Teaching Kids To Handle Embarrassment

I remember when I was 12 my family went to a restaurant and the waiter asked me the classic question, "Do you want soup, or salad?". I had just graduated from the kids menu and wasn't used to that question, so misunderstanding what he said I responded very confused with, "yeah I'll have the super-salad…". Thinking he was going to bring me a ginormous salad. My answer obviously confused him, so he responded with, "so you want the salad then?", which I affirmed, all the while thinking, "what is his deal, he just asked me that". It wasn't until after he left I expressed my confusion to my family at which they died laughing. I was so embarrassed, and as many families do, they've never let me forget it! To this day whenever I mess something up or misunderstand, my family will ask if I want the "super-salad".

We all get embarrassed, it's simply a part of life. If we didn't, none of us would have any good stories to tell at parties! Because embarrassment is a natural and important part of life, parents need to teach their kids about how to respond to it.

Before Being Embarrassed:

Here's some tips on how to prepare your kids for an embarrassing moment:

  1. Model the Behavior: Kids learn a lot from watching and mimicking their parents. When you find yourself in an embarrassing situation, model a good response they can copy later.
  2. Teach worth is not based on actions: Teach your kids that their worth is not based on their actions, but simply for who they are. Helping them achieve a solid foundation of self-esteem will help them recover quicker when embarrassed.
  3. Don't take life too seriously: Teach your kids that life is supposed to be fun and messy! Nobody is asking them for perfection, only that they try their best. Get creative and do silly activities with them that will help them frequently leave their comfort zone.

After being embarrassed:

No matter what preparation we do, our kids will still experience embarrassment, so here's some ideas on how to help them when it does happen:

  1. Validate their feelings: This is especially helpful if they get upset about being embarrassed. Help them express their feelings and acknowledge that you understand how they feel. Take their concern seriously, but don't overact.
  2. Remind them it could happen to anyone: Nobody is perfect, and reminding them of that can help normalize the experience. You might even tell them an embarrassing story that happened to you one time!
  3. Praise positive skills: Try complimenting them on something well they did that day and express your pride in them.

Embarrassment is a natural part of life that we all experience. Hopefully these tips are helpful in teaching your kids how to respond positively to embarrassment.

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Tuesday, 09 August 2022

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