Happy Hump Day Mama’s! Let’s get right down to the nitty gritty. No one likes to be embarrassed, especially in public. As a Mama of 4 I can tell you that I have had my fair share of public embarrassment. I felt like I wanted to crawl into a cave and leave my child on the outside. I was not only embarrassed, but I was fuming. In my head I was thinking, “These people must think I’m a bad parent because of how my child is behaving, so let me show them I’m not”. As a child I was always told wherever you do it (act crazy), is where you get it. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. I really didn’t act out too often so I had nothing to worry about. When I had kids of my own I adopted that same philosophy because that’s what I was taught and it worked because it was very rare that I was chastised in public by my mother. As a mother of 4 I do my very best to keep it all together. Sometimes I’m successful and other times I’m not. If you read my blog post last week I told you that I have been attending this parenting class at my church and it has really opened my eyes to new ways of parenting and using different strategies to make parenting fun and less stressful. While in class there was a point that spoke on not embarrassing your kids in public. In my head all I could think of was what I’d been taught (where you do it, is where you get it). However I was told something that was strange to me, but I listened anyway. Our facilitators told us not to embarrass our kids in public…SAY WHAT?! I was waiting to hear their justification for this. They gave an example about being a working adult and what if you did something in front of your boss that they did not like and instead of pulling you into their office they embarrassed you in front of all your coworkers. How would that make you feel? Mama’s I had an “Ah-ha” moment! It clicked for me and made sense. We teach our kids to show respect and treat others that way you want them to treat you, but how can we teach that principle if we embarrass them in public, but we do not want to be embarrassed in public.
I came home and I was still wrapping my head around this new concept of delayed chastisement. On Monday I asked my kids how it makes them feel when I handled situations in public on the spot and I got two responses. One of my kids said it made them feel like a failure and the other said it made them feel like an idiot. I asked them why and they said because it was not everyone’s business to know what they had done and they felt like other people viewed them as bad kids because of their mishap. Mama’s these answers made my heart ache and my stomach turn because as a mother I am there to nurture my kids, not make them feel worthless. I asked them “how do they think I feel when they embarrass me in public?” They paused and said, “bad”. It was at that moment we both touched and agreed that we would try our very best not to embarrass each other in public.
For those Mama’s wondering let me clarify what embarrassment is for me. When I ask my kids not to do or say something in public and they do it. When we go into the store and I have made it perfectly clear what we are purchasing and when we get inside they get the “I wants”. For them it is embarrassing for me to lecture them in public, reminding them of what we’d already discussed and wanting an explanation as to why they deviated from it. Now Mama’s some of you are reading this and thinking I may be trying to be my children’s friend instead of their parent. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I want there to be mutual respect between my kids and I. They know I am the parent and what I say goes, but I want them to respect me, not fear me…That’s another topic for another day. I just wanted to share with you another helpful tip that I got from the parenting class. It’s never too late to change your approach to parenting. You can always learn something new that can help you grow as a Mama. Always be willing to learn, change and grow. If you don’t already do it, take a moment to talk about your parenting with your kids. Try this exercise as a family. Get a sheet of paper and pencil for everyone. Write your name at the top and make 3 columns, Start, Continue, Stop. Each family member will tell the other 3 things they want them to start doing, continue doing and stop doing. You’ll be surprised at the things you already do well, the things your family members want you to do and the things you may be doing to hurt someone without even realizing it. In order for this exercise to be successful there must be a safe atmosphere without punishment. Each person has to feel respected in order for honesty to take place. My family does this 3-4 times each year and we pull our lists out to see how we’ve improved. When you try it let me know by leaving a comment below!
Don’t wait, Live your best life now!