I recently polled my Facebook friends about embarrassing things kids say. The responses had me nodding my head and giggling. I’m a mom and also spent many years working in early childhood education. I know how quickly and thoroughly a child can embarrass a parent with their innocent questions and statements. The humiliation tends to fall into some common categories.
Your bathroom habits are no longer private once your child begins to talk. Andrea Judisch was a restaurant with her family when her three year-old loudly explained to the waitress, “Mommy won’t let daddy order the chili cheese fries because they give him stinky farts.” Just about every parent has stories of their child yelling they need to poop (or have already done it) at the most inconvenient time.
Heather Hoog is mom to four young children. “I had one child who asked people if they had a penis or a vagina. She even asked the fast food drive through lady. If they looked anything different from the stereotypical man/ women gender, such as a boy with long hair, she would disagree with their answer and tell them. As a preschool teacher, I experienced many children wanting to show off exactly what made them a boy or girl to anyone who walked into the classroom.”
Kathy Peterson says, “We were standing in line at a pharmacy when a very overweight man pulled up on a scooter. My five-year-old son asked him, ‘Wow! How did you get so big?’ There was no condemnation, just curiosity, but I was mortified.” Children also frequently comment on skin color, age and disabilities.
Teachable moments often come at awkward times. Amy Adams’ son asked the meaning of “dry humping” – as they were walking out of church. Christie Quackenbush’s daughter questioned her about condoms while shopping. My own daughter had movie watchers all around us giggling as she loudly whispered, “What’s a Brazilian wax?” during a PG-13 movie that was a bit more mature than I anticipated.
A speaker I heard once told a story of how she didn’t allow her kids Pringles. She told them they were posing for kids like cigarettes. Then her son started kindergarten and told every child with the snack in their lunchbox that their mom was poisoning them. Kerrie Hinch at a similar experience. “At the grocery store, my child very loudly proclaimed, “Look! That mommy doesn’t love them enough to buy healthy foods!”
Face it: bringing kids in public will mean embarrassment at least occasionally. In my experience, the best way to handle embarrassing moments is with kindness and humor. “I’m sorry about that. She’s very interested in the world around her. We’ll work on boundaries next,” eases possible hurt feelings without shaming your child. Respond to your child honestly and explain why some things are better discussed in private.
We want to hear your experiences on the embarrassing things kids say. Let us know in the comment section below.