As I am close to entering my second set of teen year parenting, my 12-year-old son is already starting to act like a bona fide teen with mood swings, door slamming, having to have the final word and generally being appalled by everything I say and do. We have just returned from our family holiday and on more than one occasion, I would get a deep sigh, an exaggerated eye roll or a comment about how embarrassing I am to be around. So here is my guide to being an embarrassing parent in ten easy to follow steps;
Smother them with Public Displays of Affection
This is top of the list as it is the biggie. Any affection can cause the teen to recoil in horror at the very thought that their parent might want to hug them or even kiss them. How gross is that? However, in public, even if there is absolutely nobody else within a ten-mile radius, this is the worst offence when it comes to being an embarrassing parenting. This is the one that will get you the best reaction. Try it, I dare you. I particularly like to accompany my PDAs with cries of “I love you”, but this does result in a major strop and not being spoken to until they next want something. Generally, the rule is no touching, no cuddling, definitely no kissing, no hair ruffling in public, in fact, if you can keep a metre of space between you and them at all times, that would be preferable. My son did once ask if it was possible to have a restraining order taken out against me, I think he was joking …
Always try to act cool
I am in my forties and I am a parent but I do still like to think that I am quite young at heart. Yet, my son makes me feel like I was born in the prehistoric era. “Youngsters” do think that anyone over 20 years old is ancient and I guess that only changes as they move through the decades themselves. If I buy a new item of clothing that is how should we say, more suited to someone younger, my son will tell me in no uncertain terms to take it off now, he doesn’t pull any punches. Sometimes, I will pick up phrases or mannerisms that they use. Having two boys quite close in age, they often use the same expressions or do strange movements such as the ‘dab’. For anyone not versed in the art of the ‘dab’ it is a head down, arms to the right of your head dance move used a lot recently by sportsmen as a celebration.
Sometimes, I will pick up phrases or mannerisms that they use. Having two boys quite close in age, they often use the same expressions or do strange movements such as the ‘dab’. For anyone not versed in the art of the ‘dab’ it is a head down, arms to the right of your head dance move used a lot recently by sportsmen as a celebration.
Both boys do it all of the time and often do a mini dab which looks like they are punching themselves in the face. But of course, when I did it recently, they both looked at me like I was a three-headed alien and then they fell about laughing. “Don’t do that again, mum.” soon followed. Not cool apparently.
Share lots of photos of them on social media
Oh, look at that photo of him when he was a baby with food all over his face! Let’s share it on Instagram and tag him and his friends to make sure everyone sees it. Erm, that is a huge no-no.
This is a tricky area for me as a blogger and someone who does use social media a lot. The 12-year-old and I have had a few discussions about this topic over recent months and to be fair, I am very aware that he is now on social media a little himself and he really doesn’t want constant photos of him all over the place. Some of his friends follow me on Instagram too, so I always check with him before I post. It is so tempting sometimes though to share funny photos. I took a perfect shot today of him leaning on a sign that said ‘very slow’ and it is really funny but that is not a photo to be shared, just one to make me chuckle.
Try to be funny, especially when their friends are around
This one comes hand in hand with trying to be cool. When they were younger, the boys used to think I was really funny. Those days have long gone. I show them things on TV or I tell them a joke that I have heard and we often have a tumbleweed moment where they look at me with disdain before resuming their normal conversation. I have come to the conclusion that either teen humour and adult humour are poles apart or my sons just don’t want to encourage me. Trying to be funny in public is up there with PDAs, so never go there either.
Lick a tissue to wipe their face
Is there some inherent law that means that once you become a parent, spitting or licking a tissue to clean your child’s face or hands suddenly becomes normal behaviour? Because when you really stop to think about it, it is pretty damn disgusting isn’t it? If my other half headed towards me with a tissue full of his spit, I would probably run for the hills, so why oh why do I think it is okay to do it to my kids? Use wipes people, use wipes. However, when it comes to being an embarrassing parent, which is worse, allowing your teen to go out with something smeared all over his face or sharing some of your spit with him?
Copyright: pioneer111 / 123RF Stock Photo
Share their funny childhood moments with friends of girlfriends
This is another of those things that I know I do, yet I hated it when I was younger. Your kids have their friends round or girlfriends and you suddenly have the urge to share all some of their most embarrassing moments to date, if they are really unlucky, you might even show them photographic evidence to really make them squirm. That really terrible haircut you had when you were three. That time you covered yourself and the house in Sudocrem. That lovely photo of you covered from head to foot in chocolate ice cream. How you used to like pooing behind the sofa. It all comes flooding out.
Shout at them in public
This is something I do try so hard not to do anyway, whatever the age, but as they head into the teen years, they are more sensitive to it than ever. If you are brave/silly enough to try it, it will probably be followed by a killer dirty look and them stomping off in the opposite direction.
Getting drunk in front of them
I don’t drink very often but when I do I get a little bit giggly and silly, but according to the 12-year-old, I become this lairy, loud drunkard. Quite frankly, that is not how it is at all. When we were on holiday recently, I dared to have a drink or two and he was watching me like a hawk and kept hovering over me, reassuring me that I didn’t need another one. It was quite funny but I suppose if he had had to carry me home, it might not have been very funny for him. I will remind him of this a lot the first time he rocks up drunk in a few years. A lot.
Nope, singing is not allowed. It will be tolerated in the house, just, as long as the windows are shut and they are wearing headphones. Singing in the car, singing on the way to the car, singing whilst shopping will not be tolerated, not even if it is quiet singing and it doesn’t matter what song it is either.
Use full name or nicknames in public
I hate my middle name. Loathe it, in fact. I can remember hating it from quite a young age and always refused to tell anyone what it is. So don’t ask me, because I’m not telling you! I often said that I wished I didn’t have one and often pretend that I don’t. I always knew I was in serious trouble when my mum used my middle name too. So why did I give my children middle names? Maybe there is something that happens when you become a parent, maybe the first sight of that beautiful baby suddenly makes you want to give them lengthy names. We did choose middle names that were related to family members, so there was a reason behind the insanity but already the boys are starting to grumble when we use them. My husband is the main offender, he always uses their middle names and they hate it. I only do it when I am cross with them, but either way, it is the worst thing in the world if you do it in front of their friends or in public. I have to admit that I do agree with them on this one too and silly nicknames from when they were younger are out-of-bounds too, completely.
Actually, I think you can carry on breathing as long as it is not too loudly and not too close to them as they will always tell you that your breath smells bad. It is fun this parenting thing, isn’t it?
So there you go, how to be an embarrassing parent. I am apparently an expert according to my offspring if there was an Olympic medal available for being embarrassing I would win gold. It is fun this parenting thing, isn’t it?
It is fun this parenting thing, isn’t it?