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Parents pull hilarious dorm room prank on their college son using life-size cutout

“Dad and I are always with you 😂”

sending kids to college, parenting, parents of tiktok
@jillwagner81/TikTok

We spy a new parenting trend.

Sending kids off to college is a milestone filled with conflicting feelings, both for the kids and the parents. There’s excitement, pride and anticipation, plus nostalgia, loss and yearning all rolled into one pivotal life moment.

Perhaps one of the best tools to help cope with the heavier, more challenging emotions bound to arise is having a sense of humor. And some parents have it in spades.

Mom and content creator Jill Wagner had asked her son Hakin what he would like for his dorm room at Maryville University.

Hakin’s answer? Posters. Plain and simple. And it’s that lack of specificity that would land Hakin in a hilarious prank concocted by Mom and Dad.


In a clip shared to Wagner’s TikTok, we see Hakin shaking his head with disbelief as he walks in to see a giant cardboard cutout of his mom.

"Honey, I know you're gonna miss me so much; I got a life-size picture of me for your dorm. That way, if any girls try to come in your room, they can see me," Wagner says through a giggle.

Hakin, also laughing, says the line every parent of a teen has heard, "That is so embarrassing!” before telling his father to put it where nobody can see it.

Instead of a cardboard cutout, dad decided to go a little more old school—a photo of himself pointing to a laundry hamper, made into a poster, stuck right above the laundry hamper in Hakin’s room. Meta.

In her caption, Wagner wrote, “Dad and I are always with you 😂”

Enjoy the wholesome hijinks below:

@jillwagner81 @Hakin Wagner Dad and i are always with you😂 #maryville #moveinday #college ♬ original sound - Jill

Close to 500,000 people have watched the clip, with several chiming in to share that they would be incorporating the idea for their own kids. More embarrassment to come, it seems!

The college transition is sure to be one of heightened emotions. You can follow all the recommended guidelines for make it a little smoother—plan the move-in day accordingly, jot down meaningful messages to leave behind, create memories with one last family vacation, look into new hobbies—but at the end of the day, parents are still going to be feeling all the feels.

And just like any beautiful chapter in life, we are meant to savor the sweet along with the bitter. While it’s probably best to try to hold in those tears during the actual move-in day (it is the kid’s day, after all) it’s completely natural to let it all out on the car ride home.

Wagner’s delightful prank might have gotten some viral laughs, but it also highlights a more lighthearted, optimistic way for parents to take on what’s sure to be a day full of big feelings.

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