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The Art of Embarrassing Your Children

When you were little, you used to run around naked screaming, 'Take me to the village, take me to the village!"

"You once threw a tantrum out on the street that was so loud people started coming out of buildings just to see what all the fuss was about."

These are the little "moments of your life" memories I like to bring up to my teenage kids, especially when they have the nerve to tell me that I'm embarrassing them.

"I'm embarrassing you," I begin before I launch into a "one time" story that usually ends with the child naked, screaming at the top of their lungs in a public place, or both.

And, come on, how can you even compare the trauma I went through when they were in the midst of the terrible twos (which lasted at least until the age of four in all of my offspring) to my behavior. After all, I'm just trying to get down with my bad self and show what a hip and cool parental unit I am, when I start bouncing to Beyonce in front of their friends. And, I can tell their friends love it when I do this, because they encourage me and sing along. I can tell they all think I'm sick (see, I'm so cool and hip, I even know their lingo).

I'm also a big help when it comes to my daughters' fashion choices, and they just don't see it. I offer to let them borrow my best "Not Your Daughter's Jeans," but they just give me the eye roll and mutter, "Uhhhh, thanks but NO!" I find that very rude. And when we're shopping together, I always try to help them and show them that I, too, know what is in and what is out. "Isn't this top sick?" (I really like this term and use it as often as possible, which definitely enhances my coolness factor) I say holding up the article of clothing to them. The child has the nerve to swat my hands away and say, "Can you BE any more embarrassing, Mom?"

Oh yes, my friend; I can be more embarrassing. Remember those stuffed grape leaves I made for dinner last night? They're going in your lunch bag today. Right along with the napkin on which I've drawn a great big heart and written, "You'll always be my baby."

Kids seem to think it's all about them and are convinced that we parents sit around looking for new and different ways to humiliate our children. I think it's always been that way; that even the ancient philosophers and Roman emperors had to put up with eye-rolling and heavy sighs from the sullen teenagers riding in the backseat of the chariot. I heard one comedian say that if the apostle Paul had teenagers, Christianity would have been nipped in the bud. "We're going to Corinth again? Every time we go there, you're beaten and stoned; do you know how embarrassing that is?"

So if we're always going to be an embarrassment to our kids, let's do it with style. Don't be afraid to sing along with the rap song on the radio during the carpool to school; and if you don't know the words, make some up – its fun! Get up and hug them in a public place; if they squirm, just hold tighter – they love that!

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Tags: Enrichment, Featured Story, Food & Home

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