Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: children

Worthless Advice: Back to School Tips from Your Uncle Kev

I sometimes forget that I am here to help my readers in their life.  Now, I know everyone doesn’t have kids in school and some of my readers look to me as an inspiration to when they make the choice to have children.  Seriously, I am an awesome father that knows how to raise awesome children.  Who wouldn’t want some worthless advice from me?

For those of you with children, you will probably learn from my worthless parenting advice that you have been raising your children all wrong.  Yes, you are incorrect in the way you parent your offspring.  Perhaps there is still time for you to reverse those bad parenting habits you have learned from the so-called “experts” out there.

One of the major things we worry about is when our kids go to Back to School and whether they will survive.  Will they be able to make it through a day without us?

To prep your child for the first day of school (and the beginning of another exciting year of learning! Oh yeah!), you should set up an imaginary school at home.

 Bullying:

Have your children dress up in the worst possible clothing combinations and make fun of their clothes.  This teaches them that bullies come in all shapes and sizes and they aren’t safe anywhere….even in their own home!

Lunch:

Ask your kids what they want for lunch.  To simulate a school lunch, take these tips to heart.  If they want hot pizza, make sure it is cold and half cooked.  If they want a cold sandwich, warmth it up so it taste terrible.  Make sure the milk is warm too.  Nothing like that taste of spoiled milk to ruin your child’s appetite!

School Supplies:

Do you get those crazy school supply lists?  We do.  I merely view them as suggestions.  If every parent bought everything on the list then the teacher would have way too many school supplies.  You should be that one parent that holds out and refuses to be a puppet in the educational supply purchasing machine complex that is controlled by our robot overlords.

Backpacks:

One way to strengthen your child’s back is to overload their backpack with useless stuff.  Throw in their favorite rock you collected from your back yard.  Add in a brick from the neighbor’s walkway.  Have them take cans of food back and forth to school.   What doesn’t break their little spines and spirits makes them stronger!

Reading:

Did your kids read during the summer?  Well, if they didn’t your kid is probably in the same boat with about 80% of the other kids in their class.  Not to worry, you can still have them read a cereal box or an old phonebook.  That counts as reading doesn’t it?

Good luck with your student this year!  Only 179 more school days for my kids until Summer Vacation 2014.

Please kill me now…another “Informational” Meeting!!

Please kill me now…another “informational” meeting…..

Last night I got stuck going to my son’s “informational” meeting for new parents at his high school.  It is our second time through this school but he is doing the Jump Start program which is new.  The meeting was scheduled to be an hour long and that should have been my first warning sign.  Any meeting that is an hour long is mostly a meeting of wasted time and worthless advice.  The two papers that the school handed out could have easily been emailed to me.  In fact, I think this whole “informational” meeting should have just been uploaded onto YouTube video.  Then I could have had the option to ignore it online instead of being subjected to a hot stuffy theater stage for 55 minutes.

On the bright side, it did end five minutes early.  Or I feel asleep.  One of the two.

Getting back to my annoyance…..Yes, I understand parents like to know what is going on in their kid’s life.  Sure, these informative meetings are helpful for some people.  But really, when you basically go over the same information that I have in my hand (as a piece of paper), you are wasting my time.  I’m not saying it is worthless advice. I’m saying it was a waste of my time.  Time better spent relaxing at home and enjoying the last summer evenings before school starts.

 I know better.  I knew I should have skipped this meeting.  This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.  But I thought I should go.  And I was strongly encouraged by my wife to go.  Hmm, the same wife that is out of town on a “Girl’s Trip” with her two best friends.

So blinded by love for my wife and children, I thought I should show my face and be a good parent.  You know that kind of stuff where you look like a good parent but are really just going through the motions.

Ahh, high school….

It’s not like I’m totally against the idea of having an informational meeting that will aid parents when they send their children off to high school.  I’m just against the wasting of my time with a meeting that really didn’t need to happen.  It didn’t need to occur; a simple tactful email with the two documents attached to it could have accomplished the same thing.  Think of all the valuable time that could have been saved!  Hours and hours!  My time wasted, my friends’ time wasted, teachers’ time, people I hate…their time was wasted as well.

