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Join me for a cup of tea and a chat about what to not do when your child embarrasses you.
We have all been there. We are in the store or some other public place, and our child exclaims loudly “What is wrong with that lady?” or comments on some different feature of the person in question.
I think our first instinct is to quietly shush them and move away quickly. I am hear to tell you that most of the time, while that is our instinct, it may not always be the best thing to do. It is as if, we as the adult, are telling the person (whom likely heard the comment) that we agree with the child and we are embarrassed they said aloud what we were thinking.
Instead, I have found it is much nicer if you smile at the person, give a shake of your head, acknowledging that you indeed are embarrassed by their frankness and are apologizing for the rudeness.
It seems when we walk away with our head down, or ignore it, we are teaching our children that it is okay to frankly state something that is not as attractive, odd, out of the norm as being odd.
The person may know he is missing an arm, I am sure it is not news to him. But to be avoided, the lack of eye contact, the quickly shushing and moving away, can make them feel somewhat like a leper.
Briefly looking up, with the look of apology, smiling, making sure they know you are a person with feelings is a very sensitive and tasteful thing to do.
Will some people still be offended? Yes, likely. But this can help so that at least we tried!

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  1. Sarah Mueller

    Yes, this is a much better way. I always try to make eye contact and smile at people who look different from me – the mom at the aquarium with an older daughter in a wheelchair, the mom at the grocery store who looks flustered and without much hope. A lot of time, people like this are painfully obvious of being looked down upon and I think it’s a blessing to me to be able to offer some encouragement.
    I enjoyed your guest post at Jessie Gunderson’s as well. God bless you and your family.

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