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Prone To Dad Dancing? You may have EPS (Embarrasing Parents Syndrome).

NEWS! Dad dancing, public displays of affection and trying to use youthful lingo top the list of things parents do which makes their kids cringe according to a new study which finally suggests the scientific reasons behind embarrassing parental behaviour.

The new study led by the acclaimed psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley was specially commissioned to celebrate ISLAND BEATS – THORPE PARK Resort’s Summer-long music festival and quizzed 2,000 parents whose children are aged five to 20.

The findings finally provide a scientific insight into youthful parental behaviour revealing that once we reach the age of 40*, we start to feel on average 20% younger than our actual age – meaning a 40 year old dad dancer has an actual mental age of a youthful 32!

Indeed, the results found that over 75% of those aged over 40 feel younger than their age and pinpoints the key flashpoints where a flush of youth is likely to cause embarrassment…

Top 10 embarrassing things parents do:

  1. Dad/mum dancing – 42%
  2. PDA – Public displays of affection – to children or with each other – 41%
  3. Using outdated slang and trying to join in with youth speak/youthful lingo – 38%
  4. Wearing age inappropriate clothes – 23%
  5. Telling cringeworthy yarns/anecdotes/baby stories – 21%
  6. Tidying up after children – 20%
  7. Joining social media and friending children – 17%
  8. Being useless at ‘tech’ in general – 16%
  9. Birds and bees talk (facts of life) – 16%
  10. Drinking too much – 15%

The poll also found that 70% of the parents surveyed admit that they are stuck in a generational time-warp. Key findings include the fact that on average we stop learning new dance moves at the age of 25 and that many parents continue to confuse outdated slang such as ‘Duh’ (17%), ‘Take a chill pill’ (16%) and ‘As if’ (15%) with modern day youth speak. Kids were revealed to be the most embarrassed by their parents at age 14.

The new study follows the viral sensation over the last ten days of ‘Dancing Dad’ – a camera phone video of a father, dancing to The Vamps at the first gig of the festival which has clocked up over five million views online.

THORPE PARK Resort has responded to the study findings and video footage by creating a series of special cordoned off areas for dad dancing throughout the duration of their summer-long series of music events. The dancing pens allow flamboyant dads – and mums – maximum arm and leg space to show off their moves in a controlled environment.   The unique areas will be in place at the festival throughout the summer until 30 August when top chart acts including The Vamps, Little Mix, Professor Green, DJ Fresh and Rizzle Kicks will have all been amongst the headline performers.

THORPE PARK Resort has also invited the dad dancing viral sensation, Simon Jones, to the park to reveal his guide to his top five dance moves and try out the new dad dancing areas. On site during Little Mix’s gig, Simon recorded a video to take viewers through the cream of his catalogue – including the clap and shake, running man and robot.

THORPE PARK Resort’s Head of Park Operations Andrew Walker said: “We want Island Beats – our summer of live music and epic rides – to be a fun experience for all the family, free of tension and embarrassment. The restrictions we have put in place are as much for parents’ benefit as they are for their children’s. Our special dad dancing areas will be especially wide to accommodate flailing arms and classic dance moves giving everyone the space they need to smash it on the dancefloor. We encourage all kind of dance moves however we are completely banning air guitar – we appreciate dads will want to dance but we have to draw the line somewhere.”

The study identified parents feeling younger than their age (38%) as the top reason behind Embarrassing Parents Syndrome. Purposefully winding their children up came next on the list (32%), followed by trying to be funny at (24%). Not realising what they are doing (16%) and a well-intentioned effort to improve their relationship with their kids (13%) rounded out the top five.

The research also reveals that Embarrassing Parents Syndrome is set to reach peak levels over the summer as parents spend an average of 15 more hours per week with their children than during term time. But as 47% of parents admit, the sun brings out the worst EPS tendencies in parents, leading to Dr Sandra Wheatley putting together a guide on how to avoid it over the long six weeks, on behalf of THORPE PARK Resort.

Dr Sandra Wheatley, an expert in family dynamics and social psychology, said: “We all know parents can be embarrassing but now we know why! The study finally reveals what many of us have always known – our mental ages are way, way lower than the ages on our birth certificates! I have put together some simple steps to mitigate EPS over the long school holidays as families are thrust together.”

 Dr Sandra Wheatley’s advice on dealing with Embarrassing Parents Syndrome:

 For parents:

  • At all times try to remember how embarrassing your own parents were and then vow not to repeat the cycle as a mantra
  • Know that your kids love you as their mum or dad, not their mate – you are unique and irreplaceable
  • Cool clothes are cool mainly because of the person wearing them, not the clothes themselves

 For kids:

  • Try to remember that they are trying to show how much they love you – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and copying you is their way of demonstrating how proud of you they are
  • If you can’t beat them, record them – video their antics and embarrass them back by showing their own parents what they’ve been up to
  • If all else fails, ignore them. They’re hoping your behaviour in your teens is “just a phase”; here’s hoping their behaviour in their middle-age is just a phase too!

 For all:

  • Be yourself – young or old – and love yourself and what you do that makes you happy. The fun that you’re having will shine through (and give each other ammunition to tease each other about in the future!)

ISLAND BEATS is hosting some of the UK’s leading bands and artists throughout July and August, the full line up:

Tickets to the ISLAND BEATS gigs start from £25 (artist dependant) and guests with tickets already booked for the day can upgrade to an ISLAND BEATS ticket for just £10.

For those who want to make the most of their day, book into the THORPE SHARK Hotel which offers bite-sized accommodation on Resort. Park tickets, first-to-ride, and breakfast included in all hotel prices.

Find out if your parents suffer from Embarrassing Parents Syndrome by taking the online test  



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