FlourishAnyway is a psychologist, music lover, and enjoyed being an awkward mom to a teenager. Her daughter is now is her 20s.
Adventures In Awkwardness: Embarrass Your Teen Like a Pro
Hey, No Offense
Has your teen had The Talk with you yet? Not that talk. I'm referring to the one that goes like this:
Mom, I'm going to say something that will hurt your feelings. But really, it's for your own good. I hope you're ready. Here goes anyway.
You're not as hip and happening as you think you are. You've seen better days. I mean, you were actually young once, right?
Well, that cool factor fizzled out years ago. Believe me. Now you're like flat soda, last week's bread—you're just another old person trying to act young. And it is so, like, awkward!
Now that we have that out of the way, can I have $20? And what's for dinner? Oh, and I need help with my math homework.
So Mom, Which One Were You?
How to Embarrass Your Teen Like You Mean It
If your teen is like mine, that's their basic message. Sure, some may soften the blow, but really, their point is the same. You embarrass them, no matter how hard you try not to.
So I say let's just quit the charades. If you're going to embarrass your teenager anyway, at least be good at it. And that takes practice, so let's start now. Let's throw ourselves into this!
Here are tips on how to embarrass your teen like a pro.
Required Attire: Step Out In Some Stylin' Mom Jeans
Tip 1: Look the Part
I think my daughter and I started early with this my-parents-are-so-embarrassing routine. She was a mere six years old when she declined my offer to be her roller skating partner at a class party. (Seriously.)
Her reasoning? I wore my jeans too high. Yes, I apparently wore Mom jeans.
My husband enjoyed this moment of truth way more than I did at the time, but therein began my adventures in awkwardness. (Or had they already begun years previously, and I just didn't know it?)
Mom Jeans: Hike That Waistline Way, Way Up!
Required: Mom Jeans and Keds
When it comes to awkward and embarrassing parents, it's essential to look the part. Assess your Mom uniform. Push all the stylish stuff aside. That crap will work against you, my friend.
You need several pair of high-waisted jeans—not too many—and they need to be cut generously through the hip and rear. Pleats or an elastic "give" are a special bonus. They communicate that you don't take your mission lightly.
Mom Jean Superstars
Rising Waistlines: A Laudatory Goal
Perhaps you're lucky enough to know a master in the arts of awkward and embarrassing motherhood—one with a waistline in the netherland of her boobs. Salute that gal's hard work and follow her lead.
It may take you a few years, but keep tugging at your waistband. Your objective is to raise your natural waistline by hiking your jeans up as close as possible to your armpits.
Casual Goes with Everything
Likewise, your mom uniform will require sweatshirts and Keds, too. The most successfully embarrassing moms are the ones who take "going casual" seriously, whether on a dinner date, to the PTA, or to the grocery store. Really, what's the difference?
I find that yoga pants can also be delightfully awkward, especially if you're like me and you don't even do yoga. Hell, I don't even exercise.
If you're really serious about your mission, you can take to wearing track suits, especially those velour outfits. And if you wear one with "JUICY" stamped across your jello behind, well that's bonus points, dear sister.
President Obama Defends His Mom Jeans
I Nearly Bowed Down Before This Woman
I once volunteered at my daughter's school with a woman who took looking the part of the embarrassing mom to a whole new level. She was a master. Royal even.
This Queen and I each sat in folding chairs selling tickets for a school performance (not behind a desk, mind you). My fellow embarrassing mother wore tight spandex, as she was headed to work afterwards. She was obese, but the gal was totally owning her attire.
As we sat with our chairs angled towards the kids, I noticed that the Queen's legs awkwardly didn't close. She was effectively giving the kids a wide-angle crotch shot. (Nice one, mom!)
And then I saw it—couldn't help it, really. An enormous rip perhaps four to five inches wide exposed her pink underwear. I nearly bowed down before this Queen of Embarrassing Moms. This woman was freaking awesome! She even managed to embarrass me a bit.
Reader Poll: What Would You Have Done?
