Ways parents embarrass their kids? Hmmm, I’d have to say the list is endless.
Up until they were about age 4 or 5, my kids weren’t often embarrassed by me or their dad. We could say or do anything goofy, loud, silly. And they wouldn’t mind.
I just asked my cute 5-year-old if I ever embarrass him. His answer today… “um, not so much”. Good, I’m glad to hear that. But I’m sure he’ll answer differently in a couple of years.
My daughter is 8, and pretty much everything I do causes yells of “MOM. SERIOUSLY. STOP”. I can only imagine when she hits the tween years. I actually find it entertaining that she gets so embarrassed by me, so easily.
I’ve discovered it’s a great way to encourage better behavior. Some may call that blackmail. I choose to call it… persuasion.
I’ve compiled my current list of the best “persuasion tactics”:
1. A favorite of mine is school bus time.
Oh the horror if I try to kiss them as the bus pulls up. I have been warned by my daughter that I am only “allowed” to kiss her before or after the bus is GONE. Down the road, not in sight.
No one on the bus must ever see me kiss her. Or hug her. Or smile at her.
I guess a high-five is okay. She also approved a fist-bump if the bus is still there.
But NEVER, EVER a kiss.
So every morning I smooch her a lot until I hear the bus rounding the corner. Then I stop and she marches way ahead of me. Walking next to her is a no-no too. Sometimes I get lucky and get a wave from her as she gets on the bus.
But I am a smart momma, so I am saving this one in my secret “persuasion” arsenal. One day when she misbehaves, her punishment will be that I will walk her ONTO the bus, kissing her the whole way, and then I’ll yell, really loud – “I love you sweetie pie”. Maybe I’ll even shout a very enthusiastic “hello kids” to all the others on the bus. She may not talk to me for a while, but she’ll behave after that.
2. Another source of embarrassment for my kids is when I sing, or worse… dance IN PUBLIC.
I have gotten to the totally uncool age where I actually like the music playing at Stop & Shop. And I love to sing along, and occasionally dance a little in the aisles.
The funny part is I don’t like to dance in public. But lately I get a kick out of doing it, just to see my kids so embarrassed they pretend they don’t know me. Even my 5-year-old. So if my two are arguing or not behaving well in the store, I just pretend I’m about to dance. It works like a charm!
3. Another source of embarrassment – using pet names in public. When my kids were babies / toddlers, I had so many cute nicknames for them. A few of my favorites – Shmoopie, Peanut, Bunny, LoveBug, Bugsy-Boo, Shnookie-Mookie… I could go on and on. And my kids always loved these names. They’d giggle away.
But sadly, both of my kids have started requesting I REFRAIN from using these nicknames. Especially in public.
I have negotiated their usage at home. And for now, I am allowed to use them, only if no visitors are at our house. We have also agreed to limited use when other family members are around.
I took the liberty of adding my favorite nickname to my son’s birthday cake this weekend (no classmates were there, it was just his family party). I agree that this one is questionable. I’m not sure it’s usage is within our previously negotiated contract. He was slightly embarrassed by it. Especially when we all sang – “…Happy Birthday Dear Shmoopie Poopie, Happy Birthday to you”. He giggled, and it sure made me laugh! I’ve decided I’m holding onto the cute nicknames as long as I can.
4. Yet another way my kids get embarrassed by me is the old-fashioned way to clean schmootz off their faces.
You know it. With mommy’s spit! It’s a sure-fire way to embarrass, and disgust. On many levels, I completely understand. I wouldn’t want anyone cleaning my face with their spit. Gross. But you know you have all done it! And if you haven’t yet, you will! When it has to be done, it has to be done. Just don’t be surprised by your kids’ shrieks when you do.
And I will admit, I have pretended there is something urgent that needs cleaning off their face, as a distraction from an on-coming meltdown. And yes, it worked pretty well.
I’m sure I will discover many, many more situations I cause my kids embarrassment. And I’m sure when they hit the tween and teen years, it will be all the time.
It’s a little hard for me to see how uncool I am in my kids’ eyes. But I know it’s normal, and just a phase. And every mom out there is experiencing it too. Or will. I was just kind of hoping it would start later because I’m pretty sure they will be embarrassed by me for many more years.
But I will wait patiently because I know one day they will come back around and think I am pretty cool again. Someday…
For now, I will find the funny in it and I will use this these embarrassment techniques wisely, and to my advantage, if needed.
And when I have to, I will also remind them that there are plenty of times THEY embarrass ME!
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