One of the greatest pleasures of reaching 50 is that you can feel the tables slowly turning.
That’s right: Getting on your children’s nerves – whether they are 10 or 25 – is a satisfying way to pay them back for every temper tantrum, every unfinished restaurant meal, every sleepless night. And it’s not as hard as you might think.
- Insist that everything was better in your day. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about – light bulbs, the taste of strawberries, hotness of movie stars – who cares? Thirty years ago, things were better.
- Insist that everything is smaller now. Again, the object doesn’t really matter – it could be dachshunds, calla lilies, Burger King Whoppers – the point is that everything nowadays is tiny and disappointing to your finely-tuned 1970s sensibilities.
- Text them every hour with a smiley emoji, and ask how their day is going.
- When they don’t respond, keep pestering them by asking if they’re “on drugs.”
- Get offended when they don’t know celebrities from years gone by. (“You’re kidding me? Cheryl Tiegs? Next you’ll be telling me you don’t know who Geddy Lee is!”)
- Talk, laugh, or clap louder than any other parent at any school function.
- Pretend you can’t remember the names of any of their friends.
- Pretend you can’t remember their names.
- Call them by the dog’s name. Repeatedly. Teenagers find this particularly winsome.
- Ask if you can borrow their clothes. If they refuse, remind them that you now wear the same size. (Again, teenagers love this!)
- Call them an embarrassing babyhood nickname – Little Poopsie Loopsie, Chubbles, SassyPants – in front of their friends.
- Head-bang to the heavy metal satellite radio station. Say things like, “Do you mind if I crank it up, dudes?” when your kid’s friends are in the back seat.
- Use your imagination. Go out of your way to be that eccentric mom or dad they’ll talk about at future class reunions. Really, you’re doing them a favor; you can’t buy this kind of entertainment.