1. Hide food — This will prevent those overgrown children who live upstairs from consuming a week’s worth of groceries in one sitting. Store chips under the bed. Hang cookies or brownies on hangers in the back of a closet, where they will never look. Stash frozen pizza under five-pound bags of broccoli and carrots. Any type of snack items fit well inside heater vents. (Caution: Use only during summer months.) Fresh fruits and vegetables may be left in plain sight.
2. Never replace toilet paper — While you use your private, hidden stash, it will teach your teens a valuable lesson in self-reliance. If the last square of tissue remains on the cardboard roll for more than 7 days, or your teen is spending a lot of time at the corner convenience store, or rolls of paper towels and shop rags are disappearing, it’s time to break down and replace the tissue. Albeit, with much pandemonium and cursing.
3. You’re not their buddy — Parents and teens cannot be “buddies.” That skateboard might look like fun and sound exciting when trying to “olly a half pipe,” but a broken hip is forever. Their music may seem interesting, but bleeding from the ears is no laughing matter. And trying to decipher the meaning of T-shirts or tattoos has been known to cause aggressive oozing of inner brain tissue.
4. Set a curfew — Teens who are more than two hours late for their curfew should just report in at the local police station to save time. That’s where they will find their mother — sobbing and filling out missing person reports. If more than three hours past curfew, the belated teen may want to check out the website: onyourown.com.
5. Don’t limit screen time — Allow unlimited access to television shows, games and the Internet in 75% of the rooms. That way, no one (least of all — and this is important — the parents) can be held responsible for anyone’s personal idea of entertainment. After all, it was in the room and it was turned on; the young adults upstairs just happened to spend seven hours playing, “Violence, Blood & Death Squared VI.” Not your fault.