That time is gone forever.  And I am forever reminded of the pain of that lost time whenever I drive by that school.

 

 

 

 

Dad Decides To Cancel All Future Vacations Due to Lack of Interest By Children

Wait…what just happened?

In a swift and bold mood, Jack Fernwood announced to his family this morning that all future vacations will be cancelled.  Citing his children’s lack of interest in doing anything other than playing on their smartphones, iPads, iPods, computers, and watching TV, Jack made the announcement over breakfast while drinking a non-fat mocha while on vacation in Hawaii.

As Jack drank his fancy coffee drink and made this shocking announcement, no one in his family bothered to comment because they were all too busy playing on their various electronic devices.  When he made the announcement for the fifth time, his 14 year old daughter Sarah was quick to post on her Facebook a scalding post about how unfair her father was.  She followed this post with a self portrait of herself with the sand beaches of Hawaii behind her.

Jack’s 12 year old son Brad was quoted as saying “Whatever” and continued to play his computer game.

Cindy, Jack’s wife (age undisclosed) gave her husband the “I’m going to kill you” look while she texted messages back and forth with her best friend Jackie.

Jack did say that he was tired of spending thousands of dollars on family vacations while everyone was just going to sit around and play on their “stupid phones”.  He cited their recent whale watching trip where his children were texting their friends back home and totally missed the family of humpback whales that went under their boat.

Jack’s friends back home, upon hearing the news, were not surprised.

His friend Raymond offer this insight into his friend Jack’s reasoning.

“Jack can fly off the handle once in while but we’ll come back to his senses.  I mean, really, do you think he has the guts to follow through with this?  His wife Cindy is going to kill him if he tried to implement this policy.  I’m sure we can attribute this outburst to Jack being overtired and grasping at the idea of his family actually enjoying a vacation together.  We all know in this wired world that he is a dinosaur when it comes to old family vacation ideas.”

Jack’s wife Cindy, shrugged her shoulders when asked to comment about this new “No Vacation Policy”.

Sources close to Cindy did give us a little insight into her thinking by mentioning the terms “over my dead body” and “he’ll rethink this little misstep if he knows what is good for him”.

This is the Yard that Child Slave Labor Built!

My neighbors are having phase 2 of their landscaping yard done over the next few days by professionals.  As you can imagine, I feel that this is cheating because everyone knows that if your children haven’t broken their little backs, toes, and fingers making your yard awesome, then you haven’t done anything worth talking about.

This Do-It-Yourself (DIY) work or die attitude has been passed down from generation to generation on both my mother’s side and father’s side of my family.  It is in my blood to see my children (and the neighborhood children) slave away moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other.  I compare of my efforts of creating a wonderful yard to that of the English aristocrats that keep their rose gardens all prim and proper.  I often wear my big fluffy hat as I garden in the flower beds while I wait for my afternoon tea.

Crumpets anyone? photo from http://www.vancouverislandgardentrail.com

Nothing impresses on small children the value of hard work when they can look their hands and see the blisters forming.  To get that visual of a day’s hard work in your hand is nothing short of accomplishment in my mind.  And a few stones that fall onto their toes once in a while will teach them that you always need proper footwear at my house.  Hobble home young underage yard worker, tomorrow is another day of back breaking labor!

One of my favorite moments of teaching is when a child starts to cry after being worked to the bone.  If you can push them a little bit more, they can learn how to push themselves to success.  My motto: If you ain’t crying, you ain’t trying.  They need to learn their boundaries and how to push themselves past the point of self imposed limits.  Success comes to those that push themselves (or are pushed by a slave driver parent).

Valuable lessons abound in making your yard an oasis for you to enjoy.  One of my favorite lessons is to change the project midstream so all of the hard work my kids just did was for nothing.  All of their hard work building that fence is gone once I realize I want the fence three more feet to the left.  Kind of reminds you of your boss at work, doesn’t it?  See!  Another lesson from adult life brought home for children to learn from!  Can you hear your boss now?

