1. After your third request to your child to, “Come here so I can brush your hair,” she spits at you. Your response is:
a) Calmly explain that her disrespectful behavior has resulted in the loss of TV privileges before bed for the night, comb her hair, and move on.
b) Launch into a lengthy lecture on germ transmission while flailing your arms in the air and searching for the Clorox.
c) Run away and hide in the linen closet until you calm down or she turns thirty, whichever comes first.
d) Spontaneously combust because you will not, I repeat, NOT have that shit.
2. Upon finding that your child poured himself a glass of milk and in the process spilled three-quarters of the gallon on the kitchen cabinets and floor, you:
a) Find the mop and six bath towels, calmly hand them to your child and go outside to sip spiked lemonade and read a novel on the porch.
b) Send your child to his room for at least twelve years and proceed to clean the mess up on hands and knees, cursing violently the entire time.
c) Burst into tears.
d) Take your child by the hand, grab your purse, walk out the front door one last time, and go in search of a new home.
3. While shopping at the local mall, your child throws herself on the floor after being told that, “No, we cannot stop at the play area today.” You:
a) Say loudly, “Where are your parents, little girl?”
b) Pick up your child, throw her over your shoulder like a fire fighter might, and march to the nearest exit, emitting smoke from your ears.
c) Start sweating profusely and sternly mutter, “Get up, get up, sweet mother of all that is good, just GET UP!”
d) Stand next to your child calmly and quietly, waiting out the tantrum while making a mental note to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss sterilization.
4. On the way home from daycare at the end of a long stressful work day, your child asks, ”Mommy, how do babies get in your tummy?” You say:
a) “Ring, Ring” and pick up your phone as if you are getting an important call and then carry out a fake conversation until you reach your driveway.
b) “Who wants pizza, ice cream, and candy for dinner?”
c) “Well sweetie, when mommies and daddies love each other very much, a magic fairy princess comes to visit them at night while they are sleeping and sprinkles fairy dust down the chimney and in the morning, there is a baby in the mommy’s tummy.”
d) “Ask your daddy when we get home. He knows lots of things.”
5. The first time your son or daughter comes home from school and tells you another child was mean to him or her, you:
a) Calmly ask for the other child’s name, find out where he or she lives, and take off in your car to “address the situation.”
b) Yank your child out of school and rearrange your entire life so you can homeschool him or her.
c) Ask open ended questions about the situation, looking for signs that your child stood up for him or herself while still following basic rules of safety and respect.
d) Order twelve books from Amazon.com on the topics of bullying and self-esteem and develop a nineteen week program for learning how to effectively cope with bullies.
I’m not sure there is an absolutely correct response to any of these scenarios. I can tell you that I’ve either tried or considered each of the above choices at some point in the last five and a half years. As you can imagine, some had better outcomes than others. The key, as I see it, is to respond to the best of your ability, and then go back to the drawing board when the outcome is not satisfactory.
Because, as it turns out, parents are tested daily but perfect scores aren’t required.