In this week’s edition of the Radio Times, Claudia Winkleman admits to licking her son’s eyebrows in front of his friends. “It’s my job to be embarrassing,” she says by way of justification.

This will be accepted as gospel by every parent in the land. It was in the job description, written in black and white, when we signed up. It might even have been the eleventh commandment – “Thou shalt regularly cause thy children mortification” – had Moses had enough room on his tablet.

I have never licked Daughter’s eyebrows – she’s a Tae Kwon-do green belt with a wicked kick, so I wouldn’t dare. Besides, why go that far when there are far simpler ways to horrify her, and so many?

It is ridiculously easy to embarrass a teenager. Sometimes I think they are programmed to say one thing, and one thing only: “Ugh, Mum! You’re SO embarrassing!”

Yesterday, I arrived to collect Daughter from an after-school club. Using a friend’s mobile, she called me from the park round the corner, close to where the Army Cadets had conducted shooting practice. “Love you, Mum,” she ended the conversation without a hint of shame.

I pulled up and saw them at the top of a slide designed for much smaller kids. I tried to attract their attention. I shouted Daughter’s name, and waved discreetly. Nope. I bellowed a little louder, and waved more like someone in distress, or an airport official trying to direct a plane. That caught her friend’s attention, who nudged Daughter.

At this point, I spotted a golden opportunity and started doing star jumps. Heaven only knows where I found the energy – I was struggling with a cold, and had spent much of the day sleeping it off. I guess you find untapped reserves when needs must.

It was worth the Herculean effort. “Ugh, Mum! You’re SO embarrassing!” Bingo.

I have lost count of the number of times I have reached the till at Tesco, and discovered I have made significant savings by using my Clubcard. Today, it was £4 on my grocery shop; on one memorable occasion I clawed back £25 on an electric toothbrush.

On such occasions, I feel compelled to sing “I GOT THE POWER!” at top volume, as per the adverts. Sadly, I rarely have Daughter with me, so there is no point.

The next time we shop together, I shall be sure to buy something for the sheer pleasure of watching her turn beetroot red when I celebrate my frugality. I have no doubt parents all around me will whoop, cheer, fist-bump and high-five me in collective approval of my scandalous behaviour.

Truro’s a small place, so I can guarantee that any time we wander into town, we will bump into someone I know or she knows. Someone I know: BOR-ing. Someone she knows: EMBARRASS-ing.

It baffles me how can it be so squirm-inducing just to see someone from afar, outside of the normal confines of school. She hides behind me, or pulls me into shops neither of us has any intention of buying from. Sometimes I yell: “Hi there!” just to be polite – it’s not appreciated (by either party).

Many of her friends contact her via WhatsApp, using my phone number. I try not to snoop, and it’s certainly been harder to do so since she archived her chats so I don’t see new messages.

This came about after a friend messaged her about a certain vegetable, letter by letter: “BROCKLY”. Fortunately it was followed by a picture of said item, so I didn’t have to work out whether “brockly” was the new “dreckly”.

Naturally, I did the unthinkable: I sent a message back. “This is Mum.” I might have added: “It’s spelt broccoli.” I watched with some satisfaction as the messages disappeared in a puff of smoke, knowing the reaction at the other end would be along the lines of “Ugh, Mum! You’re SO embarrassing!”

Yep, it’s criminally, cruelly, deliciously easy to score embarrassment points against your kids.

Public displays of affection, singing and dancing to whatever is playing over the speakers in the Co-op, wearing a silly hat with pride, insisting they take a coat/purse when they go out with their mates, carrying a bag they find excruciatingly unfashionable, arriving late, arriving early … Hell, just existing, even breathing, achieves the desired effect.

Of course, we have all been teenagers, and are acutely aware that parental embarrassment is something that never goes away. OH and I are in our 50s, and are frequently red-faced by the antics of our elders.

In a couple of week’s time, my mum is coming down for a long-anticipated visit to Cornwall. I wonder how long it will be before a northern bellow barrels at me from across the supermarket, causing me to shudder and utter those fateful words: “Ugh, Mum! You’re SO embarrassing!”