“Johnson, remember how I had you write that twenty page report on how we can make our workflow more efficient?  Well, we are switching focus again so your goal oriented results report isn’t going to cut it now.  You’ll have to do it all over.  And I need it by Monday.  Don’t forget the cover sheet on your TPS report too!”

So my request to move the fence three feet to the left is just preparing them for the future.  Am I a great teacher or what?

To get the most out of child workers, you should also offer incentives.  You don’t actually have to follow through on the incentives, but you should offer them.  Tell them: If you finish that 65 foot long rock wall by tonight, I’ll take you to the lake tomorrow!  As you can imagine, when they fail to finish you can tell them that you would love to take them to the lake but you can’t reward failure.  That just wouldn’t be fair.  By setting unrealistic goals, you know that you’ll never have to follow through with your rewards.  Again, another great realistic life lesson for your kids to experience.  Their future boss will do the exact same thing to them in their future job.  They will hate him as much as they hated you as a child.  Yet, they won’t quite make the connection until they are older and in therapy.  By then it will be too late.

You should view your yard as an outdoor classroom.  It is always changing; as are the lessons you are teaching your children.  The neighborhood kids can be invaluable teaching tools as they are extra help for the really big projects and to show the concept of favoritism.  You can treat them better than your own kids. This is to show your kids that they need to work even harder in a fruitless effort to gain your love and attention.  Always tell the neighbor kid he is doing an awesome job but ignore your own kid.  Then sit back and watch your kid step up their efforts.  The sad look in their little faces as they wait for that one positive comment from you to justify their existence is a reward in itself.

As summer rolls on, you should always look to the future of child labor.  Even if your kids are grown up, you can tap into your grandkids.  What if you are young and have no children?  Consider the neighbor kids or even a cousin or two.  Never pay a professional when you can easily watch a half hour TV program and have kids there to assist you in your landscaping dreams!

Ah!  Rock walls....

Ah! Rock walls….

How to Keep the Inmates Happy: Teaching Your Children Good Manners!

One of the best parts of being a parent is getting rid of your kids.  During the summer, some parents like to pawn their kids off to the grandparents for various lengths of time.  The problem with grandparents is that your kids have access to the telephone or electronics.  This means they have a way to bug you and complain about how bored they are.

I know some parents that like summer camp where there is no electronics.  The kids actually have to wait for a letter from their parents for any sort of love.  And heaven forbid that your child actually has to write to you.  With their terrible spelling and texting skills of a monkey, you can totally blow off their requests to come home early.  When you pick them up at the end of camp and they are complaining “Didn’t you get my letter?”  You can honestly say that you couldn’t understand their strange “texting” language and the handwriting was so bad you couldn’t read it anyway.  But it did make an awesome nesting place for their pet rabbit.

I’m pretty much a fan of both ways to get rid of your kids during the summer.  Honestly, I like to get rid of my kids all the time.  If I can’t send them to a friend’s house, it means I’m a failure as a parent.  If no one wants my perfect kids, then I know they must be some of the rudest worst brats around.

With skill and considerable talent, I have trained my children to be polite and well behaved. When they are at other people’s homes, the friend’s parents love them.  They use their manners and we get reports back raving about how wonderful they are.  Man, are my kids the greatest actors or what?  Because if you saw them at home, you’d think they were from two rival gangs in prison, ready to jab a sharpened toothbrush into the other inmate’s neck! 

I keep asking other parents if they are talking about my kids when the good reports come back. Are they sure they have the right kids?  Because the facts and observations they make certainly don’t match up with my in home data that I collect EVERYDAY.

Now and then, my kids will surprise me and get along for an extended period of time.  Usually I start to think that maybe they do love each other and that we should take a vacation together.  It is a moment of weakness on my part to think this way.  I think a 2-3 hour car ride with two rival gang members is a smart idea.  Now who is the fool?

