Thursday, 28 June 2012

Teenage kicks

Hello again. This week you will find me in the most upbeat of moods, due to a remarkable turning of tables. A U.S. report has just concluded that we should be actively seeking rows with our teenage offspring. Hooray and double hooray.

It's always amusing when a child misbehaves in public and the pushy parent responds by hissing reprimands or biting their tongue (their own tongue, not the child’s, silly) – anything rather than shout. This is because any pushy parent worth her weight in Mars bars knows that you should adopt a calm tone with your child at all times. Even when they are about to get run over.

The anti-anger clause means that many mums nowadays display symptoms of suppressed aggression. This accounts for their erratic driving and fetish for sports gear. Presumably these mums go straight to the gym after school drop off and kick the nearest punch bag. I can’t think of any other reason for wearing lycra that tight. Or any kind of gym wear really, aside from the fact that if worn correctly – i.e. loosely – it can be easier to run to the toilet in after a keg of beer.

Back to the report. Scientists at the University of Virginia observed 13-year-olds arguing with their mums. 3 years later the teenagers who had displayed confidence and logic during their arguments were less likely to become drug addicts or alcoholics. Now, I’m not sure about this. Some of the finest literary minds to walk this earth were alcoholics and opium users. I don’t think that debating prowess and clever word play secures you a life free from addiction. I’m not sure about the logic bit either. “So this white stuff is going to make my nose fall off? Okay, I'll leave it."

The report also suggests that placid children are more likely to agree to take drugs than argumentative teenagers. This seems a bit of a no-brainer. Like saying that sadists become traffic wardens, lazy people become testers at Bedworld, and ginger people will one day shave all their hair off.

However, I'm not going to split hairs - not even ginger ones - because it is owing to this marvelous report that pushy parents everywhere will now be having humdingers with their teenagers to hone their debating skills. It will certainly make the school run more interesting.

Some mums have promoted violence at home to such an extent
that their teenagers have run off to join the army just to get some peace

So what to make of all this nonsense? Well, it seems to me that if pushy parents are going to start shouting, then us cushy parents should do...nothing. Yes, that’s right. Forget the report. Just carry on as usual. Blissfully unaware of reports and protocol.

Not an argument in the air for miles. Just the gentle sound of a cork popping.


Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available at Amazon.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Herbal brushing and circus mirrors

Welcome back.  Today we're looking at the new report, Reflections upon body image, which suggests that girls as young as 5 worry about how they look.  (Apparently boys don't give a hoot about it).  Whilst this is a serious subject and not to be scoffed at - pardon the pun -  we can simplify the issue by breaking it down into 3 separate areas.

Peer pressure.  A reporter interviewed a 104-year-old man.  "So what do you think is the best thing about being 104?"  "No peer pressure," he replied.  Quite the reverse is true for our 5-year-old, who has peer pressure cornering her in the playground.  Well, I can only say one thing: fat friends.  Many a grown woman has used this tactic to great effect.  If thin people start hanging round your child, ask in a loud voice 'who wants a doughnut?'  This scatters thinnies faster than throwing a stone at pigeons.  Author's note: I do not encourage throwing stones at pigeons.  Please do not try this at home.

It's a well known fact that having unattractive friends
makes children more psychologically balanced

2) The media.  Got trashy magazines lying around, full of air-brushed women?  Replace air-brushing with herbal-brushing - a new technique taking schools by storm.  Simply take a paintbrush, some paint and various herbal essences - I find organic is best.  Next, disfigure that gorgeous magazine model.  Give her big thighs, warts, a tash and some bogies.  The herbal essences are released as you paint, counteracting any feelings of hostility - thus creating a calm, therapeutic experience.  This is the sort of pastime you can enjoy with your children and on your own.  I find nothing more refreshing when the children are in bed than snuggling up with a glass of Claret, a magazine and a pot of rosemary paint.  You can also take this pastime outdoors to enjoy the fresh air - disfiguring billboards and posters.  Perfect.  

3) Your home.  This bit is common sense.  If you stand in front of the mirror, holding your stomach and sobbing why oh why oh why, your child will eventually pick up on this.  So always lock the door first and invest in some sound-proofing.

It's important to remain calm when discussing food and body images with your child.  If you find this impossible, then there is one more trick you can employ.  It's a little drastic, but it works like a charm.  Simply remove all the mirrors in your home and replace them with magic distorting ones.  (NB: make sure you check the order carefully before purchasing.  A friend of mine bought the wrong ones and her child kept screaming at night about her huge forehead and mile long shoes.)  You want the ones that make your child look wonderfully slim, if a little stretched.

So this brings me to the end of our look at body images.  I hope you have found this blog informative and that your child will feel proud of their body for the rest of their lives.  Until they have kids.  And then God Help Them.


