I figure that between the almost-16 years I’ve been a parent, the 9 kids that our writers have in total, and the countless other “nephews and nieces” I’ve helped raise over the years….IN ADDITION TO the fact that I was a child myself (long long ago)…I’ve become somewhat of an amateur expert on ways to make children cringe and wish the earth would open up and swallow them immediately .
I distinctly remember the time my mother took a group of my friends to Wendy’s after gymnastics practice. As we were enjoying the SuperBar, I noticed out of the corner of my eye she had put a cigarette into her mouth. These were the days when smoking in public was neither taboo nor out of place, so it wasn’t the fact that she was doing it that was a problem. It was the fact that it wasn’t actually a cigarette. It was the fact that she had put (and I swear this is the awful truth) a TAMPON between her lips and was pretending to enjoy it as an after meal smoke. An unwrapped one, I might add.
Yeah, I’m an expert of sorts.
So here is a top-five list of ways I figure we can ruin our children’s social lives and emotional status at any age. Feel free to take it as a list of things to NEVER EVER EVER NEVER do….or as a challenge. It’s up to you!
As a Pre-Schooler:
- Discover that their favorite stuffed animal is in the wash just before bedtime
- Try to convince them to wear an outfit that actually matches or even coordinates
- Forget to put a “love note” in their lunch box
- Only hug them one time before leaving them anywhere
- Tell them they cannot have something they want (ex: to be Dora when they grow up)
As an Elementary Age Kid:
- Explain that they still have to eat their sandwich before their dessert–even at school
- Try to persuade them not to wear a superhero costume or tutu out of the house
- Forget to pack them a lunch on “Meat-Loaf Day”
- Perform the secret handshake poorly in front of their friends
- Tell them they cannot have something they want (ex: the two class gerbils the teacher is giving away)
As a Middle Schooler:
- Dance to your favorite song in the car–when you’re NOT in the garage
- State that their back-to-school outfit from last year is still appropriate for the current year
- Sit with them at lunch and make conversation with their friends
- Hug them in public
- Tell them they cannot have something they want (ex: the iPhone 6s that “ALL” their friends have)
As a High Schooler:
- Suggest a way to disguise a pimple on picture day
- Offer any opinion while shopping for clothes
- Show up on a lunch outing they are having with their friends and join them
- Make them check in by text or phone call when they arrive at a destination
- Tell them they cannot have something they want (ex: a 2am curfew)
As a College Aged Kid:
- Tell them continuously how this is the best time of their lives and it will only get harder from here
- When you see pictures of them on social media, ask why they chose that particular outfit
- Tell them you’re hurt and disappointed when they choose to spend breaks with friends instead of coming home
- Visit them during the most important social event of the year and demand their time
- Tell them they cannot have something they want (ex: an unlimited line of credit)
I think in a few years I will add an “Adult-Kid” category. Any suggestions you can add? We’d love to hear them!