Camping: Your Solution to Making Sure Your Kids Don’t Live With You Forever

Right now your children might be young and you think (hopefully to yourself) that they’ll accomplish anything they set their mind to.  Or maybe your kids are teenagers and your neighbor told you that their child didn’t blossom until they were 27 or 28 years old thus giving you a little piece of hope.  Or maybe your kid is 20, has dropped out of community college for the third time (in three attempts), lives in your basement, plays Black Ops all day, and will look for a job “tomorrow” (after he has his kill streak up to 70).

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but…the hard sad fact is that most likely your kids are losers and will be living in your basement for the rest of their lives.  Oh sure, they’ll move out for a year or maybe two, but they’ll be back…or will they?

Hmm, camping!

Let me introduce the concept of camping and how it can save you from having your children live with you forever.  Camping is where middle class people go out to the local state park and pretend to be homeless for a few days.  We like to cook our meals on a propane cook stove, wash our dishes in three bins, and use disposable paper plates (screw the environment).  We sleep on an air mattress and enjoy the light cotton sheets that cover us on a warm summer night.  We throw up a nice tarp and call it our outdoor living room/dining room/kitchen.

We set up a fairly well stocked kitchen, fill up some coolers with ice, and tell ourselves that camping is fun and easy.  Once we are out roughing it out in the wilderness of the State Park (with power hook ups, clean water, and a flush toilet a few steps away), we forget that we are camping.   We are on vacation and that we have time to be relaxing under the summer sun.

But will your loser children learn anything from your summer camping experiences?  Probably not.  They are too busy running around with their friends, sun block smeared across their faces, and rat nests for a hairstyle.  They’ll fling themselves into their summer sleeping bags (which are worthless during the other three seasons) and sleep a peaceful night’s sleep.

 This is one of those teachable moments you always hear about from other parents brag about but you never get to do because you are too busy yelling at your kids.

By taking your children camping, you are teaching them that camping is a possible housing solution in their near future.  The day will come when you will want to kick them out.  It might be a few weeks later or a few years later, but the day will come.

And this is a very good thing!  Once they reach the ripe old age of 18 or 30 and don’t plan to do anything with their lives, you can give them the ultimatum: do something or move out!  Heck, it’s your house and your parents didn’t give you a free ride to be a slacker, why should you treat your children any different?

With their summer camping experience under their belt, they will think that they are prepared for the real world.  Kick those leeches to the curb, have those children enjoy all four seasons that this great planet offers us (unless you live near the Equator or Australia or maybe South America). Allow your children the pleasure of sleeping in an igloo where the temperature is just above freezing and the drip drop of the melting snow roof falls on their thin, inadequate summer sleeping bag.  Then they can realize their boots are frozen because they forgot to keep them inside their sleeping bag. Now they have to push their wet socks inside their frozen boots.  Has the fun started yet?

Cooking under the open sky!

Imagine the joy your children can experience camping in the torrential downpour of a spring rainstorm.  Everything they own is soaked with the constant rain and there is no place dry in their tent site.  Nowhere to hang up the soggy towel to dry it out, everything they own is wet and damp.

And where do they plug in their Xbox and TV?  Grand Theft Auto V is going to play itself!  Do they run the power cord from the bathroom to their tent?  Oh, the problem solving they’ll have to do!

What about showers and personal hygiene?   No more 20 minute showers when you have to put in a $1 for a 3 minute shower at the state park.

Where will they wash and dry their clothes?  What happens when the sleeping bag gets a little stinky?

Either your children will quickly learn that this isn’t the lifestyle they want and will do anything to live back indoors OR they will decide that this lifestyle isn’t that bad and they like living in a tent for the rest of their life.  Either way, you’ll be taking the unknown part of your child’s future housing out of their destiny.

Add another “Win” for parenthood in your scoreboard for Parents!

 As always your witty comments are welcome!  Or just hit the like button below.

March: The Month of Killing my Children’s Memories

Bears not included

Bears not included

We had a rare weekend of sunshine here in the Seattle area and it was wonderful.  These days are few and far between so when they do appear, we take advantage of them.  We had a little warmth of 50 degrees plus the sunshine for the past two days.  It was today that I killed my children’s memories.

