Why do teenagers find parents so embarrassing?

Why do teenagers find parents so embarrassing?

Ever wondered why teenagers find us parents so embarrassing?

Me too, friends, me too.

Flea is now 11. So it stands to reason that literally EVERYTHING I say and do is embarrassing these days.

“You don’t have to get out of the car at school, you know,” she says to me. Except on the days she’s feeling nervous, when I’m required to get out of the car.

I’m never sure which sort of a day it is, so on any given morning, I’m usually doing the wrong thing. I’m very much looking forward to next week, when she starts cycling to school herself and I am no longer going to embarrass her by getting out of the car or NOT getting out of the car. It’s very confusing.

But it’s all good. She’s growing up, and in a new environment, and I completely get that desire to fit in, to look like any other senior school kid. Parents are a reminder that you aren’t this cool, confident person so it stands to reason that your Mum and Dad are horrifying.

I can still remember the mortification of my Dad’s habit of singing in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET while we were shopping.

Or that I was a pretty small 11 year old and I started senior school in a coat from Mothercare because Mum said I was too small to go to Chelsea Girl. It was a gaberdine raincoat and everyone said I looked like Inspector Gadget. I was called Gadget pretty much every day for the next five years.

Parents. Ugh.

So I wait in the car. I brush my hair, and wear something decent on the school run. I wait quietly while she’s doing hockey practice and don’t jump up and down shouting, “GOOD SAVE, CHILD OF MINE!!”

Embarrassing Parent Moments

Top 5 things that I can no longer do near my child, because it’s so embarrassing:

  • Don’t sing in public. Turn off the radio in the car before teen gets out of the car.
  • Don’t speak to her friends if I see them in public. I thought this was friendly. It’s embarrassing.
  • Don’t shout, cheer or do ANYTHING to draw attention to myself at a hockey match
  • Don’t comment on her clothes, hair or appearance when in front of anyone else
  • When shopping don’t wait outside the changing room and ask to see what I’m paying for.

Why are Mums so embarrassing?

There are a whole set of rules about things I can’t be seen or heard to do.

Of course, like most things any parent thinks they’ve got completely sussed, eventually it’s all going to go horribly wrong.

Today, Flea needed to check on the timings of a match she’s playing in this weekend. It’s all a long, complicated story but basically we’re going away this weekend, we’ll need to nip home for the match, so I need to know where and when it is. So I asked her to call me from school with the information.

Kids’ phones have to be turned off at school, so she’d need to go into the office and call from there.

“Call me after morning registration and let me know!” I reminded Flea this morning (while sitting in the car and pretending I don’t exist, naturally).

Because of work, I missed Flea’s call. This led to the world’s most helpful voicemail ever. (“Hey Mum, it’s Flea, I was going to tell you the match times but you’re not there. So… call me back. Except my phone’s off. Bye!”)

Fortunately Flea called back at lunchtime, with the start time and location of the match. Flea wasn’t sure of the finishing time but I told her not to worry, we’d work that out later.

Okay, sausage, I’ll see you later. Love you!” I said.

There was a long pause.


“Are you still there, Flea?” 

“I. Just Had. The. Phone. On. Speaker.” my child croaked, in a very small voice.

Oh dear.

I think tonight might be one of the days when I need to stay in the car.

Why do teenagers find parents so embarrassing? Because we ARE embarrassing. Own it.


5 thoughts on “Why do teenagers find parents so embarrassing?”

  1. ha ha, we’ve all done something like that. She sounds like she’s growing up fast. I still love my little man running up to me after school and giving me a big hug and a kiss, the other two don’t any more and I’m dreading it when he’s too cool to continue.
    Good luck for when she’s cycling to school, it’s going to be a whole new experience for both of you.

  2. Oh dear! I’m now panicking about becoming embarrassing mum! I’m also panicking that at some point in the future I’m going to have to put on something decent and brush my hair to do the school run. This hadn’t dawned on me at all until I read your post. Eek, I’ll have to get up earlier!

  3. My daughter cheerfully reminds me on a regular basis how little time she has left at primary school – I dread the day of course. I don’t think any child gets through it without at least a little embarrassment, but we know that they’ll be glad to come home to mum (even if they don’t say so), however mortifying we have been earlier in the day!

  4. Oh no, mine are only 5 and 2 and reading stuff like this means I’m even more determined to kiss them SILLY until this fateful day finally arrives 🙁

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