Thursday, March 5, 2009

Embarrassing Kids - And the Future of Parenting

I'll start by saying that the word "embarrassing" in the title is not an adjective, it is a verb.  I'm not going to talk about the fact that kids can be embarrassing.  Instead, I will talk about the pleasure that can be found in embarrassing your kids!  

If you haven't tried this yet, I highly recommend it.  It is so fun.  And so easy!  All you have to do is get around your kids and their friends, and then do something weird.  Here are some of my favorite weird activities:
  • Odd Dancing.  This works great everywhere.  Some of my best work is in the car, however.  You can really get the hand and head motions going.  And they HAVE to sit behind you and watch.
  • Outrageous Singing.  This one is fun, and my wife and I are able to get in on this one together with some wonderful duets.  You can just sing off key and loud, but to really amp it up try making up your own words and adding funny background vocal parts.
  • Overuse Slang.  I love this one!  You can ad an "izzle" to any word for a guaranteed eye roll.  Also, using outdated slang like "groovy" is appropriate.  But if you are really feeling brave, just make up your own slang words!  My father-in-law did this, and the whole family still uses the word "pony" for things that are cool.
  • Be Rude to Their Friends.  It's pretty rare that one of the kid's friends come over when I don't say something like, "Oh.  You're here again.  Hunh."   Let their friends know what an inconvenience it is to have them there and that you're whole day is now ruined.  Then pout and stomp off.  Which brings me to the next point...
  • Be Pathetic.  Nothing is as embarrassing as having a big baby for a parent.  Act like everything they say hurts your feelings more than you can bare.  Hang your head, slump your shoulders, hide your face, or anything you can think of to look extra, extra sad.
  • Be More Excited Than Them.  This one is fun.  Whatever they are into, be MORE into it.  You should here me yell and scream about the Jonas Brothers around my daughter and her friends.  No one was awaiting their new movie more than me, or so everyone thought!
  • Use Nicknames.  Make up nicknames for them and all their friends.  But really amp it up by constantly changing the nicknames while still keeping it related.  Like Allycat to Allygator to Bowling Ally to I'd Hate To Meet You In A Dark Ally.  It keeps them on the edge of their seat!
  • Be a Cheerleader.  You can come up with a cheer for anything.  Mostly it's just the "Ready.  Ready, OK!" stuff.  But ad in some cool cheerleader arm motions, a little clapping, and a bit of stomping and it's enough to get by without knowing any real cheers.
  • Play Matchmaker.  It is always fun to try to hook kids up into couples.  Sometimes the fun is by matching them with someone embarrassing, but sometimes it's fun to really play up someone they may have a crush on.  Talk about the wedding, and the grandkids, and how you'll live with them when you're too old to take care of yourself.  And always refer to them as your future son-in-law or future daughter-in-law.
  • Say Things Wrong.  I'm not so good at this one myself, but my wife really excels at it.  Instead of calling a tunnel a tunnel, call it something like "an underwater bridge."  It also helps to "pretend" to mishear stuff.  If someone says to you that they want fruit snacks, say "no I don't want group sex!"
Those are just a few of the things that we do as parents to stick it to the kids.  And don't let the kids fool you, they LOVE it!  And so do their friends.  They must right?  Or else they wouldn't  keep coming back.   And they wouldn't ask their teacher if it would be OK to have a parent as a backup dancer for their N'SYNC karaoke performance at school.  (yeah...that one was a little embarrassing!)

After you have practiced these enough to feel comfortable, then you can step up to more advanced things like flipping off other parents in the school parking lot.  That one reaches far beyond your kids and their friends and gets the whole school buzzing!

Seriously though, in today's society with facebook and myspace and all the instant social networking, it's important to stay a part of your kids lives in every way that you can.  And if they and their friends find you fun enough to be a part of their circle, then that can only be a good thing.

So, go out there and embarrass the hell out of them!  They'll love every minute of it!

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1 comment:

  1. I've seen parents doing this kind of stuff in the middle of Target. The kids get so embarrassed they finally stop what they're doing and decide to be quiet.