Parents should try not to mortify kids

Behaving below your age can embarrass your children./123rf
Behaving below your age can embarrass your children./123rf

Most people can relate to their parents embarrassing them.

It is almost inevitable and comes with growing up.

Most of us can remember how mortified we were when our parents would show up at school, for example, to drop off the lunch box we forgot on the table or bringing the entire class your birthday cake.

We just wanted to crawl under the table. Not because we were embarrassed of our parents - but with them being at school, period!

While most kids are able to get over certain light-hearted, embarrassing situations that some parents put them through, educational psychologist Nombulelo Nzama says that parents need to be careful of doing certain cringeworthy things as this can have a life-long impact on their relationship with their children.

"The child can grow up having a chip on their shoulder about you as the parent, as they would not know when you would put them in a situation where they are embarrassed - again," she said.

"On a deeper level, the child may grow up having walls around them and the level of trust they have towards you as their parent can be diminished. If you can help not embarrassing your kids, I would strongly advise parents not to."

Nzama gives parents some guidelines to know when they may need to tread carefully.

Do not be a slob

Being unkempt as a parent is not only noticed by your kids, but by the general public, who may not mind pointing it out to your teen.

This does not imply that you need to be a neat freak or be the most fashionable parent at the school meeting, but being neat, tidy.

Remember that, after having kids you are generally known as so-and-so's mom or dad, meaning that your behaviour or appearance is tied to the child in question.

Don't be a sloppy drunkard

There is nothing wrong with enjoying your drink as an adult. You are entitled to it.

But drinking excessively and being seen in public staggering home will definitely embarrass your child. It also lowers your credibility as a level-headed parent.

Do not try to be "cool"

This speaks to age-inappropriate demeanour or dress sense.

There is nothing wrong with loving fashion and the latest trend, but if it is something that young people are also wearing, you may want to put it back on the rack.

Do not reprimand them aggressively in public

This is going to sever your relationship with your child. There is no need to scream or shout at your teen in public, no matter how upset you may be.

Save your scolding for the privacy of the car or home.

Watch the age of the person you date

If you are a single parent, you are entitled to mingle and date, but dating too low on the age scale to a point where your significant other is a couple of years short of being in the same age group as your child, will embarrass them.

Keep your bedroom shenanigans to yourself

Sex talk is okay if your child solicits advice, but don't make any reference to yourself. It is a mental picture your child will never be able to wipe off.