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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 10/16/2009

THE LIST: How NOT to Raise Kids

By Valerie Strauss

(The following list of things NOT to do is just for fun. Nobody would really do this stuff, right?)

1) Drag your three young children onto a tasteless reality TV show called “Wife Swap."

2) Tell your kids they’re allowed to cuss inside the house but not in public--then let them make a curse-laden rap video and post it on YouTube.

3) Take them on storm-chasing expeditions, into the eye of the hurricane or tornado, protected only by your car and alleged good judgment.

4) Build an experimental helium-filled balloon saucer in your backyard and allow your kids to play around it unsupervised.

5) When the balloon is accidentally released, call your local television station and tell them your 6-year-old just might be inside it. Ask for help from the station’s traffic helicopter.

6) Look super anguished as the media gloms onto the story, law enforcement officials search for your son--especially after people report seeing something fall out of the balloon--and airplanes are diverted from the area.

7) After your son is found unharmed, be super-relieved, but not relieved enough to quietly deal with the issue in the privacy of your home.

8) Exploit your child by making the rounds of the morning news shows.

9) Keep doing interviews even though your child is so tired he’s dozing off on camera.

10) Don't stop interviews, even if he says he’s going to vomit, or actually gets sick on camera.

11) Make sure your son goes on live television and says, “We did this for a show.”

By Valerie Strauss  | October 16, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Parents  | Tags:  balloon boy, parenting  
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Posted by: bethesda3 | October 16, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I find the above list of 11 things a ton more offensive than what the parents did. Who in the heck are you to judge them like that? Maybe the How Not to Raise Kids list should include "Let them write snarky, judgmental blogs about people they don't know." And, furthermore, what exactly is wrong with being "super-anguished" when your child is missing and then "super-relieved" when he's subsequently found? Really???? That's bad parenting? Also, I think you're throwing around the term "Exploit your children" INCREDIBLY loosely. When you completely exaggerate little stuff and are hugely judgmental for no reason, you need to be careful. There's enough judgment going around as it is. Give it a rest. I mean, seriously, who are you?

Posted by: Urnesto | October 16, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

please tell me you are not a parent or in any way responible for the welfare of a child.

Posted by: tigers4 | October 16, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I second the comment by tigers4. If the media reports are correct, these "parents" called NASA and a local television station before telephoning the police. These people are disgraceful no-talents. If only people would stop watching "reality" television, we would be spared publicity seeking antics like this.

Posted by: jimestw | October 16, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

If only the "morning (and daytime and evening)news shows" would stop creating incentives for pseudo-reality antics. . .

I recommend Pulitzer Prize Winner Chris Hedges recent book, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle." It's scary.

Posted by: DickSchutz | October 17, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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