The Official Ken Jennings 'Because I Said So!' Parenting Quiz

Jennings2Even Jeopardy! didn’t prepare me for being a dad. Nobody, not even Alex Trebek, can ask more perplexing questions in a half hour than a curious five-year-old can. For many years, I found myself authoritatively repeating all the same things my parents told me: no, you shouldn’t sniff your magic markers. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you have a nosebleed, lean your head back. Or, wait, forward? One of those.

I talked a good game, but I honestly had no idea if I was ever right or not. Parenting, famously, doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so if and when we kids, all we have are these half-remembered bromides from our own childhoods. Last year, I’d finally had enough, and decided to write my own instruction manual. The result was Because I Said So!, which uses actual science to verify or debunk over 120 of the most persistent bits of helicopter-parent paranoia I could come up with.

Do you know fact-checked parental love when you hear it? Try the Official Ken Jennings Because I Said So! Quiz™. Which of these deathless Mom clichés are actually good advice, and which are parenting poppycock?


  1. “Don’t sit so close to the TV.”
  2. “Eat chicken soup when you have a cold.”
  3. “Don’t flip the light switch on and off—it wastes money.”
  4. “You need eight glasses of water a day.”
  5. “Swallowed gum sits in your stomach for seven years.”
  6. “Put on a hat! Most of your body heat escapes through your head.”
  7. “Don’t chew your ice, it’s bad for your teeth.”
  8. “Don’t pop your knuckles, you’ll get arthritis.”
  9. “If you pee in the pool, there’s a chemical that makes it turn blue.”
  10. “Don’t feed the dog chocolate.”

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