How To

The Horrible Father Presents: 8 Tips to Surviving The First Day Back To School

The first day back to school can be stressful for a child and – most importantly – the Horrible Father. Here are some sure-fire tips to help you get through your kids first few days back.

  1. Always leave time in the morning for the “I can’t find my stuff” debacle.  Children have a raw talent for losing things…including a brand new pair of shoes that never left the shoe box or a fully packed backpack that was placed on the kitchen table the night before.
  2. Remember: it’s the second day back that kills you. Kids never sleep the night before school starts, but they still wake up early and power through their first day of school fueled by Lucky Charms and pure adrenaline.  Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. On Day Two they will be beasts.
  3. Never trust the school supply lists.  You will spend $600 on paper, folders, dry erase markers (odorless, of course) and Kleenex for them to bring to school, and when your kid gets home she’ll bring home ANOTHER list of essential school supplies.   Seriously, how the hell can one class go through so many glue sticks!?!  On the morning of Day Two, show that teacher who the boss is by putting extra marshmallows in your kid’s Lucky Charms.  Ahhh…Passive-Aggressive sugary goodness.
  4. This is one for The X-Files. Children’s alarm clocks all across the country will mysteriously fail on the morning of the second day of school.  The truth is out there…and you’ll find it still drooling in bed 10 minutes before it has to leave for school.
  5. Expect the unexpected. The cat will always wait until you have one foot out the door to puke. Trick that bastard by leaving 5 minutes early.
  6. After School Clubs. Your kid will want to be in most of them, and expect you to pay for all of it.  Horrible Father Tip: you have all summer to sell plasma and kidneys to pay for the camera that your child “needs” for a photography club that she will never attend. Plan ahead.
  7. Kiss your lunch boxes goodbye.  You know that if you buy a lunchbox your dog will just find it and eat it.  Convince your kids that lunch boxes are too mainstream, and only the coolest of the cool kids bring their lunches in plastic grocery bags.
  8. Congratulations! You’ve Survived back to school! Now take a couple days off of work and play Call of Duty all day in peace. You’ve earned it!
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The Horrible Father Presents: 5 Tips On How To Teach Your Child To Drive

Re-enactment of my first time driving


Driving is serious business.  My oldest daughter Brianna first got her learners permit when she was 15 1/2 years old. She expected to have her license by 16. She’s nearly 17 and just passed her road test. Early on I set the expectation that she would not get her license until I felt she was ready to drive. She didn’t like that.  But now she’s a better driver than 70% of the people on the road around here.  Here are a few things that have made the learning process much easier for both of us.

  1. Start teaching them early.  Start explaining traffic rules and signs well before they get behind the wheel for the first time.  Don’t just loudly declare “That bonehead needs to learn to drive!” if someone cuts you off. Make sure to explain to your child exactly why that other driver is a moron, and how genius your own driving is. 
  2. Start them off slow. Bring them to a quiet neighborhood or an empty parking lot so they can get a feel for steering, accelerating and braking.  Do not pick an area with a BMW or Lexus anywhere in sight. That’s just asking for trouble. 
  3. Make them do simple car maintenance. While this isn’t critical knowledge for them to get their license, you might as well get some free labor out of them for your trouble.  I’ve made Brianna change the wipers, pump gas, and get an oil change. 
  4. Resist the urge to scream in horror. When this happens, keep your wits about you.  Nothing good will come out of you screaming like a little girl. Don’t embarrass yourself.  Calmly, firmly and quickly give precise direction on what you need your child to do. “STOP!” works much better than “SWEET BABY ZEUS WITH A HAND GRENADE – A DEER!”
  5. Teach them about the dangers of texting and driving.  To learn more about how to prevent texting and driving, visit www.itcanwait.com

For additional (and undoubtedly more useful) teen driving tips visit teendriving.com

The Horrible Father Presents: 7 Tips On How To Deal With Your Teenage Daughter’s Boyfriend

If you have a teenage daughter, you’ll probably have to deal with some boyfriends at one point or another.  Let’s get real, none of them will be good enough for your daughter. Ever.  

The ultimate goal here isn’t to let the boyfriend know you disapprove of his existence.  The ultimate goal is to make him think you disapprove of his existence AND are completely unhinged. 

Here are seven of my tried and true methods for intimidating your little girl’s jackass boyfriend. 

  1. When meeting the boyfriend for the first time, make sure your wife is there. Let her do most of the talking. Speak minimally, blink rarely.  Just stare and grunt. 
  2. Never bother to learn the boyfriend’s name. Bonus points if you call him by the wrong name to his face. Or in front of his mother.  
  3. Never allow them to be in a picture.  On occasions where pictures are expected, such as homecomings or proms, make sure to frame it so his head is cut off. 
  4. Make them a card like the one below. 

    Roses are Red.  I’m Brianna’s dad.  I’ll rip your limbs off if you treat her bad. 

  5. Within earshot of the boyfriend, casually mention to your wife that you “hope this guy isn’t like the others because I’m running out of places to bury the bodies.”
  6. When they are in the living room watching a scary movie, make sure to laugh every time a boyfriend meets his end.  If it’s particularly gruesome, mention out loud how you’ll have to remember that one for the future. Similarly, if they watch a romantic comedy, continually emphasize how the main female character could “do so much better than that jackass”. 
  7. On occasion you may find yourself in a situation where you will have to toss something to him – like a football, baseball or car keys. Resist the urge to throw at his head.  Aim for the crotch instead. He’ll still get the message, and he won’t go running to his parents to show them THAT bruise.