RICHARD ORD: Fight for the right to embarrass offspring
Our Isaac, 13, was sitting in the front room with his pal Henry watching TV. Perfect, I thought, his guard is down.
I popped my head round the door. “Hi Isaac,” I said cheerfully, “have you decided if you want me to buy three Valentines cards for those girls you like or just the one big one for the girl you love the most? What’s her name again? Lauren, Lucy, Abigail… oh, hi Henry, didn’t see you there.”
To his credit, Isaac responded with a straight-faced denial. “I haven’t asked you to buy any Valentines cards,” he said, directing his answer to his pal, “Now go away dad.”
I must be losing my touch. He rumbled my ruse to embarrass him too quickly.
“I reserve the right to embarrass my children at every available opportunity and by use of whatever means at my disposal.”
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Picture me saying those words in court, one hand raised, the other resting on the Bible, and ending with “so help me god.”
We parents have few rights, but I would argue - particularly for dads - that making your child cringe in the company of others is one that should not only be cherished, but enshrined in law.
It may have to be.
According to stories circulating on the world wide web, children are considering suing parents who embarrass them. A case was highlighted in Austria in which an 18-year-old allegedly sued her parents for violating her right to privacy by posting pictures on Facebook of her as a child being potty trained and having her nappy changed.
The story may turn out to be fake news, but legal eagles reckon children have a case, with parents facing huge fines if found guilty of infringing their child’s right to a personal life.
I didn’t even know children had a right to a personal life. If they do, no-one told my wife, who monitors the activities of our two boys with the zeal of a MI5 spook.
The thought that children may sue for violation of their so-called rights is a concern. There’s nothing I like better than posting an unflattering photo of my boys online just to annoy them.
That’s when you can persuade them to appear on camera. Forget the supposed Selfie-Generation, our two boys are part of the Selfie-conscious Generation.
To protect parents from future court action, I have proposed a number of Parental Rights that I believe should be enshrined in law.
l The right to shift any child caught sitting in areas deemed Dad’s Space. (Namely the far end of the settee, nearest the telly.)
l The right to order your kids to clean dad’s car at below the legal minimum wage.
l The right to help myself to a chips from their dinner plate.
l The right to blatant hypocrisy. (Like shouting, eating dinner in front of TV, leaving clothes lying about.) Otherwise known as the ‘do as I say, not do as I do’ defence.
Feel free to send me other Parental Rights you’d like to see - petition starts Monday.