Mortified Teenagers

I have a confession to make. I embarrass my kids. Most of the time it’s unintentional. For example, my son will turn down the radio before he opens the car door when I drop him off at school. He doesn’t want anyone to know we’ve been listening to talk shows, blues music, or worse, music his friends might actually like because I’m an old fogey and shouldn’t be listening to anything but talk shows and blues music.

Sometimes, however, my embarrassing nature is intentional.

My daughter deletes any comment I make on her Facebook. It doesn’t matter how simple it is, she has it banished from her timeline faster than I can refresh the page.

The other day she was being a bit too snarky for my taste. So in good humor, I posted ‘I love you’ on her page – ten times. She kept deleting them, but my copy and paste skills were faster than her delete mode could function.

“Oh, we’re playing that game, are we?” she said, a smirk on her face.

“Hey, I just love you very much, and want you and everyone you know to be aware of it,” I replied.

“You really want to go there?” she asked. And I nodded. But then I realized that payback is a, well, you know.

“You better not be posting anything horrible on my page!” I exclaimed, aware that I not only had real-life friends, but also co-workers and some people I didn’t know at all as ‘friends’ on Facebook.

“No, I’m not posting anything on your site,” she said. I went back to my ‘I love you’ paste-scapade and received an error message.

“DQ only shares some information publicly. If you know DQ, add her as a friend or send her a message.”

My own daughter UNFRIENDED ME!

Truth be told, it doesn’t take much for a teenager to be mortified by their parents. Want proof? Try to sound like them. Santa Rosa mom Jessica Snowden described the looks her daughter and friends gives her when a common phrase used by the younger generation slips out of her mouth. “Unfortunately, it could be when the friend who started it is around to hear,” Snowden said. “It’s hard not to have it rub off on you though when they are saying them all the time.”

Pediatrician Pierrette Mimi Poinsett of Windsor confirmed that just the “mere existence of parental units instigates mortification of teens.” Dr. Poinsett, who has a teenage son, advised that if parents want to be able to hang with their teenager, it’s best not to hug or kiss them in public. She also jokingly advised, “never sing or dance in front of your teens, especially in public.”

Of course, all bets are off on that one in my family…

Ann Leach of Santa Rosa agreed, joking that she’ll go out of her way to embarrass her teen as a sort of payback when her daughter is being particularly nasty. “But overall, it’s a great relationship,” Leach said, mentioning that while her daughter’s friends view her as a tough mom, she believes they know how much she cares about them and her daughter.

And let’s not forget the fact that if you are a parent, you are WRONG. Even when you’re completely right, you’re wrong. Santa Rosa dad Matthew Witthaus shared about the time his niece walked in on her mom and stepdad just when they were in the heat of the moment. She “thought she was the wronged one when shouted out the door and chastised for not knocking first.”

But teens don’t always hate their parents. While my daughter is 13, thus at an age when she knows way more than I ever could in my 30 plus years, sometimes she feels more like an ally than the enemy. She’s known to hang with me for lots of mom-daughter bonding time. There have been many nights when we’ve stayed up late watching a movie together or just gabbing about girl stuff. I include her in some of my Girls Nights Out now that she’s no longer a young child. And she’s become my favorite shopping partner in crime.

Witthaus mused about this as well, mentioning the friendship that exists between his niece and her mom regardless of the teen years. “Molly and her mother have a text message habit, communicate constantly on FB, and, if you didn’t know it from looking at them, talk to each other on the phone as one would a sister or best friend,” he said. “Neither of them would have it any other way, and they enjoy, rather than abhor, the comments as to the nature of their ‘sisterhood.’”

My daughter eventually ‘friended’ me again on Facebook. In return, I have done my best to refrain from commenting on her status updates. But seriously, it’s torture to keep my thoughts to myself when she types things like “He makes me smile” as an update.

Who??? Who makes you smile, DQ???

Guess I’ll never know.

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