ON holiday the cheeks of Scottish children are red not on account of the sun, but with embarrassment.
The ability of parents to mortify their children on their summer break has been catalogued in a new report that names the sartorial shame of socks and sandals as the worst offender.
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A survey of the top ten reasons children are embarrassed by their parents on holiday found that dad was most likely to offend – either with too much on his feet or trunks that cover too little.
While the wearing of socks and sandals came top of the list of sins it was closely followed by dad wearing tight Speedos.
Both mum and dad were guilty of the third-place behaviour – parents smooching at hotel disco – yet it was father, once again, who was in fourth place with beer belly on full display.
Other things which left children red-faced included poor performance on the karaoke machine, taking too many pictures and turning lobster red with obvious sunburn. The more minor sins were wearing bumbags, speaking English but in a foreign accent and bad driving.
The survey, compiled by HouseTrip, a holiday rental firm, found embarrassing behaviour by parents was the most common cause of arguments and fall-outs among holidaying Scots, while getting lost and not asking for directions came second.
The third most common reason for family holiday rows was someone forgetting to pack an important item.
The research found the family argument is as much a part of Scottish travel culture as sunburn and sightseeing.
More than 70 per cent of families admitted to travel tiffs; however, a third of Scots pretend that they never row in order to make their holiday appear more idyllic and impressive.
Other reasons for family arguments included local food, with children refusing to try it, or the whole family arguing about where to dine. The choice of communal in-car music, even in an age of iPods, is still also likely to cause complaints.
HouseTrip, which commissioned the survey, now hopes that by identifying key trigger points for holiday disharmony, Scots tourists, who traditionally book their summer holidays early in the year, will be able to enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Yesterday, Susan Quilliam, a leading psychologist, said: “Trouble is, a holiday can sometimes make things worse. Spending time away from home in unfamiliar surroundings can make us more tense.
“The shift in routine – even though we may be doing less – can make more demands on us. In particular, spending time with family 24/7 hugely decreases the physical and mental space we all need in order to chill out, so it can increase the likelihood of losing patience with each other.
“Our different expectations of the holiday – and of each other – can annoy. Our loved ones can irritate.
“And knowing that each day of the vacation costs money can make us even more frustrated that our longed-for break away isn’t perfect.
“We need to put strategies in place before and during our time away, so that where we go, where we stay, what we expect and how we handle disagreements all help us not to bicker.
“Get altercations down to a minimum, and we raise holiday enjoyment to a maximum.”
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