Saturday, July 27, 2013


I Taught You Better Than That
(or why is my kid embarrassing me?)

I ran into a friend at the gym today. As we paced ourselves on the treadmill, we caught up with each other's kids. She was a little frustrated (understatement!) with her oldest child who is failing a class needed for college graduation next spring. This same child was driving her crazy with lack of a job, but big plans for summer travel. Sound familiar? Don't our kids know that money doesn't grow on trees??? That if you don't graduate college on time it costs a lot of money (not to mention time)?? And who is paying for all this travel you want to do???

Children can be frustrating. And embarrassing. Why don't they listen to us?
This friend also told me about another child and how she responded when her boyfriend broke up with her. She threw her lemonade at him. Her mother, who learned this from the boyfriend's mother, was horrified! “You know better than that.” The mother was so embarrassed to see her friend again (the boyfriend's mother). Do you ever wonder, “What were they thinking?” when your child (whatever the age) does something inappropriate and embarrassing (to you, at least)?

I've had plenty of those moments:

When I discovered that my 13-year-old son was not wearing shoes at church. In fact, he had not brought them to church at all. What was he thinking?

When my 16-year-old son decided to strip down to his boxers to retrieve something from the bottom of the pool for a youth group scavenger hunt. What was he thinking?  Was he just caught up in the moment?

And the list could go on.

Sometimes, our children will do something that isn't necessarily against something we have taught them, but we expect they would have learned just from living in our home and 'catching' our values and morals.

For example:
Boys with long hair. If you have always made sure they had a nice 'boy haircut' or buzz, you might get a little angsty if they start resisting haircuts and want to grow it long. Why does this bother us? 

Because, “what will people think?” You can make them get a haircut and have them look obedient on the outside, but you can't control the inside (their desires). It becomes a control issue. Through the years, I have finally learned this mantra:

It's not about me. It's not about me. It’s not about me.

(If you see me mumbling to myself, it is very likely this is what I am saying.)

Because, when my child/teenager/young adult does something that I don't approve of, often I am more concerned about what will people think about me as a parent, when I should really be more concerned with what is going on with them; with their heart.

Yes, I used to be one of those parents that wondered, “how could their parent let them do that?” Now I know. I have teenagers and young adults, and I know. 

So if you are one of those sitting in judgment of other parents, please stop. If your children haven't embarrassed you yet, just wait, they will - unless you fully grasp the “It’s not about me” concept. Just remember - It's not about you.

Some of the Best Advice I have ever received also helped me through the teenage/young adult years.

What about you? Have your children ever embarrassed you? How do you respond?

This was shared at Titus 2 Tuesdays


Scott said...

All kids do things that we have not encouraged or taught them to do. It is the process of their exploration of boundaries. Our embarrassment is tied to our sense of being seen as not a good parent. It is dangerous when our value is tied to our children's performance. You are not responsible for another's behavior, you are responsible for your response - whether it be discipline, laughter, acceptance, etc. Thanks for the post and something to think about today.

karentrina said...

Thanks for the comment, Scott. Yes, we are responsible for our response, not the other person's behavior. Mothers often tie their identity to their children and therefore their behavior. We just have to remember, "It's not about me", which is what I was trying to get across in the post.

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