Among the most important rules of parenting are three that a parent should never forget:

  1. Pick your battles.
  2. Whatever you do, don’t laugh.
  3. If they see you laugh, you’ve lost the battle.

I was reminded of this quite recently during a discussion with my 7-year son, Braden, who is probably the quickest-witted of anyone in our family.  If this child doesn’t join the high school debate team and/or become an attorney some day, he’s totally missing his calling.

One morning before school, Braden came to me holding a bag of  Doritos.  “Mom, can I have these chips?” he asked.

“You haven’t had breakfast yet.  You  need to at least eat breakast, and then we can talk about it,” I responded.

With a look that only a seasoned 7-year old thinker could give, Braden responded, “Ya know, Mom…I’m getting older.  I think I’m getting too old for breakfast, so I think I should just go ahead and eat these chips.”

I laughed.  (Rule #2 – failed)

He saw me laugh.  (Rule #3 – failed)

Having failed at Rule #2 and Rule #3, I had no choice but to let him eat the Doritos.  You see, while there are three basic rules for parenting, there’s only one basic rule of childhood:  Best two out of three wins.