How do you NOT embarrass your teen?

You can’t.

The end.

Good article everyone. I’ll be here all week. Make sure to tip your waiters.

It’s impossible, right?

You’re going to embarrass your teenager on some level in some way.

That’s just a fact of life. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have . . .  the facts of life. Shout out Blair!

Thank you for that brief sitcom interlude.

I do think parents are going to embarrass their teens, but there’s a catch.

I don’t think it has to be terrible.

I think we parents self-perpetuate this idea that your teens are going to hate you. So many parents told me that when my kids were younger. At dinner parties they’d pull me aside and say, “Ohhh no! You’ll have two teenage girls at the same time? The horror!”

But so far, things have been pretty awesome.

The years can be messy and aren’t easy, but I’ve been overwhelmed at how fun and loving these years have been as well. My oldest is almost 16 years old. Maybe things get bonkers at 17, but I don’t have a lot of terrible things to tell you about raising teenagers.

Maybe embarrassment is like that.

We’re all told we will mortify our teenagers but it doesn’t have to be that bad.

And, if you do these three things, I think you can embarrass your teenagers even less:

1. Let them be themselves.

One of my kids decided she didn’t want to hold hands with me when she was 9. There wasn’t a serious moment that caused this, she decided, “Nah, holding hands in public is embarrassing.” My other kid was OK with it. She held my hand until she was 11. Follow your kid’s lead on the things they find embarrassing. Let them define what’s embarrassing, not you.

2. Don’t fake relevance.

Do you know what’s less embarrassing than faking relevance? Asking your kids for help. They might tease you a bit, but teenagers love to be experts. (Everyone does really.) Instead of pretending that you know all the latest music or apps, ask your kids what’s popular. Instead of posing, you’ll be opening a conversation where they get to tell you about something they care about.

3. Don’t try to be the cool parent.

That’s embarrassing for me to see and I don’t even know you. In every neighborhood or church, there’s a parent or two who tries to be the “cool parent.” I’m not like those other parents. I get it in a different way. Those other parents are lame. Boom roasted! Get wrecked! Lit! You know what teenagers appreciate more than that? Authenticity. Be yourself. Even if you’re a little dorky and prone to dad jokes.

Teenagers are the best.

The years can be fun and full of laughter.

You’re going to embarrass your kids a little.

That’s OK. Your parents embarrassed you, too.

You survived it. So, will your kids.

I promise.

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