Embarrassing Moments With Your Child And How To Deal With Them - My Tips
Parenthood Embarrassment 101
Children are not born with etiquette and normally learn how to socialize through experience. Unfortunately for most parents, the experience is usually learned at the parent's expense. If your child does something embarrassing you can either ignore it, make a huge fuss over it and call more attention to yourself and your child, or handle the situation appropriately with an apology or explanation.
Most people are willing to forgive a child's slip-up if the parent corrects the child or apologizes and explains the child's behavior. The parent that chooses to ignore the behavior can be annoying however, because he or she is missing out on a valuable opportunity to teach the child about proper socialization.
The Bus Incident
My children have provided me with a wealth of embarrassing situations. Through the years I have learned how to deal with them without curling into a ball, rocking back and forth, and repeating 'Why me, why me, why me?'
My oldest daughter has an issue with clothing. She is 7 and a 1/2 and still cannot properly dress herself. Ok, that's not true. She can indeed dress herself, it's that whole keeping her clothes on thing that she has trouble with. I will set a scene for you. I am standing at the end of my drive on a very busy street. I see the bus coming to drop off my daughter and I move closer to the street. The bus stops, the doors open, and out bounds my princess in her tights and a t-shirt. I was so shocked and embarrassed that I didn't know what to say! I quickly rushed my daughter up the drive, hoping not many people noticed her while they were sitting behind the bus in their cars. I was mortified to learn that my daughter's jumper strap broke while she was at school, so she took the whole dress off and was running around half naked all day. This is one time I didn't have to deal with my embarrassment in front of the public and I clearly explained to my oldest that she must come home in all the clothes she leaves in.
The One with the Big Belly
One time that I did have to deal with my embarrassment in the public eye was during a trip to Burger King with my 4 year old. I had yet to truly get the point across to her that it was ok to think anything, but not ok to always say it out loud. My daughter and I were standing in line, waiting for our food, when she pointed at someone working behind the counter and said "I don't like her - the one with the big belly. The fat one there. She looks funny." Don't ask me how she got so much out before I realized what she was saying. She is a fast talker and has been loud since the day she was born. A few people waiting for food started laughing and "the one with the big belly" behind the counter looked annoyed. At the moment, I wanted to revert to my embarrassment ball. Instead, I apologized to the woman, loudly explained to my daughter that she shouldn't judge someone on his or her appearance and then shot mean looks at the teenagers still laughing. To avoid further embarrassment, I quietly changed my order from dine-in to take-out and ran like mad, my daughter in tow with blond curls swinging in the wind.
Don't Eat That!
Nothing is more embarrassing to me than when one of my children picks her nose and eats it. To me that just screams "I learned it from Mommy!" What's worse is when you are in a fancy restaurant, you're talking to your spouse and notice something out of the corner of your eye. You ignore the movement because your significant other is telling you about his horrible day and you don't want to be rude. Then you notice the movement again, and again, and again. Finally you break from the engaging story of the bad day to look at your child. You realize the 15 minutes worth of movement you saw was indeed, yes, your sweetie picking her nose and eating it. First thought, smack her hand tell her no! Second thought, scan room and see who may have seen. Third thought, make ball and rock. This is one of those situations where I scold my child loud enough for people nearby to know I don't condone that behavior, take my child to wash her hands, and then ignore the fact that it happened. No reason dwelling on that type of thing right before you eat.
I Like Stars
The same daughter who doesn't like fat people, does like stars. She draws them any time she can get her hands on paper. During my oldest daughter's softball practices, I would pack a pad of paper and some crayons to keep my other two daughters occupied. My 4 year old befriended most of the parents because she is a real chatter-box. One evening, she was drawing stars all over her piece of paper and one of the dads asked her if she likes stars. She sweetly replied, "Oh, they're my favorite. Must be Mommy's favorite too 'cuz they're all over her undies today." I was so embarrassed I am sure I turned 12 different shades of red. The other dad started laughing and I just said sorry. What else could I have said at that moment? Later when we got home, I explained to my daughter, again, that just because you know, think, or notice something does not make it ok to say out loud.
Anyone Smell Something?
THE most embarrassing thing I had to deal with because of one of my children involved a date I was on. A while after my divorce, I started dating again. My first outing/date was with my baby-sitter's son. I know how that sounds, but my babysitter was 62! The date was at a huge playground where my oldest could play and my date and I could talk for a while. Then we all went to a kid-friendly restaurant for a late lunch. I don't remember what I ordered or what my date ordered. But I do remember what my daughter ordered; macaroni and cheese and a hot-dog. The restaurant was pleasant enough but we decided to pack up and leave because my daughter was saying she didn't feel too well. Then, I saw a look on my daughter's face that I knew all too well. I picked her up to get her to the restroom, but I was too late and she vomited mac & cheese and hot-dog all over me. I was so embarrassed. I rushed us both to the bathroom and we cleaned up as well as we could. Even after cleaning up, I smelled awful the whole ride home, which was 40 minutes long. I apologized profusely and knew I'd never get another call.
Boy, was I wrong. I am now married to that same man. Of course, he still makes jokes about that horrible first date.