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7 Things Modern Family taught me about parenting

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

Or should I say peerenting?

Sure, they have their manic moments. Who doesn't? But when it comes to parenting, Phil Dunphy and the rest of the moms and dads on Modern Family know what they're doing. Here are a few tips I've gleaned from the gang.

1 word: Peerenting

We all know by now that you're doing your kid a disservice if you're only acting like their friend and not their parent. But via a little nugget of wisdom passed on from his own pop, Phil Dunphy shares some pretty spot-on insight: Act like a parent, talk like a peer. You've gotta make your kids feel like they can relate to you, right? Just do yourself a favor and don't call your kid a "sweat hog," OK?

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Walk the walk

I'll admit, sometimes I'm guilty of brushing off the ol' "because I said so" line and using it on my kids. Not surprisingly, it's not the most effective tactic. Phil has the better idea here: Don't just talk the talk — walk the walk. Literally. Even if it's on a tightrope 7 feet above your yard. You'll teach your kids a valuable lesson about following through, make the impossible "un-impossible" and perhaps even find a stellar new way to cross your yard.

Always lock the door during mommy and daddy time

This should go without saying, right? Here's the thing, though. When you've got two kids under age 3 (in my case) or any other combination of multiple kids living in your household, you never know when you might get a minute to, ahem, "talk." As such, sometimes locking the door is the last thing on your mind. But if for no other reason than to prolong having this awkward conversation and/or uttering the word "sensuality" to my kids for as long as possible, you better believe I'll be locking that baby from now on.

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Drastic times call for drastic measures

Dealing with kids can be like Defcon 5 — you never know when s*** is going to get real. And you know what they say, drastic times call for drastic measures. Sometimes you've got to take drastic action to make sure your kids know you're serious. Although, based on my own driving when I was 16 years old, I would not recommend jumping onto the hood of a teenager's moving car. Also worth pointing out? "Sweet and sour chicken!" makes an excellent substitute for your garden variety expletives.

Trying too hard typically doesn't end well

I'm going to give Phil and Claire some credit here and say that I can only imagine your daughter bringing home a boy will make you go a little nutty. And what is worth picking up from this is that you should at least attempt to establish yourself as the authority figure — via crazy eyes or otherwise. Phil's slipup, though, just goes to show that if you try too hard, you might just fall flat on your, um, sweet and sour chicken.

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Sometimes it's OK to blame it on the kids

There have been times I've relied on the kids to help get me out of a situation. Itching to leave a party early? "We're really sorry — the kids are tired." I'm woman enough to admit it. We've all done this, no? Jay's situation proves that sometimes it's OK to let the kids do your light work. Gloria didn't get her feelings hurt by her husband and the boys got to keep their sanity by Manny stepping in. Sometimes things are just easier to hear coming from a kid. You know, out of the mouths of babes and all.

I'm not the worst parent ever

As a parent, it's nearly impossible not to feel like a total failure. One day, I put my kid's shoes on the wrong feet and didn't figure it out until halfway through the afternoon (in my defense, they were boots and looked identical. Honest.). This is why this clip makes me feel better about myself as a mom and about parenting in general — we all make mistakes. Parenting is a circus and we're all just trying to jump through the hoops. But hey, I've yet to shoot my kids with a BB gun... so I've got that going for me.

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