Concerning Kids – Don't worry if your child embarrasses you in public
Kids can be very blunt. Their bluntness can lead to some funny situations, as well as some embarrassing ones. But certainly, those moments stay in memory for a long time.
The most embarrassing stories I hear are about walking with kids outside. We all have been there when your kid or another kid, in front of a crowd of people asks, ‘Why is that person so fat?’ or ‘Why does that lady have a moustache?’ Then you experience the uncomfortable silence, your heart races and you think of a way to smooth the situation and apologise.
My friend Olivia went to the lake with a kid. They enjoyed the hot sun and swimming in cool water. All was great until the kid examined Olivia’s legs and shouted, ‘Oh, look your legs are so hairy, like dad’s legs’. Olivia went red and tried to talk to the kid and change the subject. But the more she tried to distract the kid, the more the child shouted about her hairy legs. Well, Olivia will not be able to forget this special beach time.
Children see the world around them as it is, and sometimes their words lack any sensitivity or politeness, because they have no filter yet. They behave egocentrically, since they haven't yet come to understand that other people have feelings just like they do. In fact, it's developmentally normal for them when they are toddlers, but the older they get, they should learn to develop that filter.
This is the art of holding one’s tongue, and unfortunately even many adults don’t possess that skill. Children imitate and copy us. Statements of children often reflect our attitude towards other people, both negative and positive. And, of course, we should not forget that we can show the personal and public boundaries only by our own example.
I often invite my friends with their kids for dinner at my place. We all enjoy the common fellowship, good food and many jokes. As kids are running around, we hear their conversations. I still remember how one child started sharing some family secrets. Well, the parents did not expect it. We all laughed but we were also amazed how good the child remembered the dialogue and retold it in the details. Giving out family secrets is common for children, and it is always funny for others, as well as embarrassing for parents themselves.
Sure, after such special “moments”, my friends come back and talk to the child about it. It is important not to scold them for being honest, but to teach them to be aware that some things are not appropriate to say. Children should know that their words can hurt the person’s feelings and that it is not nice to criticise another person’s style, appearance or interests.
Kids are blunt, but it is simply their childhood innocence coming out. Austin O’Malley once said, “a child is an uncut diamond”. And it is an interesting journey of cutting out the diamonds.
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