You owe it to yourself to humiliate your children.
When they’re older they’ll do it to themselves, whether they like it or not. It’s totally inevitable that at some point in their lives our children will be the focus of widespread ridicule as the result of some embarrassing miscue, whether it’s accidentally going into the girls’ bathroom or clumsily tripping on stage as they reach for their diploma or someone filming a video of them when they’re so drunk their attempts at speech sound like Chewbacca making love to the Hulk.
It’ll happen. Just as it’s happened to all of us. Until it does, it’s your job. And it must be done.
As teeny, tiny children, being humiliated does not come easy, both because they aren’t old enough to feel shame and because almost everything they do – be it a blunder or intentional – is easily dismissed as adorable.
For parents, as wonderful as it can be to be witness to all those endearing fumblings, miscues, malapropisms and inadvertent, untimely bodily functions, sometimes being a mom or a dad can be so frustrating that some a little schadenfreude is in order. And in those instances where you need to remind yourself that your adorable, little bundle of joy is kind of an idiot, you need some material to fall back on.
Material like that photo of your son in a lion costume:
Material like that time he got hamboned at the dentist:
Material like his starring role in Troll 2:
If you don’t have something like that to fall back on in times of trouble, you’d better start recording, stat!
The point is, you need to stock up on stuff that allows you to remind yourself that a) you’re in control and b) your kid is a huge joke half the time. Plus, if you stock up on stuff now, later – when he’s being a teenage prick and you’ve had enough – you can threaten to post that video of him wearing lipstick and singing “I Touch Myself.” He’ll shape up real quick.
I know what you’re thinking: raising a child isn’t a competition. You’re right, it’s not. It’s WAR. And you know what they say about war: the Holocaust is a myth. Wait, that’s what the Gibson family says. Everyone else says: All’s fair. And I say, in the ongoing war that is child-rearing, you’ve gotta gain some ground somehow. You best do it when you still have a measure of control.
Please note: instances where the kid brings it upon himself (like the Star Wars kid, for example) do not fall into this category. If your kid is so clueless as to intentionally plan and film something like that, it’s no longer funny; it’s tragic. Burn the evidence before it can be spread. But otherwise, it’s fair game.
If all else fails, and you’re too squeamish to carry through, I suppose it’s never too late to cut bait and find the kid a foster home.