Teen nightmares - How dads embarrass their kids

Jonathan Ross

From daft jokes to 'getting down with the kids', the embarrassing things fathers do to make red-faced teens shout. . .

Dodgy dancing, crap jokes and cringeworthy wardrobe -- all time-honoured ways men have made their mortified kids wail: "Daaad!"

Now, though, embarrassing dads everywhere can take comfort from the fact that their cooler counterparts aren't faring much better.

An overwhelming 88% of teenagers are regularly left red-faced by their folks -- with fathers the worst offenders, according to a new survey to celebrate the box set release of TV show Modern Family.

Dad dancing, Tommy Cooper-style jokes, public displays of affection and bringing out the baby album in front of friends are just some of the most shameful antics of mums and dads across the country.

And the harder parents try to get 'down with the kids', the more miserably they fail -- with ill-fated attempts to master modern technology, befriending your children on Facebook and trying to dress trendy also making the top 10 no-nos.

"I'm not at all surprised by the findings," says Emma Parkin of new Irish magazine Easy Parenting. "We've all got horror stories about how our parents showed us up when we were kids.

"For me, it was the dance floor at weddings -- I remember cringing at my parents' attempts at jiving.

"By their very existence and through no fault of their own, parents will always embarrass their children. But I also know some parents who do it deliberately and think it's hilarious to embarrass their kids."

Like flash-dressing dad-of-three Jonathan Ross (50) and couch-jumping Scientologist Tom Cruise (49), who also has three children, naff fathers were voted far more embarrassing than mums by the 1,500 teens who took part in the survey.

Just ask Utah student Rain Price (16), whose dad Dale hit headlines earlier this year for waving his son off to school each morning. In costume. Including the Little Mermaid and Princess Leia.

"When he did it the first day I was in shock," says Rain. "You don't want to see your dad dressing up in a wedding dress, waving at you on the bus. I'm not going to reward him for this."

But he's not the only old man to have an, erm, interesting way to show he cares.

"When I was in Junior Cert, my dad got into a fight at a parent-teacher meeting," says Seán (30), an IT worker from Meath.

"He ended up telling my maths teacher to 'F*** off'. I was terrified going into school the next day -- but my dad's been boasting about it ever since."

"My father once asked my ex-boyfriend how many girls he had slept with and at what point in a relationship he thinks you should stop using condoms," adds primary school teacher Lisa (27), from Dublin.

"It was totally humiliating. We weren't even having sex at the time, which made it even worse."

"My father gave a really sweet speech at my wedding that had everyone in tears," recalls researcher Elaine (28), also from Dublin.

"But afterwards, he ended up getting so plastered that he literally fell across a table in front of all my friends.

"I had to get my brothers to try and discreetly shuffle him up to his hotel room. Only for he helped pay for it, I'd never forgive him!"

For showbiz kids, whose embarrassing celeb dads have a world stage, it's even worse.

Pity young Jaden Smith (13), for instance, whose actor dad Will (42) publicly quizzed his son about a kissing scene in his movie The Karate Kid at a press conference last year.

Scarleh' Brooke Hogan (23), daughter of wrinkly wrestler Hulk (58), has endured the embarrassment of her dad reportedly hooking up with best friend Christiane Plante, putting a tracking device on her car to keep check on her and rubbing suntan lotion on her bikini-clad botty.

Meanwhile, sick of her cringey dad's drunken antics, in 2007 Taylor Ann Hasselhoff (21) infamously filmed The Hoff in a shirtless stupor, trying to eat a burger on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel room, to show him how he behaved.

'I often find that daughters are more embarrassed by their dad's tomfoolery than sons," says David Caren of Dad.ie.

"Sometimes, I'll speak French loudly when there's lots of people around -- and while my two youngest love it, my eldest daughter insists that I stop 'immédiatement'.

"When you think of embarrassing parents, you automatically think of dads," he adds. "Mums are usually a bit better behaved in public for fear of being embarrassed themselves."

"Mums can be just as embarrassing as dads -- just in a different way," argues Emma Parkin.

"By their nature, they're usually more nosey and vocal about their kids' lives -- wanting to know who they're friends with or who they fancy. And what teenager wants to share those details with their mum?

"Whether it's mum or dad, sadly, being embarrassed by your parents is a rite of passage for every kid," she adds. "There's no escaping it!"

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