All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Am I Mean?

Am I a innovative parenting genius or as my wife claims, just plain mean?  Please let me know in the comments.  I'll give you the situation and then you can choose up sides.

Here is the story.  We don't take the kids out to eat very often.  This is partially due to schedules, money, the fact the kids are picky eaters, and mostly because Mrs. Ipsa is a certified health nut.  That's not hyperbole, that has been her profession for 25 years.  I agree with her.  Most of the food you get when you eat out, at least that our kids like, isn't very healthy.

There are a couple of restaurants that the kids love.  The #1 favorite, which I seldom take them to, is Applebees.  They LOVE the chicken fingers and french-fries.  They get chocolate milk to drink.  To top it off we will split the triple chocolate meltdown.  This is just about as good as it gets when it comes to my children's culinary desires.  It is a great big treat for them to get to go out to eat at Applebees.

My kids, especially the daughter, are at that age where running around saying "April Fools" holds a great deal of fascination.  Not just on April 1st, they started with this back in January.  I have talked them about not doing/saying April Fools.  We've talked about how its not nice to trick people or be mean to each other and then laugh and say it was "April Fools".  I've had a degree of success using the "talk about it" method.

About lunch time today the daughter, little miss April fools herself, informed me she was hungry and wanted lunch.  I asked her if she wanted to go to Applebees.  We talked about her favorite foods.  We talked about the triple chocolate meltdown.  I never said we were going only "wouldn't it be nice, IF we did".  She was ecstatic with joy.  She ran to get her brother and the two of them got in the truck and bucked into their car seats.  I stayed inside working on my to do list.  About 20 mins latter I started fixing grilled cheese for lunch.  The kids came back inside to find out why we hadn't left yet, only to see me finishing getting lunch together.

There were tears when they discovered we weren't going to Applebees. Then we had a talk about April Fools.  My son asked, "You mean April Fools isn't a nice holiday"?  I asked him if he thought it was nice that we weren't going to Applebees.  We had a little talk about tricking people.  They both said they didn't like getting tricked.

I think the lesson has been learned.  We don't trick people because its not nice and we don't like it when people trick us.  My wife thinks I'm mean.

I will probably take the kids to Applebees for lunch on Saturday, but I'm not going to tell them that, we will just go.


  1. WaterBoy3:03 PM

    I agree with you. The children may have suffered hurt feelings, but they'll certainly get over it and learned a valuable lesson in the meantime.

    When I was a boy, there was an incident when my younger brother and I decided to play tricks on the two brothers (both younger than us) who lived next door. We told them that we had a secret to tell them -- when the younger boy put his ear to the fence, my brother spit in his ear. And when I told the older brother that I wouldn't spit in his ear, he put it up to the fence where I proceeded to bite it.

    Well, the inevitable happened when he went into his house crying...told their mother what happened...their mother called our mother...and our mother punished us by biting our ears -- a lot harder than I had done.

    I have never bitten anyone's ear ever again since. More to the point, though, I have never played tricks of any kind like that on anyone ever again. It sometimes takes a harsh lesson to get a point across.

  2. Res Ipsa5:35 PM

    I don't mind jokes. Kids need to learn how to be nice before they start playing tricks or mocking people. Learning how to be good is my first concern playing pranks and being funny is OK in the right time and place.

  3. Susan6:50 PM


    You did just fine. I am a little concerned though about your wife's idea of what constitutes mean. Is she interested in raising scaredy cat kids? Or kids that nobody likes? I have learned a lot from observing parents who subscribe to that definition of "that's mean". None of it ends well Res. Take it from a woman who raised two decent kids to adulthood. You were not mean.

    I do applaud her for trying to get the kids to eat healthy. It isn't easy.

    You did fix them grilled cheese Res. That is like the #1 or #2 item on the hall of fame comfort food list. You are a good dad Res.

  4. Way to go, Res! Same way I learned it from a buddy's dad. Nothing mean about it. It is effective, and, the best part, true.

  5. Res Ipsa10:46 PM

    I didn't think it was mean. I thought it was an object lesson that was done in a way that they could relate to. Nobody likes to be tricked. If the kids don't like it, maybe they won't do it to somebody else.

    It was interesting that my daughter seemed to accept verbal deception, my son was much more affected emotionally, he was shocked that something wasn't true.

  6. Not mean at all. A great object lesson.

    The only acceptable pranks are those where the victim laughs. (Assuming that the victim is a "normal" human being.)

  7. Both.

    Just because something is mean doesn't keep it from being a good tool.