charles Marshall | August 12, 2009

laughing matters by charles marshallMy non-parent friends ask me what it’s like having kids.

I tell them that before you have kids, you are the star in the movie of your life. After you have kids, you’re lucky if you can get a speaking part.

When the credits roll on the reel of your life, your part will be listed toward the very bottom as: “Lady driving car” or “Man who handed out money.”

That’s my life.

Don’t get me wrong; I love being a parent. I always have. Before I had kids, I used to fantasize about being a great parent, a nice parent, the kind that didn’t turn into a raving maniac when things went wrong. That was before I learned there is no such thing as a nice parent.

Sure, we all want to be nice. We start off that way and try being nice for a while, but the problem is “nice” just doesn’t work. Try being nice and your kids will own you. You know what does work? Being a raving maniac.

That’s why the raving maniac parenting method is method-of-choice the world over.
Let’s go over it once more, just to make sure you have it.

Nice = Doesn’t work (i.e. your child grows up and makes frequent appearances on Jerry Springer and COPS.)

Raving Maniac = Successful parenting! (i.e. The only time your kid is on TV is when he’s holding a trophy.)

I love watching new parents interacting with their little ones as they discover this revelation for the first time.

“Honey, Mommy says to get away from the electrical cords. No, no, honey. Nooo. Cords are dangerous, sweetie. Dan-ger-ous. No … NO! I SAID GET AWAY FROM THE STINKIN’ CORDS!”

So, you ask, what causes this transformation from a relatively normal person into this Incredible Hulk-type parent?

I think it’s the fact that kids never shut their mouths. Ever. You’ve got this incessant monologue (or polylogue, if you have more than one kid) running all the time and you can’t hear yourself think.

We drove to Florida on vacation last year with the kids in the back seat and they talked the whole time. About three or four hours into the trip they started playing that cloud game where they look at the clouds and see what images they can see.

“Look, Dad, that one’s an angel. Look over there, Daddy. There’s a mommy holding a baby. Look, Daddy, there’s a little doggy. Look, Daddy (ad infinitum).”

It occurred to me the cloud game is sort of like an inkblot test. They were seeing all of these beautiful images, so I was thinking they must have wonderful little psyches. But it was starting to worry me about my own, because I was looking at the exact same cloud formations and seeing completely different pictures.

“Look at that one, kids. That one looks like a dad driving off leaving the kids at the gas station. That one over there looks like a daddy throwing himself out of the window of a car.”

I’m just kidding, of course, and the important thing is my kids know it. They know their father loves them and there is nothing they can do to change that.

Hey, if you happen to see me acting like a raving maniac out in public sometime – well, I’m pretty good at it, so feel free to applaud.