5 Ways to Totally Embarrass Your Child


Before I had children, I made certain vows to myself about what kind of parent I would be. This exercise stretched as far back as my teenage years when I knew for certain that I had the wherewithal to be an absolutely perfect mother. Given my vast personal experience at having parents -- and long clinical rotations of observing other kids' parents -- I had derived the secret formula that would someday compel my unborn children to thank the heavens above that they wound up with me. In each iteration of this formula -- and it did shift around a bit based on my daily run-ins with these grown-ups -- there was one constant, one tried and true silver bullet that never lost its number one rank in the Perfect Parent criteria list:

I would never ever ever ever embarrass my children.

Remarkably, I held onto this ideal for quite some time. And let me tell you, it is really super easy not to embarrass your children when you don’t have any. I was, in fact the perfect parent, at my wedding, in those early years of marriage, and during both my pregnancies. I remained true to my promise well through both boy’s infancies (blobs don’t get embarrassed), toddler hoods (Mommy does no wrong), and grade school years (I will take full credit for this one, but it was work.)

And then something changed.

As the center of the boys’ universes shifted away from me toward themselves and their friends, my universe began to return back to a place where I mattered just as much (maybe even sometimes more) than those sweet little boys to whom I gave life. Translated: Suddenly, my singing show tunes in the minivan at the top of my lungs with the windows rolled down completely mortified my sons. And I didn’t care.

I employed a bit of dramatic license above. I did not roll the windows COMPLETELY down. But I have, in fact, given up on being the perfect parent in this regard. And in the spirit of embracing my imperfections, I am taking this opportunity to share with you some of the best (and easiest) ways to humiliate the fruit of you loins. (Note: Referring to them as the “fruit of your loins” is always a winner -- as is blogging about them on a weekly basis, but those are almost too obvious.)

Here are five more ways to embarrass your children by doing nothing else but living your life:

Sideshow Mom: Singing your favorite show tunes is almost too easy. You can embarrass your child by belting out a few bars even when there isn’t another human being around for miles. But for some variety, try a popular song that your child loves ... when you’re driving their friends around in the car. (I do a GREAT Mumford and Sons.) And ... for an added kick, get the words wrong. If singing isn’t your thing, just dance. Preferably alone ... in a department store. Or at a track meet. When Bizarre Love Triangle serendipitously comes on over the sound system. (OMG!!! I love this SONG!!!)

Embarrassing Your Kids
Photo courtesy the author.

One of the Gang: Insert yourself into their world ... preferably physically. It is amazing how embarrassing your simple presence can be. For instance, when your kids have friends over and are hanging out in the basement, bring down some food. Then, linger for let’s say ... uh ... ten seconds. Ask if everyone is okay and if they need anything. Watch as your child implores you with his eyes to high tail it upstairs. If you are feeling saucy, ignore the silent plea and take a few steps further into the room as if you might join the crowd. It’s quite a powerful feeling.


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