The Top 5 Ways To (Harmlessly) Embarrass Your Pre-Teen.

Parents, lets be honest: sometimes, it’s just fun to do things that drive your child, especially if they’re a pre-teen, up the wall. In a good way, of course (We don’t want to see any kid in long-term therapy! :-)).

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Photo courtesy of

We are currently raising 2 pre-teens. It’s a lot of fun, for many reasons. It’s great to have them at this age, now, because we have begun to have many meaningful and deep conversations. But, it is also fun to see their eyes roll and watch their heads nod violently when we break out in song or start to show an abundance of affection to one another when they talk about how gross it is that married people kiss (as they dramatically put it).

Since my wife, Kristin, and I are both first children, you can imagine that all of this is intensified to the highest level….a lot!

So, all in good, harmless fun, here are the top 5 ways to embarrass your pre-teen:

1. Dance all the time, even if there’s no music playing.

I usually go for a ramped up version of the Carlton dance (from Fresh Prince Of Bel-air, if you’re confused), and Kristin sticks with a remix of a hula-dance and salsa. If we’re both feeling extra embarrassing we will break out the “This is your world” scene from Hitch, when Alex teaches Albert how to dance at a social gathering. Our pre-teens usually stand, arms crossed, proclaiming our un-coolness! (Double-awesome-bonus points awarded if you make up your own music and sing while dancing!)

2. Wear uncool clothes.

The other day our daughter Carmen, who is nearing her 13th birthday, was getting ready for school, and mildly freaking out about her clothing and which outfit would look better for her first day. At one point in the conversation my wife let her know that she would be ready, at a moment’s notice, to show up at the parent pick-up line sporting her pink-leapard print galoshes. I chimed in and assured her that I would be close behind, 2-stepping, sporting a trucker cap and skinny jeans. Love it!

3. Talk to their friends in movie lines.

We prefer the scene from Mean Girls where the girls walk into Regina George’s mansion and her mother, Mrs. George, sporting a pink suede jogging suit (which is awesome) says, “Hey, hey, hey! How are my best girlfriends? What is everybody up to? What’s the hot gossip? Tell me everything! What’s the 411? Ahh, you girls keep me young!”

4. Talk to their friends period!

The other night, during parent orientation at our daughter’s new school, my wife (being the friendly person that she is) was meeting new parents and students, but also engaging in conversation with a few students that our daughter knew. She kept whispering to my wife, “Mom, stop talking to my friends, it’s embarrassing!” Jackpot! That’s when we realized we had another one to add to our list (it’s the little victories!).

And for the grand finale… 5. Excessively hug and kiss your spouse anytime your pre-teen walks into the room. 

Stand back and watch your child reel in pain as if someone just jabbed a scolding hot blade into their lower back. Relish the dramatic dry-heaving and convulsions you’ve just created by your public displays of affection! You’ll get triple-awesome-bonus points from us if you do this when their friends are around. Heck, when you and your spouse come up for air, speak to your kid and their friends in “romantic” movie lines (I recommend gazing into one another’s eyes as you hold each other close and breaking out Jerry McGuire’s “You had me at hello,” or Dirty Dancing’s “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”). This would be worth more bonus points than I could count!

Ah, parenthood and pre-teens! There’s nothing more adventurous or frustrating. Fortunately you can take out your frustration on harmlessly embarrassing them!

Question: What are some other ways to “harmlessly” embarrass your pre-teen? Share in the comment section of this post! 

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