How to Train Your Parents

It's important to begin retraining your parents in their public behavior toward you when you're 11. I'll give a rundown on the effective techniques Miss G displayed at her open house last week. Hopefully this will help other kids properly manage their own parents.

So, imagine you're arriving at some kind of public function. During the walk from the car, be sure you stay at least 5 feet in front of them. Pretend not to know who the two adults behind you are, particularly if you pass any friends. Under no circumstances should you introduce them to anyone. Also, do not acknowledge the parents of your friends (most likely the two adults walking 5 feet behind them). This will just embarrass everyone involved.

Even though you begged your parents to come to the open house, be sure you rush them through meeting your teachers as quickly as possible. This will give them less chance to embarrass you. Remember, even the most harmless remarks such as "Oh, Miss G is a great kid" from your teachers can humiliate you beyond redemption.

Do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances allow your parents to touch you in any way while you are in public. Long ago (perhaps even at the school meet-n-greet a mere 6 weeks ago), you may have held hands with your mother or allowed her to ruffle your hair, but this ends now. Be very clear on this, and don't relax your guard for an instant; it's dangerous to set a precedent. Your actions now set the stage for the more publicly critical teenage years. The only acceptable physical contact would be a light shoulder pat, and then only on the return trip to the car. It should be fully dark by then, so no one will accidentally see your lapse back to childhood. Immediately jerk away from all other physical contact. They'll get the hint.

Now. Because it's the most embarrassing that could possibly happen, you're bound to run into the boy you like at the open house. The previous rules still apply. Do not introduce him to your parents, or vice versa. Instead, greet the young man in question with barest civility. Try not to smile. Definitely don't distinguish him from your other classmates in any way. On the way back to the car, casually mention that "the tall kid in front of us in line talking to Ms Lawson" is the boy who's going to the Halloween Dance with you. By the time you tell them, any chance of them having an actual conversation with him will be safely past. Good work!

Keep the whole evening to 20 minutes or less. If you've met all the guidelines above, congratulations! You are well on your way to successfully trained parents.


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