Refusal to smile on a family photograph.
This is the ultimate betrayal and should be dealt with severely. Up until the point where all your family are lined up at whatever event you’re reluctantly attending, most people will believe the propaganda you pump out that everything is rosy in your garden.
Their refusal to smile, after repeated requests, will send a ripple of fear through the congregation and will signal the start of your decline. Think of yourself as a Roman Emperor and trusted friends are now picking up stabby things.
To regain power you must immediately confiscate their phone and force them to smile. It is OK to hold up proceedings for at least ten minutes while you scream ‘enjoy yourself!’ at your kid.
Not cleaning up Coco Pop spillage.
If you’ve ever been infested by mice you’ll know that spilled Coco Pops look just like mouse droppings, and each time you enter the kitchen, and see this mess all over the surfaces, the harrowing images of removing dead mice from inside your slippers will return to haunt you.
If you’re unaccustomed to Coco Pops, when I say they look exactly like mouse shit, I am not kidding. I imagine when they were created in the laboratory, one developer turned to another and said: “Yes they taste great, but how can we make them look more like mouse shit.”
It will take at least three attempts to get them to mop it up, so the dead mouse image will stay with you, and be repeated daily. It doesn’t get any better when they try and clean it up, because children don’t understand the delicate intricacies of cleaning by using a flannel for mopping purposes, to absorb the moisture, and then gently dabbing with a dry cloth, they will just grab one of your T-shirts and go for it.
Not cleaning up Crunchy Nut spillage.
Same as above but instead of the dead mouse in a slipper image, the spilled Crunchy Nut will remind you of a severe case of dermatitis you had.
Pretending to turn the volume down on their tablet.
On the rare occasion that the whole family are sat in the same room, it is your right as a parent to have the volume control on your tablet set louder than your children’s.
The modern family viewing experience, prior to gadget confiscation, goes like this:
Someone puts the telly on and flicks to a suitable program that all the family members can ignore without being offended by it. It then plays away to itself at an ambient volume that doesn’t drown out each family member’s tablet.
The parent’s tablets are awarded the next highest volume setting and the kids get the lowest. At strategic intervals the kids will secretly turn up their volume. You need to keep an eagle eye on this, as the background chatter of whatever Japanese cartoon they are watching can create an intense throbbing pain in your temples. Please be vigilant. So just to clarify, that’s one eye on the TV, one eye on your own tablet and one eye on the kids.
Intermittently, you need to shout: ‘turn it down!’ to both kids at a level that is much higher than the TV. The sort of level you might expect an armed robber from the 1970’s to shout at a bank cashier. They will in turn scream: “I have. I’ve turned it down!” Please ignore this, as it is complete bullshit. They will then pretend to turn it down. Repeat this scenario for the next two hours until you finally snap, and then you should confiscate anything shiny with an apple logo on it. You can then punish them further by making them watch the TV.