In our house, we have lots of embarrassing moments. You name it, it’s happened. Passing gas in public, check. Accidentally calling the teacher mom, check again. Puking at the school art fair, double-check. Life can be embarrassing sometimes! In this article, I’ll discuss ways you can comfort your kids when life is embarrassing. You might just learn something that helps you as well.

Embarrassment happens!

Embarrassment is a common emotion experienced by children, especially in social situations. It can make them feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, and even ashamed. Children who experience frequent or intense embarrassment may become anxious and avoid social situations altogether.

Embarrassing situations your child might encounter

  • Crying in public, in a classroom, or in front of peers
  • Getting caught picking their nose
  • Wardrobe malfunctions (clothing worn inside out or backward, tearing a hole in pants, zippers down)
  • Passing gas, burping loudly, bladder control issues, period bleed throughs

Taking the time to comfort children who are embarrassed can help them feel supported, validated, and reassured. It can also help them develop resilience and coping strategies to manage future embarrassing situations.

6 ways to comfort your kids when life is embarrassing

1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings

When our children feel embarrassed, it’s important to validate their feelings by acknowledging them. You can say something like, “I can see that you’re feeling embarrassed right now, and that’s okay. It’s normal to feel that way.”

Refrain from any sort of teasing. There are times when using humor can be helpful, but teasing an embarrassed kid is the equivalent of kicking someone when they are already down.

2. Encourage your child to express their feelings

Encouraging children to talk about how they feel can help them process their emotions and feel connected. Parents or caregivers can ask open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me more about what happened?” or “How did you feel when that happened?”

It’s also important to accept when a child isn’t ready to talk about something. Don’t pressure them if they aren’t ready. Let them know you are always willing to listen when the time is right for them.

3. Help your child reframe the situation

Identifying positive aspects of the situation can help your child shift their perspective and feel less embarrassed. Parents or caregivers can point out things like, “At least now you know what not to do next time” or “It’s brave to try something new, even if it doesn’t go perfectly.”

Encourage your child to see the situation in a different light. You can do this by asking questions such as, “What would you do differently next time?” or “What did you learn from this experience?”

4. Share your own experiences

Sharing personal experiences of embarrassing moments can help children feel less alone and more understood. Parents or caregivers can say things like, “I remember when I felt embarrassed in a similar situation” or “I’ve made mistakes before too.” Telling stories from your past will help lighten the mood, and add levity to embarrassing situations.

Sharing how you coped with similar situations can also help guide your children on how to manage their current situation.

Teach your child self compassion

Teaching your child to be kind to themselves is a fundamental task of parenthood. As we teach our children to be kind to themselves, we are helping them develop self-compassion. You can say things like, “It’s okay to make mistakes” or “You’re doing the best you can.” Remind your child that you love them no matter what and that they should love themselves no matter what.

5. Provide practical strategies

Participating in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, or progressive muscle relaxation can help kids manage feelings of embarrassment. I have found that when I am embarrassed taking a few deep breaths can be helpful.

6. Set the example

When you find yourself in an embarrassing situation, if appropriate, share it with your kids. Show them how life goes on despite awkward moments.

Additional things to remember

Help your child recognize their strengths

Helping children recognize their own strengths and positive qualities can also boost their self-esteem and resilience. Parents or caregivers can say things like, “It’s okay to feel embarrassed about this, but it doesn’t change how smart or talented you are.”

A young girl looks embarrassed.

Normalizing Embarrassment

Normalizing embarrassment involves helping children understand that it’s a common experience that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. Doing this can decrease the sense of shame your child might be feeling. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

  1. Talk about it openly: Encourage your child to talk openly about their embarrassing moments. This can help them realize that it’s okay to feel embarrassed and that others have gone through similar experiences.
  2. Discourage secrets: Secrets eventually come out and can be harmful to children.
  3. Emphasize growth and learning: Help your child see embarrassing moments as opportunities for growth and learning.
  4. Find the humor– If and when the time is right, you can help your child see the humor in embarrassing moments. Learn to laugh at yourself to show your kids how it can be done.

By normalizing embarrassment, you can help your child feel more comfortable talking about their feelings and experiences. This can lead to greater self-awareness, as well as increased confidence and resilience.

Final thoughts

Comforting our kids when they are embarrassed can help them to feel less anxiety about challenging social situations. Helping them recognize that embarrassment happens to everyone will help them feel less alone. Remember to approach your child with empathy, and help them move forward despite embarrassing moments. As you model taking things in stride, your kids will pick up on how to be more resilient when things don’t go their way.

Looking for more information on how to comfort your kids? Check out some more of my articles:

Comforting your kids when school shootings occur.

How to use the five love languages to comfort kids

How to show your child sincere empathy

Love your children, trust yourself

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