Nope, Too Stylish
Tip 2: Know the Lingo (#KnowtheLingo)
Any self-respecting Awkward Mom must know the lingo. Hashtag speak is one of my favorites, as it provides excellent opportunities for awkwardness. I verbally add the word "hashtag" to random phrases until my teen begs me to please just stop.
Partly, it just amuses me that at some point the "pound sign" got renamed the "hashtag." What's up with that? Here's an example of hashtag speak:
"#DudeDontHurtMe, because I was just trying to be #FreakingPopular with you, daughter dearest, by #SlingingYoSlang. Hey, #ComeBackHere. I need you to #SetTheTableForDinner."
Mom, Did You Know Daniel Boone When You Were Little?
Sling the Slang
Knowing the lingo doesn't require that you keep on top of current trends in slang— because really who can? You also don't need to try too hard to be accurate. Who can do that either? In fact, it's more fun and embarrassing when you just go with it.
Select some of your favorite teen slang terms like "bro," "chill," or "YOLO" and inject them into ordinary conversation. When it comes to being awkward and embarrassing, remember that more is always better!
Here are some examples to get you started:
Inject Teen Slang Into Everyday Conversation: So Embarrassing
|What You Mean||What You Say|
Your delays in doing your homework are making me angry. Start now.
Yo, if you don't do your homework then Mama gonna go all gangsta on you, 'lil biznatch. I said #DoYoHomeWork.
We're vacationing this year with your grandparents. It will be great.
My homies, we gon' go on a greycation. It'll be so chill. YOLO.
Honey, look what I got at Goodwill: sneakers to go with my great jeans.
Aww bro, I popped me some tags. Got me some fetchin' rides to go wit' dese sweet Mom Jeans.
Stop being so dramatic.
Don't you get all emo on me, my girl. #RelaxMyFriend
You're looking confident and attractive.
You got yo swag on. Lookin' chill.
That's ugly or inappropriate.
That's so rachet. Come here and let Mama fix you up.
Tip 3: Dance like You Don't Care ... Because Really, You Don't
If there's one thing the Embarrassing Mom loves to do, it's dance! She knows all of yesterday's moves: the Electric Slide, the Sprinkler, the Running Man, and oh yes, the Cabbage Patch (also known as "churning butter"). Memba them? I thought so! Madonna moves earn you bonus points!
Recall the dance moves of your youth, then modify them for your current fitness level. Just get your booty moving, or at least your shoulders and arms.
Go ahead and shake. Shimmy. It doesn't matter if you're in the car, the living room, or at a public event. If you hear music—any music—consider it your opportunity to shine! And don't stop until your teenager is not talking to you. You got this, Hot Mama!
Tina Fey and Michelle Obama do a nice job of demonstrating in the following video:
Funny Video: Evolution of Mom Dancing
Tip 4: Bring Lots of Attention to Yourself
The most essential ingredient in inflicting your parental awkwardness is that people take note. Get people looking your way. Your teen will remember you for it for years to come.
My teen has given me feedback that my loud and sometimes ill-timed laughter is my awkward specialty. Why, thank you! (I have been known to giggle at a funeral and even did it when my mother got a colonoscopy, but those are different stories.)
Other options for bringing attention to yourself include
- exhibiting over-enthusiasm
- talking to people everywhere you go (don't forget to tell them who your child is in case they miss the connection), and
- telling stories about your teen from early childhood. Bonus points if it's a secret nickname or a potty training story.
Tip 5: Just Sing, O Awkward One!
Go ahead, O Awkward One. Hit the high notes of your favorite songs. Off-key is just fine. Add dramatic hand flairs—feel that music—for extra embarrassment. And don't forget to do this in front of an audience.
What Did They Sing?
I was a latecomer to the awesomeness of Bruno Mars' music, and being the awkward mom that I am, I bought his CD (the old fashioned kind that comes from Target, not the one that is downloaded from iTunes).
Before my teen could drive, I'd alternate ol' Bruno and the roaring fabulous Katy Perry. I'd play them over and over in my car so I could get the words semi-right. In doing so, this awkward mom has become a virtual musical prison on wheels.
