Have you ever told shared stories about your kids that they might find embarrassing? I know I’ve caught myself asking for advice or sharing things with friends and than later thinking, “Hmm….I probably shouldn’t have said that.”
When our kids were little, we talked about everything: stories about sleep, potty training, tantrums, etc. It’s one of the ways we felt supported and not alone. However, as our kids grow up, there comes a point when it’s important to pause before saying something they may find embarrassing. This can especially be a challenge since we still feel the need to be validated and supported.
A few years ago I was at the hair salon. I had my then 11-year-old daughter with me and we were chatting away with the stylist. She was making small talk with my daughter when out-of-the blue she said, “So, do you have your period yet?” We were so surprised our mouths literally dropped open. I quickly muttered something about that seeming like a personal question and changed the topic. When we got to the car, my daughter was quite upset. At 11, a question about her changing body was REALLY embarrassing. In defense of the stylist, who was in her 50’s, she clearly didn’t remember what it was like to be new to all of the changes with puberty. However, it was an important lesson on using care with what we ask our kids and share about them.
I started noticing other times when adults told really private stories about their kids. (Lots of these were posts on Facebook!) I noticed my mom friends asking each other if their kids had their periods or were aware of wet dreams, sharing who their child likes or has kissed, talking about emotional outbursts and moody behavior etc. Although I understand the desire to talk with other parents and feel supported; I also think it’s really important to think about your child’s privacy.
We want to make sure our kids feel safe sharing with us. They need to know that their questions and concerns aren’t going to end up being shared with your friends or as posts on social media. We went through puberty a long time ago and it can be hard to remember how embarrassing or strange the changes felt. I’m sure my hair stylist didn’t intend to make my daughter feel so uncomfortable, but as she pointed out in the car, she’d never ask her questions about her status with menopause!
Dealing with first loves, body changes and raging emotions are common experiences; however, it’s good to use care before asking your friends personal questions about their kids or sharing stories about your own without permission.
Ultimately, we want our kids to trust us. As it can be hard to predict what they might find embarrassing let’s err on the side of caution and keep it private.