Get the most out of embarrassing your children: plan ahead

Posted on March 14, 2012

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Dad's coming to the prom

Welcome to this edition of WTF Wednesday, where the advice is made with 100% real ingredients in mind.

This week’s question comes from author DC McMillen (@mcmillendc), owner of the blog e-rotica.

She writes,

Dear IBMP,

When is it appropriate to purposely embarrass your children in public?

Since I’m a blogger I’m more qualified to give my opinion than, say, experts. But many questions are best answered with, “Well, that depends.” Those answers require sufficient waffling to ensure all my bases are covered.

There are times, however, when the answer is so clear cut that no waffling is required. This is one of those times.

When is it appropriate to purposely embarrass your children in public? Any chance you get. It’s that simple.

As I have described in the past, the need to embarrass our children is built into our DNA. It’s as much a part of parenting as complaining about our children’s music. You don’t waste energy contemplating the appropriate time to ask your daughter if she really plans on going out dressed like that; you just fire it off without the unnecessary burden of conscious restraint. This is pretty much the same thing.

I did extensive research to determine whether there is a time that would be inappropriate for embarrassing one’s children and, when I finished my beer, concluded that there simply is not such a time.

Keep in mind, however, that even though it’s instinctual, embarrassing your children can often benefit from a little planning. Here are a few planning tips:

  • Keep an eye out for calls for volunteers at the school. There are loads of opportunities to embarrass your kids and look great in front of your neighbors at the same time. One of the most powerful embarrassment opportunities is the middle school dance. Chaperone that and you’re golden.
  • With a little planning, and perhaps some strategic eavesdropping, you can “accidentally” run into your daughter at the mall. Try and plan it so you bump into her at the food court; that’s where she’s most likely to be hanging with the boy she’d least like to meet you.
  • Social media provides all kinds of great opportunities to embarrass your child. Make sure to learn the basics of Facebook and Twitter, and comment on everything they say and do. Use handles like “Billie’sDaddy” or “ILoveMySchnookums”.
  • Plan ahead. Way ahead. The smart parent ensures that they continue to embarrass their children even after they’re dead. It’s as simple as including in your will the reasons your son’s cat got all the money and your son got your Beanie Baby collection.

With just a little bit of effort and planning, you can be the embarrassing parent that you’ve always strived to be.

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

I’m quite sure our readers have some tips of their own, so let’s hear ’em…

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Posted in: Advice (bad)