This Martha’s Vineyard Advice Column Is Everything That Is Wrong With Parenting

bad advice


Dear Nicole:

What do you do when your teenager daughter, who has no visible awareness of her own Jewish heritage yet an acute awareness of her mother’s issues with some Catholic church doctrine, says says she will only go to the Chanukah party if we spend the next year going to Sunday morning mass?

Confidentially Yours,

Dear Dreidel:

First, congratulate yourself on having such a daughter. That is quite the comeback!
Say yes. There are several interesting reasons to say yes. (There are also a few reasons to say no, but they’re pretty boring, so they would make you boring, too.)

She is probably only suggesting this as a strategic move, so you tactically defeat her by agreeing to it. It’s like verbal aikido. Do you really think she wants to go to Catholic Mass for a year? I doubt it. Agree to her offer, enjoy the Chanukah party and then wait for her to change her mind about the Catholic Mass herself. There’s a 99 percent chance that you will not have to go to Mass more than once. She will hesitate before trying that strategy again, without your ever having to play Bad Cop. It’s a win for you with no harm or foul to her.

That’s my take.

That’s one way to go about it I guess, but here’s my take…

Dear Dreidel,

You don’t need “strategy”, “tact”, or “verbal aikido” to deal with bratty kids, just say this…

Listen kid, I don’t know who the fuck you think you are but this is not a negotiation. The next time you try to dictate some kind of deal to me in order to manipulate my decision making process, I am going to take everything that you love on this earth away from you just to remind you that I can. Now go Jew yourself up for the Chanukah party, put a smile on your face, and I might allow you to continue to live. Deal? Deal.

Grow up,

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