Shame is a powerful driving force.
It can lead you to actions you'd never thought possible. It can make you become someone you didn't think you were.
It can even make you buy your entitled, snotty children gifts you know they don't deserve.
This fear is being exacerbated by an apparent new trend in parent-child relations. It seems that kids are now posting their holiday wish lists online, with a view to telling their parents: "Get me all of this. Or feel forever publicly shamed."
In research commissioned by cash-back shopping company Ebates, 26 percent of the 12- to 17-year-olds surveyed said that yes, of course, they published their wish lists online.
Ten percent admitted they slapped them up on Facebook, where parents naturally lurk, in fear that their kids have dubious friends and encounters.
When parents go there, they encounter demands which -- should they not meet them -- will be the talk of perhaps thousands of friends, friends of friends and people whom no one knows.
Worse, these kids also take to networks like Twitter.
Should you be a parent, worried about how much your greedy teen wants this year, you might wonder how they are influenced.
Helpfully, this survey discovered that 38 percent of teens claimed they looked lovingly at pictures of their favorite celebrities before penning their wish lists.
The leading celebrity (for the second year in a row) is Taylor Swift. This apogee of pink, charm, and apparently embittered personal relationships beat out One Direction as the source of material inspiration.
You might be concerned that an era is ending when I tell you that Justin Bieber shared a painful 6th place with Jennifer Lawrence.
I would not wish to offer any sort of parental guidance. However, this seems like a war of attrition.
So should your little teen post a long and expensive list on Facebook in order to influence your love for him or her, I'd suggest fighting like with like.
Take to the very same Facebook page and post a long list of chores, grades, and personal hygiene standards you expect to be accomplished by December 25.
My bet is the wish list will disappear by the next morning.