If my daughter wanted to go anywhere, she understood her chauffer's background music! She'd tell me I was "so two years ago" (cue eye roll). To this, I eagerly offered, "Would you prefer Taylor Swift?" No one could claim I'm inflexible!
Woo-hoo! This Is How We Do It!
Tip 6: Document Your Fun on Facebook and Other Social Media
Social media is the ideal venue for displaying your maternal awkwardness. You know what they say: the Internet is forever!
But think of it this way: there's no way your kid has time to post promiscuous selfies or get into other trouble with the embarrassing level of attention they're getting from you! Way to go, Awkward Mom!
Photo Bombing My Selfie
While word is that Facebook is "like, so 2008" because the old people like you ruined it, there's also plenty of opportunity for embarrassment on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and other sites. Take advantage of the chance to make a difference in your child's life! One well-timed post can really make them quite the talk of their friends. (That's just what I hear.)
Make sure to "friend" or "follow" your teen and post often about family events. Tag your child's friends in photos to make sure they know you're an involved parent. Comment on photos and posts of your teen's friends, especially those that seem to, unfortunately, escape other parents' eyes.
You can also have a "Throw Back Thursday" where you post baby photos of your child with an endearing story. Dare your child to unfriend you. Seriously, who would do that when you're this much fun?
Documenting Her Fun with Race Car Driver Danica Patrick
Everyone Has Awkward Selfies: Why Not You Too, Mom?
Tip 7: Show Your Love with Public Displays of Affection
Teens love to push affection away—unless of course, it's from other teens. However, when it comes to rejecting hugs, the Embarrassing Mother doesn't get too offended when her kids turn their heads and wrinkle their noses. It just means they'll be back later, on their own terms.
The Awkward Mom also doesn't give up. If teens can declare their love for each other after a week or so, surely they can eek out an occasional "I love you" for the Mother who'd do anything for them—including subjecting herself to all this embarrassment just so she could be hopelessly unhip.
Dad, You're Awkward, Too
In the end, awkwardness unites more than it divides. That's because awkward is something we all are, no matter the age or stage.
As we navigate new life phases—whether adolescence or middle age—some of us simply choose to embrace our natural awkwardness rather than deny its existence. In embarrassment we can find humor as well as one another.
Awkward moms unite!
Locations Associated with Parents and Teens
Embarrassing and All ... You're a Rock Star, Mom
Summary: 7 Fun Ways To Embarrass Your Teenager
- Look the part with mom jeans, keds, and other "comfort casual" clothes. Consider it your uniform.
- Show that you know the teen lingo by adopting "hashtag speak" and "slinging the slang."
- Dance, using all of yesterday's moves: Electric Slide, Cabbage Patch (churning butter), the Sprinkler.
- Stand out in the crowd by bringing attention to yourself any way you can. Make sure people know whose mother you are!
- Dramatically sing the songs your teen loves, especially as you chauffer him or her around town.
- Document your fun on Facebook and other social media.
- Show your love in public with hugs!
© 2014 FlourishAnyway
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2019:
Jacob - Thanks for your "interesting" comment.
jacob purseglove on December 05, 2019:
I defiantly agree with all of these wonderful statements. I personally have embarrassed myself immensely every single day of my life. I love doing this. but I'm really surprised that crapping your pants did not make the list. once as a joke when I was meeting my girlfriend's parents I just crapped my pants right there at the table. they kicked me out of their house, then I had to get a ride home from her dad because I don't have a car or license. he made me sit on towels and it was the worst moment of my life. I just live for moments like these. another one I would suggest is tasting all the closed food at the supermarket. this one does, however, get you in trouble but its all part of the learning curve. I just go to the store and open whatever I want to try and eat some. if I don't like it I just put it back, but if I do like it I will grab a different one from the shelf (i do not want to grab the item I just ate from because then I would be paying for less food). I have taken bites from blocks of cheese, raw chicken, and swigs of wine. the manager was quickly called and I was driven out and banned from the store. I actually left my phone there and I never got it back. when I got home my grandma was so upset at me that she finally kicked me out of her basement, but it's okay I stole her laptop on the way, now that I think of it I should've taken my bed and clothes. but it's okay now I can play Tetris anytime I want. as long as I can sneak back onto her property and steal her wifi without that` boomer kicking me out. I am going to make my kids do all these things as they are growing up to hopefully make them become stronger. I believe they will love it, it is so much fun and it helps us all grow. thank you and please consider adding these two things to your list.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 03, 2018:
Amy - There are some things worth crying over and being humiliated about and other things you just need to let roll off like water on a duck's back. We have all grown up with embarrassing parents, no matter our age. If it really bothers you this much, try talking to your parent(s) rationally, and if that doesn't work, then ignore it. Chances are your dramatic overreactions are fueling their behavior. Best of luck. This will get better as you grow older. All the best to you.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 25, 2016:
Rajan - I can't even wear yoga pants to Walmart without feedback from my daughter. Obviously, anyone who wears yoga pants to Walmartis is overdressed. I've been keeping up with the new slang, too. This is a fun stage. Thanks for reading!
