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Dealing With The Embarrassing Things Kids Say

by | November 5, 2018

Kids do the most cringe-worthy things, don’t they? How do you deal with the embarrassing things kids say though? Especially in public?

From proudly rattling off their newest swear words to dropping trou in public, thankfully there are some ways we can teach them not to be embarrassing little a**holes, at least not in public.

My daughter is almost five, she’s witty, smart, loving and has an innate ability to embarrass the crap out of me in public. She told a random stranger in Target the other day that she has a vagina and so does Mommy but Daddy has a penis and he pee’s standing up. I don’t know who was more mortified, me or the randomer. It was probably one of the more embarrassing things kids say in public and to a stranger.

“Three- and 4-year-olds don’t know the proper context for sharing information,” explains Susan Verwys, Ph.D., assistant professor of early-childhood education at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There’s good news, you can help your foul-mouthed spawn button up when it’s the wrong place and the wrong time to spout. Try out these expert tips the next time your kid says, “Mommy why does that lady have a squishy tummy?”

Give lessons in thankfulness.

Your kid unwraps their birthday present from Grandpa and immediately tosses it to the floor with a disappointed “I already have that!” Embrace that little outburst of honesty as an opportunity for a teachable moment and not just one of those embarrassing things kids say. Graciousness and thankfulness are learned. Though you might feel like crawling under a rock at that very moment, keep calm– her bad manners aren’t intentional.

“Get down at her eye level and tell her matter-of-factly, ‘We always say thank you when we receive a gift, whether or not we already have it,'” suggests Dr. Verwys. Then follow up at home with a lesson on gift-receiving skills. Instead of boring your child to tears with a lecture, try a little role-play: Together, wrap up some toys along with ordinary household items, and take turns giving and receiving. As you unwrap an object, explain how you can always find one nice thing to say about a gift — even if it’s a ladle or a roll of toilet paper.

Teach Sensitivity

It’s a given that your preschooler will do something embarrassing, like pointing at a larger person and loudly exclaiming “look at that fat lady.” If you find yourself in this awkward predicament, calmly let your kid know that it’s not nice to point or to make comments about someone’s appearance in public. Try not to get angry. “Preschoolers don’t blurt out inappropriate things intentionally, so they won’t understand your anger,” says Parents advisor Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know. “Don’t force your child to apologize either. A simple ‘I’m sorry if we offended you’ to the man will do.”

Once you’re home, explain: “While we’re out, if you notice something about someone’s body or the way he looks, it is nice manners to keep it to yourself. Instead, you can talk to Mommy in private later on.” But just to be on the safe side, come up with a secret code like squeezing his hand twice to block blurts in public.

embarrassing things kids say

Be mindful of your own words.

While you can’t always control what comes out of your kid’s mouth, you can control what comes out of yours. Not only do you have to be careful about what you say to her, but you also need to be mindful of what you say around her. You can bet your biscuits that a bitchy comment you make under your breath about your in-laws will be repeated verbatim by your 4-year-old. While you’re teaching her how to zip it, you need to be more aware of your own words. As we all know, monkey see (hear), monkey do!!

Do you have a funny story about embarrassing things kids say? Let us know in the comments below!

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via Julie@raisevegan.com

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