Chicago dad: How to teach your kid to do bad things well

As a parent you spend a good deal of time teaching your kids the difference between right and wrong. It’s just a part of what we do.

However, once in a while, we are faced with the dilemma of teaching your kids how to do the wrong things correctly, to keep them safe as they are doing something wrong.

I’m not talking about the proper way to run with scissors or shoot a beer with a shotgun. But there are things that I have run across as a parent that I know isn’t exactly “right” from a societal point of view, but also needs to be taught correctly.

Peeing in the pool – Yes. Don’t deny you haven’t done it. Anyway, the boy and I were swimming in the pool and he announced that he had to go pee, which meant, toweling off, walking into the bathroom, peeling off his wet swimsuit and getting him to the bathroom to do his business.

Or … As I responded, “Just go in the pool buddy. Swim over to the ladder and do it over there.

Now, to a five year old who is a mostly potty trained little dude, he translated that as “Swim over to the ladder, pull down your pants, pull out your pistol and begin to pee in the pool, as if it was a urinal!

As you can imagine, the pool staff wasn’t too pleased. After he was done and things calmed down, I had to teach him “the right way to do the wrong thing.”

“If you do pee in a pool, all you have to do is swim away, blah, blah, blah.” Again, I know it’s gross, but it happens, so keep your comments to yourself!

If you’re going to pick your nose and eat it, make sure nobody is looking.

If you spit your broccoli in the toilet, remember to flush.

If you eat snow, avoid the yellow stuff.

Same thing goes for jumping from a swing. Camp! That’s all I’m saying. The kid now climbs and jumps from everything. While we have had the conversation one katrillion times about how unsafe this behavior is and what could happen, the other day, as he was attempting to jump from a swing, he fell face first on the grass during his back swing.

Once he stopped howling, we had the conversation about right and wrong, but as I returned to cleaning the pool (cuz’ it needed it), he was back at it again! This time I stopped him, got him off the swing and showed him the finer points in how to properly jump off a swing. Not the safest thing, but I am not naive and would rather increase the odds against an ER visit by teaching him how to do the wrong thing, the right way.

As you know, parenting is an inexact science, just when you think you have it figured out, karma throws you a curveball and you can either take it in the head or duck and keep on moving. I am off to work on riding my bike with no hands.

Be safe, have fun, stay calm.


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