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 24, 2016:
This is a cycle that repeats across generations. Self entertainment as well.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 13, 2016:
Oh, Peggy, my daughter is now 16 and I haven't gotten any less awkward. I am president of the boosters club at her school which horrifies her. She has field trips that I have done major fundraising and organizing for but she begs me to please just stop the nonsense and stay home. Chaperoning, she says, is where she has to draw the line. Those kids have never heard me sing apparently. Or tell jokes. I've got two more years of this before we head off to college. I tease her that we will be roommates.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2016:
This is so funny! If we had kids I am sure we would have done a great job of embarrassing them. The twist would be the dance that I would be doing. You would have to teach me the sprinkler. Ha!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 07, 2016:
pinto2011 - My teen is now 16 and I have never been more awkward or embarrassing. I thought I'd outgrow it, but I don't. The embarrassment lives on!
Subhas from New Delhi, India on March 07, 2016:
These are potentially potent weapons to astonish our kids by overdoing the great ideas projected by you. Great thinking.
Robert Sacchi on January 02, 2016:
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 02, 2016:
Robert - It might only begin there!
Robert Sacchi on January 01, 2016:
Funny article. There is a line from an episode of the TV series, "The Critic", "No one can look cool in front of their parents." You could tell you teen the embarrassment doesn't end with the teenage years :-)
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2015:
AussieAdventure - Keep dancing and singing! Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed it! Have a great day!
Cassandra from Geelong VIC Australia on September 22, 2015:
This is a great article. I am so one of those embarrassing mums and you have given me so many great ideas. I take embarrassing my children to new heights. I love to dance in public and sing out loud. Thanks for your article.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 20, 2015:
Charito1962 - Lots of PDA and social media throwback Thursdays to the diaper days. Thanks for reading!
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on July 19, 2015:
Hello, FlourishAnyway! Thank you for this amusing hub! I enjoyed reading it! But I have a son. Can you tell me more on how to embarrass him without really meaning to? (Ha, ha, ha!)
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 15, 2015:
Minnetonka Twin - these tee years are difficult but the only thing that can help get a parent or loving adult relative through is knowing it doesn't last forever ... and humor.
Linda Rogers from Minnesota on June 15, 2015:
I thoroughly enjoyed this great list of ways to embarrass our teens. I've been living with my twin sister and her two teens for eleven years now, so I can use so many of these tactics. I often get the eye roll and pleas to quit embarrassing them. I hit every button and voted up.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2015:
Embarrassing mum - Thanks for your ideas and for reading!
Embarrassing mum on February 23, 2015:
Wear matching outfits
Walk them to their classroom
Shout mommy loves you
Drop of there lunch at school and stAy for lunch
Be a substitute teacher and call them poopsie paws or pretty polka dot princess
Volunteer for everything pinch there cheeks
If your mean make them wear diapers or dependable
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 09, 2015:
Shades-of-truth - You sound like a tough character who held their feet to the fire. I bet you still do have fun with them. Eight? My hat's off to you!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 09, 2015:
rebeccamealey - Glad you enjoyed this awkward hub! Have an awkward weekend!
