How to Embarrass Your Kids

parenting, parenthood, embarrassing, children, parentsOne of the perks of being a parent is embarrassing your kids just by being…you.

Yes, I see the quick smirk on your face. I hear you thinking about the time you sang, “I Can’t Get No…Satisfaction” loudly while standing in line at the grocery store as your kids squirmed in…dissatisfaction.

It’s not like we start out trying to mortify our kids. They initiate it!

For instance – socks. tennis socks, parentsing, children, embarrassing

My man has worn long tennis socks with his shorts since he was a studly 25-year-old, and by god, he’s sticking with those socks (or ones like them) for his entire life. So, when our kids were…kids, they moaned on vacations as we walked the beach together in July, or attended swimming lesson or tennis lessons, or even soccer games, and they had to endure their dad in shorts and “tall” socks.

They’d save their allowance and buy short thick Agassi tennis socks, and stick them in their dad’s sock drawer (and throw out the offending “tall’ socks,” of course). But by that time, tall socks became a symbol of our independence, our stubbornness, and our parenting.

No child of ours was going to tell us what we could or could not wear, or sing, or even admire.

One day I was driving my kids home from a lesson – ballet or soccer or piano or chess or, well, the list goes on. Because we lived off a scenic, hilly road called “Paradise Drive,” we always passed many buff bicyclists. On this particular sunny afternoon, I unknowingly let out a sigh while exclaiming, “look at the calves on that man.”

bicyclist legs, biking, muscles, parenting, children

Well-muscled legs (note the lack of “tall” socks).

My son and daughter both bellowed in two long syllables: “MOOOOOMMMMM!”

“What?” I asked innocently.

“You’re married,” my son expounded. “You can’t look at another man’s legs!”

I came close to muttering back, “I’m married, but I’m not dead,” but instead said, “I’m just commenting on the muscles this guy has built by bicycling so hard.”

No good. My kids were adamant that I should not and could not notice the muscles on any other man but their dad.

Paradise Drive, biking, parenting, embarrassing, kids

On the embarrassing Paradise Drive home.

I realized then that I’d just found a supreme opportunity for future parental embarrassment. So each time the kids and I drove home on Paradise Drive and we passed a well-muscled bicyclist, I’d open my mouth and begin, “Wow, look at the…” And they’d stop me with groans of dismay and the two-syllable pronunciation of my name.

If one of their friends was in the car with us, my children would blush stop-sign red before I even pointed.

Ahhh, the perks of being a parent.  🙂

P.S. I won’t even start with how my stories embarrass my (now adult!) children. Let’s just say, I’m not supposed to write about negligées, sexual attraction, bedroom eyes, or passion (if you’ve read my book THE RIGHT WRONG MAN, you know I still embarrass my kids horribly).  My poetry seems okay to them, though (as long as it’s not about them). Please check out Karen Elliott’s poetry-themed blog this week – she features one of my poems this Friday.

40 thoughts on “How to Embarrass Your Kids

  1. I do love you, Pam! I swear you must be my little sister, or maybe that growing up in Pitman bond, but we are so alike! It is a parental duty to embarrass one’s offspring! And, Bruce wears the same long white socks (even with – gasp – white sneaks!) and gets the same flack from our kids….thanks for the chuckles tonight!


  2. I consider embarrassing my kids to be my highest calling. It’s getting a little harder to do now that they’re older, but my daughter (16-going-on-17) still provides me with many glorious opportunities. Thanks for sharing!!


  3. Such a great read, lots of laughs and smiles – thank you!!! I’m one of those ‘kids’ parents really enjoy embarrassing because I can take life a little seriously. When I was a pre-teen my Dad used to love letting everyone know that i had a Greek name because I was ‘made in Greece’…DDAAADDD!!!


  4. Tell your kids – Just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu. That is a fine cyclist photo, just divine. 🙂 I guess it’s typical that parents embarrass the kids. I actually think my son is goofier than I am (in public) and his kids adore him. Of course, that could change when they hit the teen years!


  5. My poor kids have endured me being in school plus singing at home when their friends are over–hey, one of the buds ASKED me to sing from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on an hour long ride to a skate park once!

