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10 Parenting Techniques You Should Use on Your Partner

Photograph by Twenty20

It occurred to me the other night while tucking in my kids at bedtime: Maybe I should employ some tricks from my parenting 101 toolbox on my boyfriend. I had a feeling that if I used some basic parenting tools in my adult relationship, I might save it from disintegrating into the abyss of misery that has been my calling card.

After all, there I was, having just endured a good two hours of my overtired kids' fighting, crying and sleep-resisting. But I was smothering my mini Exorcists with kisses, telling them how much I loved them, all as if I didn't want to throw dishes into the air and watch them drop, just minutes earlier. They drifted off to sleep in bliss, knowing all was fine and they were loved, no matter how good I was at expressing feelings that appeared otherwise an hour ago.

Parenting 101: things you do just because.

If we treated our lovers, partners, husbands and wives with the same basic parenting 101 tools that we use to keep our kids in line and feeling loved and refreshed from the all the bad feelings that inevitably bubble up in a single day, I have a feeling all might be good in the land of relationships. Here are some basic techniques we use on our kids daily, only with an adult twist. They're sure to boost your love life and save you from divorce.

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1. Always give them a 10-minute warning countdown when leaving the house

This will spare you from the rage you will feel when they are late. Countdowns: They save lives.

2. Incentivize chores and helping around the house with a reward chart

Only this one looks more like a late night blowie, pre-dawn sex or good old back massage. Skip the hot oil so you don't ruin your sheets.

3. Always say I love you and smother them with kisses before going to bed

Even if you wanted to file for divorce 10 minutes earlier, or kill them.

4. Bring them breakfast in bed just because they request it

Heck, let them watch a shit ton of TV while they're at it.

5. Flood them with praise about how special, one of a kind and unique they are

Even though most of the time, they're a perfectly typical pain in the ass.

6. When they walk in the door get on your knees and lose your shit like you haven't seen them in a year

Enthusiastically ask them how their day was in a high-pitched voice. Tell them how much you miss them, offer to draw them a bath and take their clothes off. Jump in.

7. Let them fight their own fights

Don't bud in, break up or get in the middle of their fights with your in-laws unless they start using their hands and blood is drawn.

8. Encourage imaginary play, fantasy and never interrupt when in the middle of a good session

Use your imagination for this one.

9. Speak clearly, simply and always use your inside voice

In other words, don't lose your shit and scream like the banshee that you are.

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10. Don't be afraid of time-outs

Only this time, when the shit hits the fan, you take the time-out. Take a walk, grab a doughnut, a fonut, a glass of wine or take a Soul Cycle class. Simply put, calm your frazzled ass down before you start swinging. If that doesn't work, go back to smoking. You sneak those ciggies anyway.

And remember hands are not for hitting but holding, helping and pointing at the asshole you had kids with.

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