Do you remember going to the grocery store before you had children and standing in line behind a mom with a screaming child? You may have thought to yourself, “My child will not act like that!”
If you have a child 10 years or older, your confidence in your parenting is certainly going to be challenged.
The question you need to ask yourself when your preteen or young teen does something that embarrasses you is, “How do I respond?” The temptation is certainly there to overreact to your child because of how his/her actions have made you look.
The words that we express when we carefully parent our child are completely different than the ones we use when we have been embarrassed by something our child did or said in front of other people. Our tone changes, our facial expression changes, and it is clear to everyone, including your child, that you are upset.
They are trying to balance the changes happening inside.
Every day our preteen or young teen faces internal conflict as they try to balance the emotional and developmental changes going on inside of them. It is all they can do to keep it together emotionally when they feel like life is spinning out of control. No matter what they say or do, it is your responsibility to carefully guide them on this pathway to becoming a responsible young adult.
Think before you react.
I am not advocating that you overlook the things they say or do that are unacceptable. I am encouraging you as the parent to first deal with your own feelings and then use sound parenting to deal with them. Don’t let your pride be what motivates your response. This often leads to unreasonable punishment and emotional pain for both of you.
Step away. Get your own emotions under control and then model for your child what it means to be led by good judgment and not raw emotion.