WERE you born in the modern, enlightened times of the 1970s? Here are the rules your parents used to raise you.
Stay out of it
Kids got a roof over their heads? School’s giving them some semblance of an education? Job done as far as you’re concerned. The rest of their time is their own. If they’re out of the house playing in an abandoned factory or kicking a ball into an electricity substation, you hope they’re having fun.
Provide biannual rewards
There are birthdays and there’s Christmas, and on these occasions give them some toys to last the intervening months. Could be an Action Man, could be a Sindy, could be Stretch Armstrong, but if they ask for clackers in the meantime, give them a clip round the ear and move on. Their boredom isn’t your problem.
A cuff to the back of the head, a slap on the back of the legs, perhaps even a boot up the arse to encourage them to leave the house for the next six hours: all crucial parenting skills. And don’t reserve these important duties for yourself. If relatives, friends or neighbours feel a clout is appropriate, let them be the judge.
If you’ve got a child approaching their final years of primary school, they’re pretty much an adult. Give them a front door key, tell them to look after their younger siblings – and the neighbour’s kids, if that’s the childcare arrangement that day – and get the tea on. Time they stepped up.
Make sure they know which pub you’ll be in
Reckless parents go out for the evening, leaving their kids alone, without letting them know which pub to go to when the house is on fire. Responsible parents tell them they’ll be in the Red Lion and will stagger out drunk in a serious emergency to administer clips around the ear.