These are the questions you should never ask your children - either because they won't answer (and will give you a look of such horror that you're even asking) or because you really, really don't want to know the answer...
1. What's that under your bed?
Just. Don't. Ask. You really don't want to know what horrors lurk beneath. I've found black, rock hard bananas skins, sandwich crusts you could use as a door wedge, and wine gums that have grown their own eco systems. It's just best to keep your eyes position above mattress level at all times.
2. Will you do your chores if I give you 50p?
Unless you define 'chores' as a collective noun covering all activities from sweeping the kitchen floor to unloading the dishwasher, you will be charged for each item separately. And forever. My seven year-old son has fleeced me of £32.50 so far. It's now cheaper to tidy his bedroom myself.
3. How did you get that lump on your forehead?
It will always be the fault of a rowdy classmate in the playground. "Ben pushed me." "Jason attacked me with a hammer." "Evan pushed me off a cliff." Which, of course, will mean you have to Have A Word with the offender's parents. You will never get to the mundane truth of the matter, as in: "Oh, I accidentally walked into a door." It will never, ever be his/her fault
4. (To sons) Is little Molly your girlfriend?
I thought my seven year-old son was going to kill me when I asked him this question the other day. His face flushed bright red and his lips curled into a vicious snarl as he launched at me, a pillow in each hand, roaring: "Noooooooooooo". In fact, it has proved to be such an effective way to wind him up that his four year-old brother now mocks from beneath the padded safety of his duvet: "Tom lo-oves Moll-lly," over and over.
5. (To daughters) You fancy him don't you?
Reaction almost similar to above when mentioned in conjunction with the words 'Justin Bieber'.
6. Have you tidied your room?
The look of bewildered bemusement may lead you to believe you've just asked them to explain Pythagoras Theorum or the Meaning of Life. What that look in their eyes is actually saying is: "Does not compute."
7. What are you doing in there?
Most relevant to morning bathroom activities, especially where girls are concerned. And especially when you're trying to get out of the door for the school run.
8. What's this stain on the carpet?
Also known as the Blame Game. Watch your children's survival instincts kick in as they each fire the others a darting look combined with accusatory finger-pointing, coupled with the words: "It wasn't me!"
9. What did you do at school today?
The answer is always the same, and comes without syllables. More commonly know as The Shrug.
10. And finally...what do you want for Christmas?
"Well, Dad...are you sitting comfortably?" Or "Well, I do have 20 catalogues here and I've ringed an item on every page."
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