This week on Outnumbered … Sue agrees to look after a friend’s baby, Jake discovers the perils of two-timing his girlfriend and testosterone levels rise as Pete’s Australian god-daughter comes to stay.
Here are this week’s top ten parenting rules from the house of Brockman.
1. The power of analogy
Pete: Think of the room as a giant iPod – you can turn them on and off all right.
Can’t get your children to perform basic actions around the house? Invent novel analogies they will understand.
Sue: It’s four in the morning, I haven’t slept properly for weeks …
Can’t remember how to assemble a baby bottle? Access your muscle memory. Think of it as a form of method acting.
3. Rewriting history
Pete: Probably not a good idea to experiment on non-consenting children – something they established at the Nuremberg trials.
Don’t be afraid to bend history to your will if it helps to make a valuable parenting point.
4. Read the small print
Pete: I just have to keep her and the devil apart. I didn’t have to swear on the Bible that I’d tell her to wear large underwear.
Ensure you’re aware of the detail of any commitment you’ve made – and more importantly what falls outside the agreed terms.
5. Always look on the bright side
Sue: At least we’ve produced an intelligent liar.
A supportive parent sees the positive in their children, no matter how much of a disappointment they might be in other respects.
6. The power of lateral thinking
Sue: I’ve turned the central heating off. It’s the only way I’m going to stop Stacey walking around like a prostitute.
If you’re unwilling to tackle the issue of your husband’s god-daughter’s skimpy attire head on, think of creative solutions.
7. Follow your own advice
Pete: It’s pointless speculating.
Is it worth worrying whether Jake and his new girlfriend Alex managed to spend the night in the same room after being separated? Of course not. But then follow your own advice and don’t speculate pointlessly anyway.
8. Delegate responsibly
Jake: Basically they’re 99 per cent exactly the same as you and me, except they like Taylor Swift – and salad … A girl is basically a boy in a girl’s costume.
Pete’s attempts to explain to Ben the proper etiquette for when one stumbles upon a naked woman are less than successful (‘you shouldn’t stare – unless, of course, she’s a stripper’), so he instead delegates to Jake, who adopts a novel approach to describing the difference between boys and girls.
9. Exploit weak spots
Sue: Do you think James has got a temperature? … Are you sure? … Think again.
Pete and Sue know they are being lied to by baby James’ parents when they say they can’t get back to pick their son up that day. But it takes a ruthless attack on any mother’s weak spot – her hormone-driven protectiveness – to bring them racing back.
10. Know when to admit defeat
Pete: I’ve forgotten she was in Karen’s with all the … I’ll put out the bins.
You may have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why you stumbled upon a naked girl in your daughter’s room, but sometimes it’s better just to swallow the bitter pill and move on.