1. Goody bags at kids parties: I never understood these. Shouldn’t the reward from a party be getting an invite and proving that you actually have a friend? No one should have to spend extra money on the crap that goes in those bags. The only things a kid should leave a party with are a dirty shirt, a smile and a stomachache.
2. Made-up Graduations: Enough with all the graduations already. You have two in life: high school and college. You do not graduate from 8th grade to 9th grade. You move up, and if you don’t then you’re a “Sweathog.” End of story.
3. Participation trophies: We need to quit devaluing people’s accomplishments by rewarding kids for just showing up. If you want to give everyone a trophy when they’re 5 years old, that’s fine. But if you’re still doing it after they’re 7 then you’re setting unreal expectations for the brutal world that waits for them. There are winners and losers in life and it’s good to experience both.
4. Pokemon: Please, in fewer than 10 words, explain to me what a friggin’ Pokemon is. I’ve spent more on them than I did on my first car and I still have no idea.
5. Doing everything for our kids: Make them clear the table, pick up their clothes and do some yard work. We live in houses, not hotels.
6. Regularly eating out: When we were kids it was a huge deal to eat out—something we really looked forward to and talked about for weeks. Now, our kids not only expect it, they don’t appreciate it. We need to bring the magic back that came with going out to eat; from practicing manners (remember those?) to getting a milkshake the size of your head. I swear I can remember every trip we took to Coco’s when I was a kid.
7. Lunchables: Are they food or evil cooked up in the same lab that made Justin Bieber?
8. Chuck E. Cheese: It’s irritating, dirty, the pizza sucks and kids would have more fun with a killer party you put together in your backyard. Don’t go for expensive and easy; go for cheap with some elbow grease.
9. Movies in the Car: I’ll catch hell from a lot of my friends for this one, but we’ve taken away one of the last places families can actually talk to each other. It’s also a great place to promote reading and battles between siblings. The only exception to this rule is a long road trip—a parent needs to survive.
10. Caillou – He’s a little shit and teaches your kid to whine. Turn on Bert and Ernie for some good ol’ fashion comedy. Fight the power.