The XYZs of parenting
The XYZs of parenting
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
You see plenty of helpful articles about the ABCs of parenting- how to toilet train, how to treat teething children and how to help with homework, for example, but not too many XYZs of parenting- the shocking, grimy and sometimes downright embarrassing aspects to this crazy task we enjoy each day.
Why XYZs? Well, if you’re walking around with your zip down, a kind person will come up to you and whisper out of the corner of their mouth, “X…Y…Z….” Code for “Warning! Embarrassing Incident Imminent!”

Little children give us no such warnings. In the supermarket queue, they’ll practice their comedic timing to occur in between the announcements on the PA system. It’s a mystery, but right there, in the checkout, just after you’ve said no to their demands for sweets, they’ll ask about bums, front bums or farts. Even if you get them sweets, they won’t relent.

My seven-year-old had his birthday party on Saturday. Spent most of it teaching his friends the burp rhyme (pardon me, for being so rude, it was not me, it was my food. It got so lonely down below, it popped right up to say hello). One of the moms asked where he’d learnt it. His older brother immediately confessed- “I taught him… but Dad taught it to me”

They burped their way through a very successful but embarrassing party.

And that’s what makes parents special. We know what it is to experience public humiliation and keep going. We become immune to social faux pas. We start to recognize that our children explore social boundaries by pushing them as faaaaaar as possible, often at our expense.

It doesn’t matter how discreet you are when talking about bodily functions or naming body parts, kids don’t see them as embarrassing, but mostly just as sources of bawdy laughter.

Fortunately, my kids are getting older now. They still laugh about rude things and noises, but the tables have turned. Nowadays if they create a smelly smell or a belchy burp, they’re more likely to look at me in disdain if I laugh. “Ah, Dad, their eyes will roll, “grow up!”

Yes, I am finally more embarrassing to them than they are to me. I may have survived the XYZ stage of parenting. Or have I?

Have you ever been embarrassed by something your child has said? Or has your child ever been embarrassed by you? Send us an email to and you could win a R250 voucher.

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