Your child has no filter. Even though your littlest love may only be saying what’s on their mind, when your tot blurts out “mama, your boobies are soooooo big” in the middle of the company picnic, you can’t help but cringe — and cry. But then again, you’re also kind of giggling on the inside too. When kids say embarrassing things, they aren’t trying to be funny or ironic or get you into trouble. They’re just being honest — brutally, hilariously honest . So here’s what you can do the next time your kiddo has something awesomely mortifying to say.
1. Explain to your child. Simply shutting them down won’t do. Sure you’ll save face right now, but this is a learning opportunity. When your kiddo announces that grandma’s wrinkles are like rivers on her face, talk to them about their comment. You don’t have to explain or engage in a massive discussion in front of the person they’ve clearly offended. Instead, apologize for your child and then have a private conversation about what is, and isn’t, okay to say in public.
2. Be a role model. Some of the most embarrassing things that can come out of your kiddo’s mouth are really your words. If you’re snarky, snide, or gossipy, your child will pick up on it… and then parrot it back. That means if your three-year-old hears you talking about how fake the neighbor’s new nose looks, chances are they’ll spill your snippy secret straight to her face. Speak kindly about others — especially in front of your child.
3. Don’t yell, chastise, or scold. When whatever your child just said is totally inappropriate, your first instinct is to (not-so-quietly) yell, “Quiet!” Remember that your child isn’t trying to be mean or purposefully embarrass you. They’re just stating an honest observation.
4. Laugh it off. Even though you’re totally flustered by what your child just said, you also think it’s pretty hilarious. Instead of turning red and hiding your head in shame, stand up straight and laugh it off. Of course, this only works if your child’s comment is actually funny. If it is unintentionally mean or hurts someone else’s feelings, this isn’t the tactic to take.
5. Agree with your kiddo wholeheartedly. A cutely comical comment can be embarrassing but true. Again, as long as your child’s remark isn’t causing conflict or hurting anyone’s feelings, you might want to agree with them. This strategy should also come with a discussion or explanation.
6. Say absolutely nothing. This strategy doesn’t work in every situation, but sometimes kids get it so very right that there’s nothing left to say. It might be throw you off balance when your preschooler loudly proclaims, “Mommy, that mean lady cut!” when someone barges ahead of you in the grocery checkout line, but it’s also true. (You know that if you could get away with it, you’d say the same thing.) This too requires an at-home discussion, but in this case the angle to take is more of a “yes, that lady was wrong, but there are polite ways to get someone’s attention” type of approach.
7. Invite plenty of questions. When the embarrassing statement comes out of curiosity, it’s okay to encourage your child to ask questions. Children notice differences — especially when it comes to people. If your kiddo makes an embarrassing comment about someone else’s appearance (or anything else that makes them appear different), ask your child why they said what they did. Then ask if they have questions for you about why some people look, act, talk, or anything else different, and be prepared to explain why some ways of phrasing observations are okay while others aren’t.
8. Be brief with the response. Along with wanting to put those words right back into your child’s mouth, you may also want to apologize profusely to the now-offended person on the receiving end of the rude remark. Stop yourself before you launch into a 10-minute monologue. Instead of making matters worse or add insult to injury, keep it simple: “So sorry, we’re working on that.”
What’s the most embarrassing thing your child has said in public? Tweet us @BritandCo !
(Photos via Getty)