Actually, I started to destroy their memories two weekends ago when I took down the swing set in the backyard.  This weekend I destroyed more childhood memories by tearing down the play tower.

While I may be removing the play structures from our backyard; we aren’t throwing them away in the landfill. I moved the swing set to my cousin’s house for her daughter to enjoy and play on.  I always underestimate how long a project will take to complete.  I always think that something will take 15 minutes but then it turns out to be 2 hours later and I’m only half complete.  The same thing happened with the moving of the swing set.

The floor of the playhouse on the swing set was rotten out so I put in a new floor.  And then the climbing ramp, needed to be rebuilt so I did that.  Then I thought I had better make a new railing because we had taken out the slide and there was a big hole.  A child could fall through that.  While my cousin’s daughter isn’t a moron and I know she wouldn’t fall out of the playhouse, I don’t know if her friends are that smart.  Last thing my cousin needs is some kid getting hurt on the swing set and complaining that they dislocated their shoulder.  Jeez, like I’m responsible for your kid being stupid.

I also figured my cousin could find her own broken glass and rusty nails to throw underneath the play set.  Give it that urban playground feel to it.  I can’t do everything for her kid.  What kind of example is that?  Bad enough I gave her a swing set when we all know she should be sending her daughter out to the local park.

Now our swing set has moved onto another backyard and I have a huge empty spot in my backyard to fill.  Maybe a nice fire pit would be a welcome addition to the backyard.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?

The picture I found from this website: http://www.tcnj.edu/~hofmann/playground/Playground.htm

Sorry, in my neck of the woods (pun intended), we don’t have black bears.

Overreacting to Problems: How to Make Mountains out of Mole Hills.

dishwasher2I love to overreact and make small incidents into extremely big deals.  Today, I did just that to my children.  My kids are now 10 and 14 years old and they love to bicker.  They argue about who’s turn it is to do that or who’s turn it is to do this.  We have a loose chore schedule (because we believe in keeping our kids guessing at all times) of emptying out the dishwasher when the dishes are clean.

This morning, I announced that this afternoon, when they got home the dishes would be clean.  At this point, you would think that my kids would argue over who was going to empty it out.  To my surprise, my daughter said it was her turn.  Good job daughter!  Step up to the plate and do the job.  Where she gets this sense of “doing the right” thing I’ll never know.

However, my 14 year old son had to say “Yup” right after she said it was her turn.  She was offended by this comment and told me he didn’t need to add it in after she said she was going to do the job.

This is when I lost it.

To my wife’s and my defense, we harp on the “getting along with your siblings” thing in our house.  For the most part, they are good kids except for stupid nonsense like this.  So, I went overboard and took away all electronics for the day.  No TV in the morning, no Xbox, no Kindle, no iPods, etc. and it doesn’t stop in the morning.  It is all day.  Once they get home after school, the “no electronics policy” is still in effect.

In reality, I never do this kind of stuff.  Frankly, I like the electronic devices because it keeps me from having to socialize with them and they can watch cute cat jumping videos on YouTube!  Isn’t that what the internet was invented for?  Cat videos and reality car chases?

And think of all the great education they’ll miss out from watching “Family Guy” ,“The Simpsons”, “Wizards of Waverly Place”, and countless others.

I hope they enjoy reading a book, drawing a photo, doing homework, staring at the wall, petting the cat, folding clothes, etc.  And the weather sucks here today.  They can’t go outside.  Well, they could but they would be miserable.  It is pouring down rain and windy so going outside doesn’t look appealing to anyone.  Even the cat and dog have no interest in stepping out the backdoor.  Hmm, might be a great day for some yard work chores.

Teaching Kids about Disappointment and Adversity: What Valentine’s Day is All About!

Argh, it’s another one of those “holidays” where parents, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. are suppose to buy “gifts” for each other to prove their love to one another.  I view this as an opportunity to teach your kids (and your significant other) about Disappointment and Adversity.

