A post from the man himself, Stephen Feinberg:
I’m the parental unit referred to in this blog as “Larry,” AKA Larry David, AKA cranky old jewish guy with assholic tendencies. Take away the last part and I’m happy to own it.
You’re reading my guest blog post because my daughters are currently too busy trying to either find or maintain employment to generate fresh content. I, on the other hand, generate content for a living so, no biggie. Don’t look for gifs or links to obsessive/compulsive Pinterest boards—ain’t no one got time for that. Instead, let me fulminate on the subject of parental discipline. Don’t know what “fulminate” means? Look it up, you post-verbal Millenial slacker. You might assume from some of my daughters’ posts that they are rancid, self- absorbed, alcoholic trainwrecks…ungodly mashups of Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Silverman and the uptalking, hair-tossing, oxygen-sucking biatch in the cubicle next to yours.
They are actually polite, highly functional people with good values. And, OK, potty mouths. And here’s why: ‘cause we raised ‘em right. Notice I didn’t say “parented.” I don’t know what “parenting” is, but I see its results everyday: little wankers-in-training whose parents grovel for their approval and let them behave heinously in public. Sorry: that won’t do. Parents, your job is to raise your children, raise being shorthand for preparing them to be useful members of adult society. Towards that end, here are 4 tips for how to raise your kids to be badass and great like mine (see—I know what a listicle is!)
1. Your child does not come first. Everybody knows this. You know it. Your Uber driver knows it. The people sitting next to you in your rustic-chic local hangout know it. So why pretend otherwise? No, you can’t let the enormity of the universe’s disregard for your child hit her all at once…you have to keep upping the dose slowly as she absorbs minor slights and frustrations and graduates to soul-searching defeats and crushing realizations. But if you keep up this “You’re so special” routine past the age of say, 18 months, you’re asking for trouble.
2. Your child does not have to always like you. Do you always like your parents? Do you ever like your parents? Exactly. It’s handy if your kids love you, because they will then be slightly more inclined to do what you say when they enter The Dark Years; but what you really want them to do is respect you…maybe with a little frisson of fear thrown in for good measure. But if you spend all your time trying to be liked and telling them their needs and wants come before yours, how on earth will the little shits ever respect you?
3. Politeness matters. Nothing’s worse than an ill-mannered child. On my daughters’ worst days during The Dark Years, when they thought their mother and I were dumber than a fucking box of rocks, they said please and thank you. They addressed us, and other adults, respectfully, meaning they did not call us “dumber than a fucking box of rocks” out loud. Clothing, curfew, choice of acquaintances, use of mind-altering substances…all of these things were negotiable to some degree. Polite behavior? Non-negotiable.
4. Don’t reward lying. This would appear to be self-evident, but not with the coming of The Dark Years. When the sex-drug-and-rock-and-roll things starts to happen, you need to take a deep breath and decide you’d rather know the tawdry, hair-raising truth about where your kids are than not, which means not flipping out on them when they tell you. Otherwise, your kids will do exactly what you did: sell your parents a bag of lies. “I’m at Jenny’s house studying for the math test.” No, she’s not. She’s sucking on a bong and making googly eyes at some doofus boy who drives like an escaped convict. Own it.
It’s not fun, but not knowing where your kid is if something bad happens is a lot worse. Well, that’s it. I know—what a long slog! So many words, so few pictures! To which I say, in the spirit of my daughters:
No hair. Don’t care.