Social media makes it really easy to share embarrassing stories, get validation, and vent frustrations about being a parent. It’s so easy to post a funny picture or share a silly story of something your child did. Others use it as an outlet to complain about the frustrations of being a parent and the crazy stunt your child tried to pull in the grocery store parking lot. Have you ever thought how this might embarrass your child?
Maybe you aren’t the type to put it all out there on social media, but you will share an embarrassing story with a friend over coffee while the kids play. Or maybe you share one when you talk to your child’s teacher with your child a few steps away.
Regardless of who you share with and what format you share it in, you could embarrass your child. When a child feels embarrassed they tend to withdraw or get angry. This may cause your child to put up a wall in your relationship and create shame issues for them in the future.
Here are 3 reasons sharing stories could embarrass your child and hurt your relationship:
It creates anxiety and distrust
Your child may feel anxiety when they are left in the dark about who knows information about them. This happened to my son once when someone approached him at church asking about an event he was in. They had seen it on Facebook and knew all about it. My son looked deflated. Since then he’s asked me to not post certain things about him and will sometimes ask me if I have. When kids are caught off guard, they can easily become embarrassed and feel anxious about being exposed. This can cause them to lose some trust in you.
It makes them feel like their feelings don’t matter
Over sharing about your child’s struggles with others is about making us feel better- not your child. We want empathy in a hard time or someone to relate to the craziness we go through. But how does it make your child feel? Do their feelings matter? Your child might prefer to have privacy, and it’s good to respect their wishes.
It makes them feel bullied
A child can easily feel made fun of if they overhear you telling a friend about one of their embarrassing stories. I’ve even heard of some parents using embarrassment as a way to discipline. While embarrassment may be a natural consequence to a child’s choices, it is not good to intentionally humiliate a child with the hope that they will learn a lesson from it. Unfortunately in those situations, they learn that you aren’t a safe person for them emotionally. You become the bully who tries to make them feel less than around others.
We all get embarrassed and can learn from embarrassing times, so let’s make sure we are letting our child experience this naturally without us magnifying it.
I’m curious….What is one of your embarrassing moments?