Tuesday 12 December 2017

It's in our parenting DNA to embarrass our kids

Victoria Beckham fawning over her son, Brooklyn, at a red-carpet event last week.
Victoria Beckham fawning over her son, Brooklyn, at a red-carpet event last week.

NIAMH GREENE

I chuckled when I saw the press photos of Victoria Beckham fawning over her son, Brooklyn, at a red-carpet event last week.

There she was, draped over her eldest, gazing at him adoringly. And there he was, desperately trying not to grimace and wriggle out of her Mama Bear clutches, just as teenagers everywhere do when their parents embarrass them in public.

What parent hasn't dived in for a cuddle, only to be greeted with a repulsed squeal or an eye roll?

We're all guilty of it. Hugging our children is part of our parenting DNA, regardless of their age.

Besides, it's sometimes impossible to remember -- or to come to terms with -- that our babies are growing up and that squeezing them in front of other people is not something they necessarily cherish.

Past a certain age, it doesn't take much to embarrass your child. Sometimes just being in the same room seems to do the trick -- like if you're watching a movie together and a love scene comes on.

These days, unwitting parents can trip themselves up in all sorts of ways. Do you think you're cool for using abbreviations like LOL, OMG or even YOLO when you're texting your child? You're a cyber embarrassment.

Probably even worse is trying to be cool in your fashion choices. If you really want to mortify your teenage daughter, all you have to do is rock up in your New Look jeans -- the same pair she wears.

RUFFLING

Have Dad whiz by on his mid-life crisis bike in too-tight cycling gear for extra punch.

There's nothing more embarrassing than a MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra), except perhaps a middle-aged Mum caught reading something completely unsuitable for her advancing years -- such as that Fifty Shades of Grey.

Some seasons are worse than others for embarrassment. All over the country right now, teenagers are bracing themselves for the cringe-fest that will be Christmas when they will have to deal with hordes of adults pinching their cheeks and ruffling their hair.

Worse, they'll likely be forced to pose for endless photos that they will then have to upload on to these oldies' sad Twitter or Facebook accounts because they haven't a clue how to do it themselves.

It's probable that poor Brooklyn Beckham will be cringing this festive season. Posh and Becks have form, after all -- they named him after the New York district where he was conceived. If all your friends knowing where your parents had nookie isn't embarrassing, I don't know what is.

It brings to mind my favourite quote from my daughter on finding me and her dad dancing in the kitchen to a naff 1980s pop song one morning. "This is how we used to boogie when we were young," my husband said as he twirled me around the breakfast table.

"Oh God," my daughter replied, rolling her eyes. "You two were embarrassing me before I was even born."

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