You should know by now that if I talk to you or live with you, that you are pretty special.  This extends to my friends as well.  I’m pretty picky on who I hang out or interact with.  If you are reading this, you are even more special than others.

One of the ways you can teach your kids about Disappointment and Adversity is to NOT give them gifts or cards on Valentine’s Day.

What?  But…but…where’s the love?

You want love?  You want gifts?  Here are the gifts of love you should be giving them: Disappointment and Adversity.

They shouldn’t expect this day to be any more special than any other day.  It isn’t Christmas or their birthday; they shouldn’t get presents.  And according to my friend Mike, if you bought a Valentine’s Day card for your wife (or husband), you spent too much on her (or him).  His wife and he have mutually agreed not to exchange gifts or cards on these kinds of “fake” holidays.  I admire that.  They both get a gold star.

If you shower your kids or significant other with gifts now, you have already set unrealistic standards for them later in life.  You have created the opportunity for them to be disappointed later in life, yet not given them the experience of adversity to overcome their disappointment.

For example: What if you are in a different country and are gone for Valentine’s Day?  If you give your children gifts all the time for every Valentine’s Day, you have already set a standard you must constantly live up to.  Your kids will still expect a gift even when you are gone.  You just gave yourself more work to do.  You have to plan something and that takes work and effort on your part.  And will those kids remember your gift in a week?  Will your husband remember that gift in 24 hours?

No, they won’t.

All of your hard work, planning, and effort for nothing.  Your hard work wasted away in the hands of time.  What did you learn from this experience?

What if you don’t do anything?  You just taught a valuable lesson to our children about Disappointment.  After they cried their eyes out and say their mommy and daddy doesn’t love or care about them, they will be stronger.  Nothing makes your kid tougher than tears streaming down their dirty face, a little disappointment entered into their thought process.  They will learn a great lesson on how to overcome adversity.  How will they learn from this experience?  How will it make them stronger?  How will it toughen them up?

Let’s fast forward to your kid in a relationship with someone they care about.  This person forgets about Valentine’s Day.  Because you were such a “good” parent all these years, your kid (now an adult) goes ballistic because their significant other screwed up Valentine’s Day.  But really…whose fault is it?  As a parent, it is your fault because you chickened out and didn’t introduce Disappointment and Adversity at a young age.  For Pete’s sake, everyone knows that ALL problems stem from “daddy” or “mommy” issues we have as children.  Ask any stripper; they’ll tell you.

Life is all about Disappointment and how to overcome it.  A lesson in Disappointment will also teach your children about Adversity.  Your children will cry but this experience will make them stronger, they will overcome the adversity that they are now experiencing.  This lesson would be better taught to your children at a younger age.  Better to learn a valuable lesson at a younger age than later in life (when it will turn you bitter and just make you a miserable person).

As always, your sarcastic and bitter comments are welcome.  Heck, all of your comments are welcome.

Opening Up those Family Lines of Communication

My wife asked me the other day, what do I do all day long.  I wanted to tell her the truth that I usually do nothing but watch TV and read blogs, but that isn’t entirely true.  I usually try to think up of ways to amuse other people with my witty commentary and open the lines of communication between family members.  For an example, the other night, we had a post Christmas celebration with some family friends.  Their children are now 22 and 24 and are both males.  One has a serious live in girlfriend and the other one is in his final year of college.

After a fun evening, they were on their way out the door and I saw the After Christmas Sales Ad for Toys R Us.  I asked the older one (with the serious girlfriend) if he wanted to look through it for some good toys.  However, this was a joint ad flyer with Babies R Us as well as the Toys R Us section.  I told him he should take the flyer home, circle a few of the car seats and baby strollers and then leave it out where his mom could find it.  He would depart to his home two and a half hours away.  She would freak out, frantically call and text him numerous times (which he could ignore and chuckle to himself) as he drove home.

See?  Doesn’t that help to open up the lines of communication in the family?

Like I said, I’m a communications expert in family relationships.

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