Next time at the cushy parent: how to have a really great row with your teenager, without resorting to violence.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pscyhedelic cake and ragged ropes

Welcome back to the cushy parent.  As promised, today I'm going to give some advice on how to throw a rubbish children's party.  

Modern parents think that parties are all about the venue - that they have to hire an auditorium and pay for a professional in a leotard to perform tricks with a spinning ball.  Don't fall into this silly trap.  It's costly and you're setting yourself up for a fall.  If you think meagre at the start, no one will be disappointed. 

Take the kids - as many as possible because chaos keeps them occupied - down to the local field with a huge ragged skipping rope (it doesn't have to be ragged, but these things tend to be worn out from overuse - tying the kids to the stairs, hanging them from trees etc.)  Order the children to skip, whilst you find a comfortable tree stump to relax on.  Don't worry if it's a cold day.  The kids will skip faster to keep warm.  And you can take a hip flask.

In the old days, children's parties revolved around
an old rope and a tree stump

If you get bored watching the rope go round, sneak back home leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the children to follow.  If you're tired, lead the trail to the door of your neighbour and shoot off home for a cuppa.  After several hours the parents will arrive to collect their kids, only to find that you don't have any children at your house.  You can then ask the neighbour to sort out all the mess whilst you go run a bath.

At this point, I normally find that someone gets testy 
about the lack of games and party bags to take home.  If you feel bad about this, tell the children that the game is to find their treats in the kitchen.  Hopefully they'll head for the fruit bowl (seeing as the cupboards are empty) and they'll clear out those rancid satsumas.

Whilst the bath runs, you just have time to whip out the homemade cake and slice it.  Surprised?  Did you think that 
baking was the domain of the pushy parent?  Is it heck.  Pushy parents wouldn't risk some hellish psychedelically-iced creation.  No.  I take a huge pride in producing something on the day that has the children backing away in horror.  Then when everyone leaves, I scoff the cake.

Next year when I give the invitations out, everyone will be mysteriously out of the country and unable to attend.  So it'll be just me and the kids, and our neon dinosaur cake.  
Now that's what I call a perfect party.
See you again soon.
Love Cath

Next time at the cushy parent: how to improve your fat child's self-worth by installing funny distorted mirrors around the house to make them look thin, if a little stretched.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available to buy at Amazon.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cinzano and semolina

I'm astounded.  The Internet is saturated with blogs about how to be a wonderful parent, but nowhere does it tell you how to be a rubbish one - the most valuable advice of all.  If you want your children to have a sound perspective upon their place in the world (i.e. there are lots of us - wait your turn) then you have to forget pushy and become cushy.

This week the media was outraged by David Cameron leaving his kid at the pub.  I interviewed a mother from the Seventies in response to this who yawned and said, "I left my son in the frozen peas section of Gateway one half term.  When I saw him again his hair had grown and he had frostbite, but was otherwise unharmed."

I was raised in the Seventies.  Back then, our mums looked like this.  
Mums from the Seventies
looked 85-years-old
when they were only 40 

They wore clothes for comfort and enjoyed Cinzano of an afternoon.
  We were the generation that waited for the TV to warm up and our semolina to cool down.

Modern parenting - by the time your children reach school age - is ridiculously competitive.  I say the human race has advanced enough.  It's time to turn back the clock, to regress.   It’s time to unleash the cush in you and give the push, the push.

So what is a cushy parent?  You are a cushy parent if you:

1) are prone to putting your child in the garden whilst you watch Bergerac.  When you do finally look outside, your child has dug a 2-foot hole in the lawn with a cake server.

2) smile during school assembly when the
prize for best miniature Olympic stadium goes to Billy Bucked Teeth because of his solar lighting (the other infants were foolish enough to opt for electricity).  Afterwards, you praise your tearful child for their naive effort - a couple toilet rolls stuck to a tea tray.

3) say things to your child like, "No I'm not going to organise a play date.  Pick your own damned friends, will you?"

It's almost impossible to tell from external appearances exactly who is pushy and who is cushy.  I've had many a friend profess to being a slob, only for them to sneak home to read their child Proust.  

It’s so hard to tell who is a pushy parent.  Most people look normal enough…. 
It's time for us cushy parents to be counted.  Make yourselves known to me.  Tell me your parenting stories of negligence and early Alzheimers.  There will be no more shame - no more rushing home to binge eat Sara Lee cakes before they are totally defrosted.  

Don't be depressed by the perfection around you.  Come join me here at the cushy parent's blog.  Have a laugh, relax, look your age and remember our motto: cushy not pushy!

See you soon,

Next time at the cushy parent blog: How to throw a really rubbish birthday party for kids and still respect yourself in the morning.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.  Available at Amazon.