The Hilton guide to raising children

Hire the Right Nanny: A lot of people think a nanny should be trained in child care, child psychology, nursing and nutrition. But we found that the prettiest blonde with the biggest chest works just as well, even if she can’t speak English. It keeps Dad happy. And when he’s happy, everybody’s happy.

Tough Love: Children are always testing you. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. That’s why it’s so important to put your foot down. But you have to be creative; you have to make the punishment fit the crime. Once, I told Paris that I’d fire her maid if she wouldn’t let her in to clean her room. And I did, too. Paris cried for almost five minutes, but she learned a big lesson -- don’t become too attached to the help.

Names: Give your children a unique name, something that is theirs alone. Like naming them after the city they were conceived in. There’s nothing quite like the look on an 11-year-old’s face when she figures out how she got her name. I can’t tell you the emotions that will run through you the first time you hear your child say, “Ewww, that’s so gross! What if my friends find out?” Priceless.



Set Limits: We suggest 3 or 4 million a year. If you give children more than that, they’ll think money grows on trees, when we all know it really comes from Granddaddy.

Respect Your Children’s Privacy: Don’t go snooping around You Tube trying to find sex videos starring your children. Those videos are extremely private and meant only for their friends and hundreds of millions of people around the world, the Russian mafia and lonely men on oil-drilling platforms in the North Sea.

Emphasize the Value of an Education: Explain to children that if they don’t learn math, they’ll never figure out how much to tip. If they don’t study geography, they’ll never know the difference between a vacation in Capri and one in Majorca. If they don’t study history, they won’t know how Columbus discovered Plymouth Rock.

Communication: Communication between parents and children is crucial. Many problems are caused by simple misunderstandings. Whenever we’re going to be globetrotting for more than a couple of months, we almost always leave the kids a note on the fridge door. “See you next March,” or something like that, so they’ll know how much we miss them.

Set Boundaries: Your rules may be different, but we always make sure that the Middle East and North Korea are “off limits” for our children, unless they’re with someone we know or someone really famous.

Know Their Friends: Are your children hanging around with the wrong crowd, picking up bad habits? All too often we run into parents who don’t realize that a child’s friends have more influence on them than their parents. All our children’s friends have been to the best drug and alcohol rehab centers in the country. They are top-notch. It just makes common sense; they’re our children, we owe them the very best.

Pick Your Battles: Does every conversation with your child turn into a fight? Why not do what we do? Go shopping -- Milan or Tokyo. There’s nothing like a spending spree to cheer everyone up. Or go to a spa together for a week or two. Take a break from all of life’s little ups and downs.

Discipline: Sometimes, you have to lay down the law. Which is why we have a lawyer on retainer just for that reason. We call him whenever the children misbehave and he gives them a good talking to. Then we send them to the house in Cabo to let them think about what they’ve done.

Raising happy, well-adjusted children isn’t easy; you’ll have some sleepless nights, but in the end, remember, if you do it right, it’s you they’ll call first for bail.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2007, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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