One of the little things that keeps me going while I am pat, pat, patting my way through yet another sleepless night is the wonderful gift that I will give my children when they are teenagers. This is something that my husband and I like to plan together. Every time someone throws a tantrum in Wal-mart, we find comfort in the knowledge that one day; we will be the ones doing the embarrassing. It warms my heart and gives me the strength to hold my head high and drag my screaming kid through the check-out line and out the door.
There are so many great ways to embarrass your child. You don’t want to be too extreme because you will likely be paying for therapy later but everything you will do will embarrass your kid so it won’t be that hard. When I speak of embarrassment, I do not mean the kind where you make your kid stand out in street holding a sign proclaiming that he/she got bad grades or had a smart mouth. I don’t think that is helpful or funny. Preteens and teenagers are just naturally embarrassed by everything and after the humiliation I have suffered at the hands of my children, I will be happy to engage is some healthy retaliation.
Part of my plan is to very slowly add elements to my wardrobe until I am dressing like a hippie princess. This should be in place by the time Ezra is about 13. I might also wear my hair in a coronet. I think we can all agree that this is an awesome idea but the young people will disagree.
One way to figure out what will be embarrassing to your tween is to reminisce about how your parents humiliated you. Leaving the house is bad enough! T1aking your teenager out to eat is the ultimate embarrassment. There are so many opportunities waiting for you just inside those Applebee’s doors! They have a fine selection of brightly colored cocktails so getting drunk is always an option. Hopefully your server will be in your teenager’s class! Even better! Dad can further embarrass by cracking very corny jokes. If you want your tween or teen to crawl under the table, dig a hole through the wall with a spoon and escape into the freedom of the parking lot; all you need to do is kiss. Kissing parents are the worst of the worst. Do this as often as possible.
Shopping is another mortifying outing. My mother once bought a pair of pants and I almost crawled inside a clothing rack and died. I wanted to die. I did not know how I could get out of Belk with my mom and those pants. The pants were safely in a bag but still. I knew that everyone there would know about those pants. Worse still is taking your adolescent child shopping for underwear. *Maniacal laugh!*
If your progeny has been especially smart-mouthy, you may want to take him/her to the only movie theater in town on a Friday night. All of his/her friends will be present and on “dates” even though they are only 12. You should also make every effort to talk loudly through the entire movie. And sit on the front row so everyone sees! Even if you are just picking up a kid from the movie theater there are so many opportunities. You could honk your car horn. You only have to do it once. Believe me; your 13-year-old daughter will sink so low in her jacket that she will look like the headless horseman. She may even disappear completely and reappear in your car when the commotion has died down.
Sometimes it is fun for other relations to get in on the act! Christmas is a great time for a little heart-felt mortification. Surely you can dig up an embarrassing uncle from someplace. Then you can sit back and eat pie until you fall asleep. Rest assured knowing that you can sleep and a member of your beloved family will take the reigns for a little while. Family’s work together!
Dear young parents, take heart! One day, in the not-so-distant future, you too will have an easily embarrassed teenager. It is never too soon to start planning for this joyful and magical time. Jot down ideas on post-its if you must. Better yet, start a file folder to stick all your ideas written on bits of napkins and old mail. No matter what you do, you will embarrass your offspring. That is a promise. So just sit back, relax, and revel in it. You are welcome to steal my ideas.
Other ways to humiliate and mortify your children:
*Volunteer to chaperone school dance and then actually dance!
*Pick your teenager up from school. Sometimes all you have to do is be there.
*Break out into a dance in public. If you can do a partner dance with the child’s other parent…you are GOLDEN! If it could be in front of a few football players, you get a 1-Up.