How to develop your EES (Embarrassment Execution Strategies)

Ways to annoy your kids…

Let’s face it, what the fuck else is there to do…

In these dark days of CoVID as winter approaches with no hope of playing tricks as small children approach your door on Halloween, with no chance of the fun of fireworks and sinking several billionty bottles of wine with ya mates as you shout at your children to hold the sparklers the right way and follow them round with a bucket of water we only have one option left to us.

There is now only one thing between this moment and Father Christmas (because there’s no way they can cancel the big man) that we can truly engage in that will bring us joy and relieve stress.

We need to annoy our kids, I’ve been trying it the last 18 years and I can confirm that with some effort, consideration and cunning parenting, the world over can feel some sense of accomplishment once again.

Of course, you may need to adopt different levels depending on the age of said smalls but I’m sure there’s enjoyment to be found at every age. (Well maybe not when they’re actually babies and depend on you for everything.)

Over the last 18 years of parenting, I have come torealise that as the smalls grow up as parents we are mainly left with just one weapon.

No longer does the naughty step wield any power. No longer can you send them to their rooms – because they’re always in their sodding rooms and being in their own rooms is their idea of heaven away from the world.

The only thing we have left dear parents is the power of embarrassment. This is the ace up one’s sleeve.

Here you will find some of my top tips to help relieve the boredom of the cloud of COVID.

Here you will find some hints and advice to ensure that your children are reminded that you carry all of the power.

Take it back. Remember those games of UNO, The holidays on sun loungers when we could go on holiday and you stupidly thought that for one nano second your children would go and play somewhere quietly so you could read 50 shades of grey in peace. Remember how just as you’d settled down, taken a breath and then……the chorus of MUUUUUMMMMMMMYYYYYY began and the demands to play fucking UNO for  76575 times to rules that can only have been made up by small children. Well parents, now is your turn. As you tweenagers and teenagers are more interested in tiktok than time with you, this is your time to insist on some quality time with your smalls. Drag them downstairs and insist in game after game after game of UNO.

Show the love. School runs – now your little poppet is all independent and is possibly in school – or maybe not given the gauntlet of COVID we are now running, you need to make the most of that school drop off. None of that ‘just drop me here mum and I’ll walk the rest of the way,’ it’s critical that you see your little baby to the doors of the school. It needs to be timed just right – preferably as everyone else is arriving. Simply let your child out of the car and as they refuse to kiss you (because you know showing one’s love for one’s child is so 1990) wind down your window and shout rather loudly…’Freddy Ilove you so much and have a lovely day my liccle fruitloop.’ Be sure to insert any nicknames, terms of endearment you have for said child.

Mess it all up. The WIFI. The ultimate weapon in any modern home. The power of 1471 has faded into the ether with all of the blue eyeliner and Top 40 tape recordings. Control of the WIFI is what we have left. Is your poppet ignoring your loving calls to come down for tea; turn off the WIFI. Is your child refusing to listen to your riveting chat about the interesting day you’ve had in lockdown; turn off the WIFI. Are you fucked off with the world and want to create some of your own havoc; simple – turn off the WIFI. And wait for the cachophony of chaos to begin.*

Sing for their supper (or treats). In my house we have a treat drawer. A drawer full of all of the things that the not so smalls can gorge on at any given time of day whenever hunger strikes. Recent research in this house of family harmony has shown that said smalls can be hungry at every hour of the sodding bastard day and well into the night too. Recent research has also found that making one’s nearly 15 year sing for his supper or treat can bring no end of amusement for the parent. The options are endless but my current favourite is to buy all of the treats that were available in the halcyon days of the 80s. And then the child simply has to sing for his treat – when I say simply; theyhave to sing the tune from the appropriate 80s advertising campaign that you can sing along with them in scenes that would probably have made the Sound of Music. My current favourite is a finger of fudge  but I also have all of the love for a club biscuit and the Milky Way advert is always a strong contender.

Perfect University Gifts

Distance makes the annoyance grow fonder. Parents – it doesn’t need to stop when your child goes to university. As you sit at home weeping that your baby has flown the nest, as you transfer some more money to their bank account because they really needed to buy Aldi, as you wonder if they are missing home at all?** you realise that it’s important that you keep in touch with them. Send them little parcels of love. Parcels they can open in front of their new friends. Friends who have no idea where they have come from, friends who have no idea quite the lengths a parent will go to, to stay in touch. I can confirm the above book has been the winner so far this term.

Show them the love…on social. Social media. It’s where they spend their time. Chatting, messaging, filtering, being who they want to be and thinking that they are safe – from the parental beady eye. Oh no. It is your duty as parents to monitor them on social. The rule in this house is that if I pay your mobile bill, I get to follow you on all social platforms to, you know, check. And then I like to comment on all their pics. Preferably with loving messages from mummy with lots of kisses. Occasionally the nearly 15 year old has tried to rebel against this particular parenting action by trying to delete me from his said platforms – however then he struggles with WIFI connections and can lose his phone. So you know, parents win….again.

Now the downside to dedicating 18 years to embarrassing your children is that they then become immune. The now 18 year old says she no longer has the embarrassment gene due to years of sufferance at my embarrassment execution strategies (known as EES). However the nearly 15 year old, still struggles when mummy runs into his room and he’s on his mic on the PS and I tell him how much I love him. His relfexes at turning his mic off are getting faster and faster though.

So there’s only one thing for it now, it’s nearly the weekend. We’re not allowed out out, we’re mainly allowed to do feck all – so you simply need to dedicate your time to EES. Enjoy.

*Warning – may also incur the wrath of husbands and other family members but still worth it

** I can confirm the answer to this is “Fuck NO”. Once the not so small has found their feet, made some mates and indulged in some socially distanced socialising, your child will mainly forget you exist. They will return when they need money or their washing done.

Sarah Knight

Trainer and coach in communications. Plate spinner.

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