It’s about time we modernize some of those old maxims that our parents passed on to us. Those golden oldies are no longer pearls of wisdom, they’re more like pearls of perplexity.

So here are some updates of some of the old adages.

Old: Spare the rod, spoil the child.

New: Send kid to room, he won’t go to ruin.

Old: If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!

New: If you don’t stop crying, you’re going back to the shrink!

Old: Children should be seen and not heard.

New: Has anyone seen or heard from the children? (Works best from 15-years-old to adulthood)

Old: Do you think we live in a barn? Close the door!

New: Do you think oil is still $2 a gallon? Close the door!

Old: If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times …

New: If I’ve told you once, I’ve e-mailed you, texted you, left cell phone messages, IM’ed you and left sticky notes for you a thousand times …

Old: Don’t read at the table.

New: Don’t text, Google or e-mail at the table.

Old: Stop misbehaving or I’ll turn this car right around!

New: Stop misbehaving or I’ll take away your Gameboy and your iPod and turn off the car’s TV!

Old: When I was a kid I had to walk two miles to school in the rain and the snow.

New: When I was a kid there was no Nintendo, all we had was Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

Old: Wait until your father comes home, you’re going to be in big trouble!

New: Wait until your father has custody, you’re going to be in big trouble!

Old: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

New: If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, go out for pizza.

Old: Don’t count your chicken until they’re hatched.

New: Don’t count on driving my car until you’re 25.

Old: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

New: Children who elbow their brother or sister shouldn’t call for mom when they’re punched.

Old: Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

New: A positive attitude is no substitute for studying for a math test.

Old: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

New: Don’t criticize mom’s cooking unless you want to eat peanut butter sandwiches every night.

Old: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

New: You can’t teach mom and dad how to use that darned video game controller.

Old: A penny saved is a penny earned.

New: A dollar saved is just $32,999 short of the cost of tuition at Princeton.

Old: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

New: If you can’t play “Pop Goes the Weasel” on the tuba, keep at it. It’s only going to get better.

Old: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

New: The son who can’t seem to get his clothes in the hamper probably has a father who doesn’t pick up his socks.

Old: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

New: Better the surly boyfriend your daughter’s dating now than the next boyfriend who could be a psychotic, drug-addicted, high-school drop-out and ax murderer.

Old: Practice makes perfect.

New: Practice might not make perfect but it at least makes mom and dad feel better about hundreds of dollars spent on piano lessons.

Old: Every cloud has a silver lining.

New: Every bad report card leaves plenty of room for improvement.

So, keep dropping those pearls of wisdom and try not to sound like a broken record when you repeat them every day. But broken records are so ’80s, so think about updating your advice to your children so you don’t sound like … um … an iPod with a low battery.


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