By: Shannon Ralph
My daughter called me a hypocrite today.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that I was being a bit hypocritical at the time. But that’s my prerogative as a parent, right? These little creatures who have taken up residence in my home have already stolen my youth, my free will, and my financial security. If they take hypocrisy away from me, I’ll have nothing left. It’s the last remaining vestige of my pre-child existence, so I am rather fond of it.
Honestly though, being called a hypocrite did not bother me as much as it probably should have. If truth be told, I was kind of thrilled in a nerdy sort of way that she 1. Knew the word hypocrite, and 2. Used it in its correct context. Rather than being angry, I noticeably swelled with pride—not really the effect Sophie intended so now she is not talking to me. Rather hypocritical, if you ask me. But she didn’t ask me, course.
And therein lies my problem.
My children do not ask my opinion on anything because, frankly, I annoy them. I annoy them to no end. If I were to consider myself an expert in any one genre of parenting, it would have to be the tiny subset of parental skills referred to as “annoying the fruit of your loins.” I could easily write a book on the topic. In fact, it comes so naturally to me that I can, with only minimal cognitive effort, list 25 ways to annoy your tween:
- Ask them about their day.
- Suggest they wear socks. In Minnesota. In February.
- Use the terms “LOL” or “OMG” in a sentence.
- Hug them.
- Kiss them.
- Kiss your significant other in front of them.
- Sing along to the radio in your own car.
- Utter even a single syllable to any of their friends.
- Suggest they comb their hair.
- Insist on dental hygiene.
- Sign up to be a chaperone for any school field trip.
- Take family photos.
- Talk about limiting their screen time.
- Gently remind them that their homework exists.
- Try to explain their homework to them without using the exact same words their teacher used.
- Ask them to eat with utensils.
- Do not respond with the proper level of enthusiasm when discussing Minecraft.
- Ask them to feed the dog (even if it is the one single responsibility they have in their entire 12-year-old existence).
- Neglect to maintain a constant and boundless supply of Pop-Tarts.
- Talk about puberty. Anytime. Anywhere
- Talk to their teacher. Even saying “hello” could be construed as a grievous offense.
- Say “I love you.”
- Breathe in their general vicinity.
- Write an article entitled 25 Ways to Annoy Your Tween.