    My kids have been hearing me gush over celebrities and tennis hunks since their beginning of time, lol. Guess my nieces and nephews have too. Recently, we were at my brother’s and I must have commented on a wrestler being cute. Nephew 1: “Now you like him?! You love Aaron Rodgers.” Nephew 2: “No, she loves Tebow.” Niece: “Aunt Joanna loves everybody except Uncle Paul!”

    Actually, Aunt Joanna has a soft spot for Rafa Nadal. And Liam Neeson. And Tim McGraw. Oh. And Uncle Paul too. 😉

    Fun post! Have a great weekend!


    • Very cute! Your nephews and nieces sure pay close attention to their Aunt Joanna. You give them something (hunky) to talk about, and I think that’s wonderful.

      Now, have you sung from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to THEM? They’ll talk about you forever.


      • Goodness, gracious, my nephews in particular think I’m out of my mind already. Anytime I sing they run. (They’re 9 and 7 or 10 and 8–I forget b/c there are four of them, lol). My nieces (Ages 11 and 5) are a bit more tolerant. My son’s FRIEND asked me to sing from Joseph. So I did. (Always had this dream of playing the narrator. Funny: the Canadian cast–with Donny Osmond –had a narrator who LOOKED like me. The kids and even I noticed. Go figure. Made me happy! 😀


  6. Oh Pam, this is so great! I love reading your blogs. They are always so cool and inspirational and totally make my day! This one in particular is so funny! I’ve heard mom’s say, “I had kids so I could embarrass them.” Well, like you, I don’t set out to try and embarrass my kids, it just seems to happen! Get this: my oldest son won’t even befriend me on Facebook because he is afraid I will embarrass him…he is 33 years old! My youngest son just said to me yesterday that I do embarrass them no matter what…he is 24. Sometimes my kids would just nicely ask me to keep my mouth shut so as not to embarrass them. Well, now I say…Whatever!!! If I embarrass them, so what! Keep your great blogs coming!!! I also have to admit I have saved several of your previous blogs that I just haven’t had the time to read and will get on them soon. I never want to miss whatever my beautiful friend Pam has to say!!!! Take care girlfriend!!! God Bless You dearest Pam!!!!


    • You make me blush … and I love to blush. Particularly if it’s because of a compliment on my writing. Thanks Beverly, so fun to hear from you, and to hear that we’re kindred souls in the ’embarrasing our kids’ routine.

      Funny thing, as I read about how you can still embarrass your adult children, I realize that my mom STILL embarrasses me, and I just figured out that she loves every minute of it!


      • So great to hear from you Pam. When my mom was still living, I have to admit she still would embarrass me at times as well. Now I find myself sometimes doing the same things that my mom did that embarrassed me then that are now embarrassing to my own kids. Oh well, guess we just keep these fun things going!! Treasure all your precious time with your precious mom and let her embarrass you all she wants…..that’s love sweetie!!!


  7. Oh my gosh, this is so hilarious! My daughter is twelve (about to turn 13) and she’s just begun to get embarrassed with me (and, at the same time, has become convinced that I don’t know anything). I totally have to try this one out on her. Teeheehee. 😉


  8. Oh daughter how do I embarrass you?
    Let me count the ways.
    By singing in a public place
    By hugging you when your friends can see
    By talking English in French supermarkets
    By wearing the wrong shoes
    By talking to the woman in the bakers
    By giving the beggar my sandwich instead of money
    By wearing clothes that are – so last week
    By not wearing make up
    By letting the grey grow in my hair
    By waving to you across a crowded place.
    I embarrass you with a love I can’t hide
    Smiles, tear of all my life and if I chose
    I shall but embarrass you better until
    You have a daughter of your own


  9. LOL. I love it. My book has a few explicit sex scenes that embarrass my dad. He refuses to read them. It’s fun to turn the tables as you get older. 😉


  10. Ah, yes, the conversion to short, ankle-length sports socks. My ex-wife, may she be looked upon somewhere in a good light, was the one who finally got me to make the conversation your hubby is fighting. I do in post-martial reflection thank her for that because I would probably be the only at my gym looking like someone from the last millennium. Still, you gotta hand it to him for keeping that certain look alive — someone needs light the flame and maintain it! Great post… thanks for the (belated) laugh! – Marty

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