You may have read recently that an Austrian teenager is suing her parents for posting embarrassing photographs of her on Facebook and then refusing to take them down.
It got us thinking - if we were going to sue our parents (which obviously we're not actually going to do - Christmas would be a nightmare) then what formative damage might we seek recompense for?
For busting the childhood photos out at any given opportunity
If you’ve spent the last few months convincing your new love interest that you’re the coolest man on the planet, you can always count on mum to break out the photos of you, fat, crying and sitting on the toilet at four years of age, when they meet for the first time. Cheers mum. No posh retirement home for you.
For that ridiculous outfit that they forced you to wear
“Look, granny’s knitted you a lovely cardigan and matching trousers so you absolutely HAVE to wear them at all times, no exceptions! You’ll be the smartest boy at school today!” – cue the forging of lifelong memories of being encircled and pointed at by howling classmates. We still hear their laughter when we close our eyes at night...
For letting you out of the house wearing your teenage outfits
This sits at the other end of the fashion abuse scale: an example of evil via apathy. When you’re a teenager your sense of judgement is severely clouded by testosterone and angst. Therefore it should’ve fallen on your parents to ensure that you didn’t leave the house dressed like Fred Durst circa 1997.
For trying to be cool in front of your friends
You’re 13 years old, you and your mates are in your bedroom sulking and listening to Eminem albums when your dad comes through the door and starts using words like “cool” and “chillax”. There's not a court in the land that wouldn't understand our grievance.
When your mum shared details about your personal life with her friends, who then shared it back to you
“Oh hi Mark! I was speaking to your mum the other day and she was telling me all about how you’re broke, and got dumped by your girlfriend, and about that nasty rash you’ve got on your leg. Hang in there, I'm sure it'll all turn out okay soon.” Brilliant.
For their embarrassing social media habits
When you’ve posted a great new profile picture of yourself looking sinfully cool and smouldering, nothing shatters that illusion more effectively than your mum commenting underneath “Oh what a handsome boy, I remember you were six and we took you to the fair and you wet yourself on the waltzers and cried all the way home, but just look at you now all grown up xoxoxox”.
For grilling your new partner
“So how old are you? What does your Mum do? What does your Dad do? What are your ambitions? Who’s your favourite Beatle? Am I making you uncomfortable? Why is that? Do you have something to hide? Have you ever taken a polygraph test before?”
We're not alone on this one. In fact researchers found that 'dad dancing' is the most effective way to embarrass kids and it doesn't stop being any more cringeworthy the older we get. So watch out the next time you decide to bust the moonwalk out at a wedding, dad, because you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands.
Getting pissed off one glass of Merlot and telling embarrassing anecdotes
*Extended family sit around dinner table*
Mum - "Ooh that wine's gone straight to my head! Do you remember the time when we let you have a sip of your Dad's beer when you were 6 and then you had an accident in your shorts and we had to change them for your sister's skirts because you didn't have any clean ones. Wasn't that funny?"
Well yeah, maybe for anyone who wasn't directly involved.
For talking about sex in front of you
Look, what you two get up to behind closed doors in the dead of night is your business. It's how we got here, after all.
Just please, keep locked, buried and private - don't leave us with any unpleasant images seared into our memories for the rest of time. As far as we need to know, you only ever copulated enough times to conceive your children, and that didn't count because we didn't really exist at the time. Anyway, let's stop talking about this, yeah?
Treating you like you're still 10 years old
No, I haven't been eating my vegetables. Yes, I have been burning the candle at both ends. No, I'm not going to feel the benefit if I don't take my coat off. Yes, I am sure I don't need the toilet before we leave. However, none of that matters, as I am 32 and have been able to look after myself for well over a decade.