OPINION COLUMNS

The evolution of embarrassing my kids

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, October 22, 2016
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I’m of the age that I embarrass my children.

Or maybe they’re at the age they find me embarrassing.

Either way, it’s a recent development in our household. I don’t hold it against the Little Tribes, because after all, they’re not so little anymore, and it’s not easy being a tween/teen.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

This is simply the path of parent and child, and as our relationship comes full circle, I’ll be cool again, or at least less embarrassing.

So far, my two biggest infractions have been cheering too much at a cross-country meet and bumping a knob on the radio, accidentally changing the station, while my son and a friend were in the car. No big deal to me, but apparently this was an obvious display of my inability to operate the device, which I found out later they thought was hilarious.

These are things I can’t help. They’re part of who I am. If there is a race, I will be yelling. It spawns from a competitive seed deep within me. And as for the radio, I’ve never been known for my hand-eye coordination. These are things I can’t change.

But I have come to realize I can take steps to eliminate things I know will embarrass my kids.

I learned this lesson early on, even before they were teens. About eight years ago, there was a huge ice and snow storm. I bundled up the kiddos and took them out to play. While they attempted to build a snowman and inspected every icicle, I took pictures and shot a few videos.

My oldest, who was age 5 at the time, found a patch of ice and began “skating” on it. At one point he slid into Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk, and although he had no idea what he was doing, I thought it was adorable. I had him do it again, so I could video it and post it to my then-brand spanking new Facebook page.

Because everyone else would think it was adorable, too, right?

And they did. In fact, my Facebook friends thought it was so cute, several people mentioned it to my son, who at the time was shy and terribly embarrassed by the attention.

I deleted it from my page. Even though he was little, he was mortified that I had shared a moment of him being silly, and seeing his reaction, I felt bad for doing so.

Ever since then, I’ve given every Facebook post careful consideration. I still post a lot about my kids – they’re the center of my life – but I stick to their victories and our funny conversations.

If I know it’s something they would say in front of other people, I don’t mind posting it. But there’s no photos of bloody noses. No rants about their messy rooms. No recounting their problems at school. Of course, they have those things; all kids do. But I would be embarrassed if someone posted all my shortcomings, and I think they would be, too.

Obviously, my mere existence is sometimes an embarrassment, for which I will not apologize and occasionally like to egg on, but if I can save them a little ridicule on social media, an arena that didn’t exist when I was a teen, then I will.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger. Although Facebook didn’t exist when she was a kid, she was always worried her mom would tell embarrassing stories about her in the teachers’ lounge at Alvord Elementary.

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