Emily Tack from USA on January 09, 2015:
I did not have any issues with my 8 teens trying to act like their peers, but I DID have a few times when they were doing things they should not have been doing, or were not at home where they were supposed to be.
One, I tracked to the mall, when he was 16, and told him if he did not get home "post-haste", I would pull his pants down and warm his posterior in front of everyone. His friends were greatly amused. He went home, and did not repeat that exercise. Another one of my boys went to his friend's house for a party, and did not take our trash out first, as he had been instructed to do. I showed up, and announced to the party why I was there, and that he would be leaving, to take care of it. He was embarrassed, but he did it.
I had a lot of fun with them, when they were teens, and now that they are all grown - I still do!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 09, 2015:
How did I miss this? Too cute, an enjoyable read! So very well illustrated!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 08, 2015:
ologsinquito - Unless he's calling your bluff, he's either a rare fella or simply worn out. Yoga pants for me (worn anywhere I want in lieu of jeans) work wonders. Thanks for visiting and have a great 2015!
ologsinquito from USA on January 08, 2015:
Maybe I need to reread this one thoroughly. My son has told me lately that there's nothing I can do to embarrass him.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 05, 2014:
monia saad - Those pesky teens can be a blast. Thanks for the kind compliments. Have a great weekend.
monia ben saad from In my Dream on December 05, 2014:
i love your article and i wish have teens to try that :)
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 19, 2014:
ShirleyJCJohnson - So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!
ShirleyJCJohnson on November 19, 2014:
I am SO going to share this with my 17 year old. She'll love it!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 25, 2014:
Bill - Even dads can wear mom jeans. My husband's Uncle Frank hiked those bad boys up near to his arm pits every day for years til he was in his 90s and he embarrassed my husband and I clear into our late-twenties. (Rock on, Uncle Frank!)
Bill Armstrong from Valencia, California on October 24, 2014:
Hehehe very nice page, gonna add some of these to my list, thanks for sharing
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 29, 2014:
CatherineGiordano - Thank you for the kind compliment.
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on September 29, 2014:
So funny and so well done.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 25, 2014:
handymanbill - Glad you enjoyed this! Have a great week.
Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on September 24, 2014:
Great. i still hear how my jokes are bad (not funny) this was really funny though great hub. Some great ideas.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 16, 2014:
Cherylann - Some of the unsolicited feedback that I am given by my teenager is so over-the-top. I'm "not allowed" to talk to my cats even inside my own house because it makes me sound lonely. Ha. Oh, the deadpan stares, the eye rolls, the cross arms and "whatevers." It's good to know there's another layer to it. Thanks for sharing that.
Cherylann Mollan from India on September 15, 2014:
This is so hilariously brilliant, it made my morning! On the other hand, I must confess, I sympathize with your daughter and support her in the eye-rolling. (I do it too when my mom stumbles into one of her own super-uncool episodes) You'll must understand though, that we do the eye-rolling in public or in front of you, but in our beds or our quietest moments or when we are away from you for an extended period of time, we find all of this incredibly cute and unforgettable (in a good way) :)
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 11, 2014:
techygran - Thanks for the kind kudos. I find that when it comes to teens, even compliments have a way of being backhanded so get ready for endings such as "... for someone your age" or "... for someone like you." I cut my hair recently and instead of telling me I looked 10 years younger, my daughter told me I looked liked I was in "that 30s awkward Mom stage", that I looked "good but not in a sexy way, just awkward." I asked her if that was meant to be a compliment (?). She just said "take it however." Kids. One day they'll be awkward too! Thanks for the vote and the share!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 11, 2014:
Snakesmum - Nieces and nephews make great practice material. Don't go for the "cool" aunt or uncle. Go for the awkward one. You'll have eyes rolling and heavy sighs and make their parents seem not so alone.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 10, 2014:
Truly funny AND well presented, a rare combination! I'm wondering if the "graycation" gang are shown slightly more kind forebearance than the parent team? My grandkids are not teens yet, so perhaps I am just basking in the joys of the preteen-gran relationship where they enjoy grooming me up and making encouraging comments about my probably not dying until they are in high school. Thank you for the good laughs! Voting you up and sharing!