I’ve made a deal with my kids–that I will do my best not to needlessly embarrass them. If/when I do–I’ve asked them to point it out (if I’ve been too thick to notice), and I will make quick amends. The Golden Rule applies to me too. Embarrassing your children may be fun. It may get some laughs. It may bond you to other parents. You may justify the teasing thinking you’re “preparing them for the real world.” If I were a betting man–I’d wager a hefty sum that it backfires.
Here’s C.S. Lewis with some wise words about maintaining civility with our children as they grow–particularly about how we will relate to them as adults:
We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the rising generation. I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters’ side, but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of parents to children than by those of children to parents. Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family meals where the father or mother treated their grown-up offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply have terminated the acquaintance? Dogmatic assertions on matters which the children understand and their elders don’t, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously–sometimes of their religion–insulting references to their friends, all provide an easy answer to the question ‘Why are they always out? Why do they like every house better than their home?’ Who does not prefer civility to barbarism?C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 55.