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The rules of Cool: Do's and don't of cool parenthood

Ignore these words of parent wisdom at your peril – or risk the censure of the younger generation

Posted: 28 September 2010
by Catherine O'Dolan


Use pet names Under no circumstances should you ever in public, never mind within earshot of his peers, use your child’s pet name Poodle Pumpkin. However cute and meaningful it may be in your household, chances are your child will be teased mercilessly, or an unsavoury rhyme will be found for it, which will malevolently follow your child around the playground for what seems an eternity.

Sports day If you go, don’t get involved: you’ll either be too darned good (and everyone will secretly hate you) or embarrassingly awful (and everyone will feel sorry for you).

Food If you send her to school with a packed lunch, plan the menu carefully. Brie with grape salad sandwiches on rye might be fabulous, but not when all around are eating chips, dippers and cheesy triangles.

Road rage More important than having the right car at the school gates is not losing it when other parents take an age to park, move off. Even cursing under your breath, turning increasingly deeper shades of red and batting your forehead looks damn foolish. Even less acceptable, however, is being one of those parents who double parks then puts on their hazard lights leaving car unattended while nipping to the school gates. Just too uncool to even contemplate!

Smoking Don’t do it. Other parents will ‘dis’ you to your child’s friends and other children will follow you around shouting things such as: “Hey, mister, you’ll lose a leg from thrombosis if you don’t quit.”.

Clothing Never do a Simon Cowell on your child and pull his trousers up to his armpits. Likewise, do not tuck his vest, shirt, or jumper into his underpants, or do the same yourself. And never wear a T-shirt boasting the latest pop legend, such as Thirty Seconds To Mars or Lady Gaga.

TV talk You might think you’re getting down with the homeys, but whatever you say about any programme they like once they are passed the age of four your child and her friends will think you’re from another planet.

Brag You know the stuff; I could have been a Beckham or Bussel. Within an instant the pack will be on you: “Go on then, bend it like…” And you’ll either end up backing down or slipping a disc.

 Sashay Parents should be largely asexual, anything else will lead to unwanted attention. Remember, whatever age your child, they’ll be attending school where there are older, wise-guy kids to interpret your dress sense and body language.

Talk to teacher Outside of parents’ evening such behaviour will have you marked down as a ‘grass’ and your child will never live it down.


Act with decorum at all times Once your child starts school, they have a network to rival the mafia. Anything you do within a three-mile radius of the premises will get back in the most harsh terms.

 Be invisible Until your child asks you to be anything but.

 Heed the above ‘Nuff said. (See how easy it is to be naff.)

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