Parental Interference

As kids, especially as young adults, our parents often embarrass us. They speak when we wish they were silent. They wear dumb hats or clothes so out of style that even thrift stores wouldn’t want them. Or their clothes are faded, ragged or torn. Or spotted with paint or cooking grease.

Our parents want to know who are friends are, where they live, what they like to do, what kinds of music they listen to and what they do for fun, all before we can go hang out with them. Or when a friend knocks at the door, our parents treat them like unwanted guests, giving them a thorough oral examination while you’re trying to gather together your stuff and get out of the house.

On gift-giving opportunities, they present us with things we never asked for, never wanted, and expect us to act grateful. They demand we complete chores that are gross and demeaning, such as doing dishes in the sink where the water gets tainted with food remnants and grease, all because they think doing such things help develop character.

They make us babysit younger brothers and sisters without pay. It’s not too bad if the sibling behaves in public, but when your sister pesters everyone about their favorite Disney character or sings, out of tune, Disney songs, then you’d rather stay home. But if you do, then they insist that your friends come over and hang out with your dorky brother who thinks it’s perfectly fine to jump up from behind the couch and scare your boyfriend.

Your task is to write a scene in which there is either an embarrassing moment with a parent or guardian, or a time when a sibling causes great humiliation.

First, make a list of things parents/guardians do that are embarrassing. Then make a comparable list for siblings. Running parallel to each list, record the scene, the object, the action that causes humiliation.

Draw a line from the person to the point of humiliation that you feel most comfortable writing about.

This becomes your story line.

Write, trying to show the emotions that propel your protagonist forward. Your story can be humorous or serious, depending upon the cause of the humiliation. For example, falling out of a tree can be embarrassing at the moment that it occurs, but if bones are broken, then the final result is quite serious.

After you’re finished, reread, looking for places where you can intensify the emotional impact.

Have fun with this one.

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