How to Humiliate a Teenager

Posted on August 9th, 2013

Note: This is not me. Or Harry.

At some point when you become a parent, you lose your coolness. Seriously. I don’t know where it goes, but it’s gone. And you, the person voted “Coolest” in high school are suddenly lumped in with the rest of the goofy parents – basically every single parent on the planet. There is no escape, no matter who you are or how cool you once were. I’m pretty positive even Mick Jagger’s daughter looked at her dad and thought, “Will he stop with the duck lips? It’s soooooooo embarrassing. And who dances like that at his age?”

Yes, uncool is inevitable. It happens to all of us by the time our kids are teenagers – but you can try to stave it off for a bit by avoiding the following:

  1. Wearing normal clothing.
    There is no easier way to lose your cool than through the clothes you wear. Yes, your child may wear things like Ugg boots with dresses on 106 degree days or baggy basketball shorts with plaid boxers peeking out – but the parent will always be able to embarrass a teenager simply by wearing normal clothing.

    For example, the other day I wore a v-necked shirt. It wasn’t a low v-neck, for pete’s sake. It was a normal v-neck t-shirt from Old Navy. Holy cow, you would have thought the shirt was cut down to my navel. Every time Junior’s friends were around, he would make a not-so-subtle motion for me to pull my shirt up. Seriously? I wore lower cut shirts when I attended Catholic school.  Nothing was visible, people. Nothing.

  2. Breathing in their presence.
    Look, if they could stop you from breathing, they would. It’s not that they want you to die; it’s just that they are terrified that your uncoolness is contagious.
  3. Listening to music in the car with the windows rolled down and singing along.
    It’s not even that you are off-key (hello – that can’t be just me, right?). It’s that you listen to music recorded in the decade in which they were born. Please. These are children who just recently were singing along to “Baby Beluga” and they are humiliated by you knowing all the words to anything by P!nk.
  4. Speaking.
    This is one of the worst things you can ever do to a teenager. Apparently, in teenager land, there exists a law which states, “No parent can ever engage in conversation with the teenager or his/her friends, whether said conversation is meaningful or not. Parents are to remain silent at all times and in fact, it is better if the parent actually leaves the room whenever a teenager and friends are present.”

    The only exception to this rule is if your teenager needs money, food and/or gas. Then you are allowed to speak but only briefly. Basically, you can open your mouth for the exact amount of time that it takes to fork over $20 or a bucket of chicken.

  5. Trying to communicate with your teen using current slang.
    Look, the Urban Dictionary is a scary place. But many parents go there to learn to communicate with their teenagers on their kids’ level. This is guaranteed to toss you into uncool territory forever. Trust me. It doesn’t matter what words you learn there, when you open your mouth and say, “You look swagging in that selfie bro, Yolo.” Yeah. I felt stupid just writing that sentence and no I don’t know what it means. But I do know never to say it out loud.
  6. Being a MILF.
    Sadly, I have no personal experience with this problem due to my fondness for food and the fact that I am allergic to gyms (yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). However, I have it on good authority that no teenager wants a MILF for a mom. If you don’t know what a MILF is, the phrase “Stifler’s mom” may help you.

Of course, in the unlikely event that you have a teenager and are still thought of as cool despite doing all of the above, please do me a favor. Let the rest of us dorky parents in on the secret, OK?

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3 Responses to “How to Humiliate a Teenager”

  1. Gina Says:

    Heck- I am about 4-5 years away from the whole teenager for kids time frame. But, I am special. I have already been deemed uncool by my 9 and 7 year olds. I sing OUT LOUD in public, and dance. Most recently, Busch Gardens Virginia Beach, doing the Maccarena! Not my fault the park played it and I had to dance! Oh, and I embarrass my children with my dress code all the time. I wear jeans tee shirts with crocks ( sans socks) and flip flops. Totally uncool in my daughter’s mind ( 7 yrd old).
    So take heart Manic, most of us are uncool and embarrassing to our children, but their friends love us.

  2. Agent 54 Says:

    Oh, that’s too bad. Another uncool parent. I’m sorry but I was a “Super Cool Parent”.

    It starts by playing Ice Hockey. Don’t give me this “but I’m a woman” bulloney. I skated with and against ladies in my league. They were cool because when I knocked them down, they just got up and kept playing (trying to annoy me and my goalie).

    Next: Music. I still remember turning my kids on to Aqualung. They loved it. “snot is dripping down his nose”.

    Next: Break the rules in front of them. I took them to the Lehigh football game. We sat in the grass endzone with the drunken students a laughed as they got wasted and tumbled down the hill. After the game we went on the field and celebrated the win with the players and half the students. Very Cool. The kids even enjoyed replacing the grass divots in the field made by the players.

    Next: Listen to them. Reserve judgement and just listen. You can always judge later.

    Being cool is not something you wear or say. Being cool is an attitude. You can do it if you try. Don’t give up.

  3. Laurie Says:

    @Gina, LOL, I did the chicken Dance the other day in public. Sadly, my son is so used to that all he said was, Mom, you’re doing it wrong.” Isn’t that funny tho? The friends all think I’m cool. It makes me wonder about them…

    @Agent54, no hockey! I used to live in Canada and I’ve played hockey in all seasons, with stuff that in no way resembles hockey gear. And I do not ice skate. I merely pretend to do so. LOL about the music. My son used to sit outside and listen to Pink Floyd when he was young :) I was a bit worried when he sing all the time about being “comfortably numb.”

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