80s parenting style -- smoke a cigarette and lock the kids outside
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Parenting Advice From a 1980s Mom

So you’re having a baby. Congratulations!

No doubt 15 of your closest friends are already planning a Tupperware baby shower in your honor, complete with all the Jello salad and tuna casserole you can eat. But what happens after the crepe paper streamers come down and you’re left with a growing fetus and no clue what to do? Take it from me, a 1980s mom, raising children is easy! Just follow my super-duper parenting advice.

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I’m thinking a jumbo-sized, polka-dot mommy romper with a matching scrunchie would really tell the world, “I’m here, I’m pregnant, and I’m eating Hostess cupcakes for two.” (As well as, “I’m 50% Parisian mime, 50% scary clown, and 100% Kirstie Alley in Three Men and a Baby.”) If you are consulting this article for pregnancy health tips, I don’t know what to tell you. We don’t have Google to freak us out about the fragility of life. It’s the 1980s. Go relax. Drink some Tang while you watch Days of Our Lives and eat paint chips. Whatever.


Be sure to bring your newborn home from the hospital in the itchiest, ugliest, crocheted frock your crazy mother-in-law can knit. Then give your baby formula because it is scientifically superior to breast milk. If your newborn cries in the night, put a pacifier in his mouth and promptly return to your cozy water bed. Whatever you do, do not pick him up. You wouldn’t want to spoil him, would you?

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Babies and toddlers love to sleep on the floors of Dodge minivans. Sure, automobile manufacturers have begun equipping cars with these newfangled contraptions called “seat belts,” but they’re strictly optional. Let your kids roll around the backseat like billiard balls. Also remember to smoke with the windows up whenever you drive. It will help your child’s lungs grow strong.

On Playing with Children

As a general rule, just don’t. Children as young as two should be sent outside, alone and unattended, for hours at a time. Children as young as four should be roaming the streets, exploring such places as your questionable middle-aged neighbor’s garage, back alley ways, the houses of people you’ve never met, storm drains, etc.

In case they’re still in earshot, it is helpful to holler occasional threats like, “Just wait until your father gets home!” and “Don’t make me count to three!” during the commercial breaks of Days of Our Lives. If your kids get bored or try to speak to you, park them in front of the television, but use moderation; screen time should be limited to 20 hours per day. The key to successful parenting is to ignore the very existence of your children while you talk on your landline phone constantly.

Are there parks in your town? No seriously, are there parks in your town? Or my town? Or anyone’s town? We parents of the 1980s have no fucking idea what kind of child-centric activities the world has to offer. But if parks do exist, hypothetically speaking, they should have rickety metal slides that inflict their users with 3rd degree burns in the summertime, swing sets that some jayhole teenager wound around the top pole so that younger kids can’t access them, concrete turf upon which your children will most certainly break their teeth, and seesaws with worse safety track records than Chernobyl. Bonus points if any part of the playground has jagged, rusty, exposed metal.

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When you go grocery shopping, just leave the kids in the car. Remember to buy items from all four of the 1980s food groups: sugar, corn syrup, gluten, and red dye #40. Start your children’s day with Pop-Tarts so that they can ride that sugar crash all the way to lunch (a lunch consisting of juice, PB&J, chips, and Twinkies). Don’t worry that they’ll struggle to pay attention in class after eating a cement brick of junk. Teachers can smack them into submission while the other pupils make fun of them. It’s good for their character.

Sex Education

Sex education is a scary topic. The best practice is to pretend it doesn’t exist and then shame your kids for any curiosity they have about their bodies.

Everything Else

File all other parenting inquiries under the category: Spank them.

Are your children crying? Spank them.

Are they having trouble getting along? Spank them.

Have they asked too many questions today? Spank them.

Are they refusing to finish their dinner after you pumped them full of 12 gallons of orange juice? Spank them.

Did they get upset when you spanked them? Spank them again, but this time make sure you tell them, “I’ll give you something to cry about” while you’re spanking them. They love that and will in no way become insecure, co-dependent adults incapable of expressing emotion.

See, parenting is easy! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see if Stefano DiMera has let Marlena out of the dungeon while I down a bottle of Carlo Rossi.



About the Author

Nikki Morris is a working mom from the great state of Texas. She loves hemming, hawing, and cynicism. At the risk of sounding braggy, she has written for various sites on The Internet. You can find her blogging at Funny (For a Girl) and you can follow her on Facebook.