Time to Read: 4 minutes
Listen as Don and Suzanne talk about responding to situations where your child causes you embarrassment.
Years ago, Suzanne and the kids were at the mall doing some shopping, when suddenly this three-year-old kid comes running down the mall corridors. That would not be too unusual, except that this kid was running totally naked! His parents were running behind him holding his clothes. When they finally caught up to him, everyone around was laughing hysterically…except for the parents. They were mortified.
Have you ever been embarrassed as a parent? I’m going to bet the answer is “YES!” Maybe your kid is not running naked through the mall, but most likely you’ve experienced your child throwing a fit in a public place or making a bad grade or saying something they shouldn’t have said.
I remember on our six and seven-year-old coach-pitch baseball teams, the agony of each kid for striking out. They really didn’t care if they made errors in the field, – the whole “defense wins championships” thing didn’t apply to them – but it was a rough walk to the dugout if they struck out. Tears started streaming for at least one kid on the team as soon as he swung the third time. Everyone would look at the kid and then look at the parents, as the parents wanted to go crawl in a hole or be frustrated with their kid for not keeping their emotions in check.
This month we are talking about Pursuing God, which is at the top of our Crazy Cool Family diagram. What does embarrassment at what our kids do or say have to do with Pursuing God? Well, everything really.
You see, embarrassed parents make poor parenting decisions. Our concern for what others think about us or our child turns us into our worst selves. We are angry, frustrated, horrified, or mortified, which causes overreaction, yelling, or nagging. Not only in the moment, but in the future as well, as we want to do everything we can to make sure that embarrassing behavior will never, ever happen again.
Pursuing God gives us a different way to think about embarrassing parenting situations. We are never quite sure when our kid is going to have a meltdown in the grocery store, but if our hearts are right with God, we will be much better prepared for it when it comes.
One huge key to responding well in embarrassing situations is to see ourselves as God sees us and not as we think other parents see us. Whoever owns you gets to define you. When we let God’s opinion matter more than the opinion of people around us, we experience the true freedom Christ offers.
God’s love for you is not dependent on whether your child behaves or throws a fit in public. God sees right through it to the longer-term perspective. He loves you like crazy, no matter what.
As we Pursue God and experience His love for us, we get beyond ourselves to see a different perspective in the situation.
Kid running naked through the mall? I think God is laughing with us. It’s a one-time event (hopefully), the kid probably won’t do it when he’s fourteen (hopefully), and we’re never going to see those people again anyway. The same God who created the giraffe and many different types of funny-looking monkeys is probably ok with this one.
Kid throwing a fit in the store? How old is he or she? Is it a normal developmental thing for a kid that age as they learn the world does not revolve around them? Can we recognize a lot of kids throw fits, and we are not a horrible parent just because our kid throws one? If I know how much God loves me, can His love give me the strength to not add to the scene by throwing my own fit as well?
Kid crying on the way to the dugout? What is the root cause of the tears? What is God trying to show me in my kid getting so upset about a strikeout? Where is the pressure coming from? Us as parents? The child himself?
Pursuing God gives us a completely different perspective. We stop worrying so much about the opinion of others, and we start to see what God is trying to show us about us and about our kids in these embarrassing situations.
Guess what parents? It’s too late to avoid embarrassment as a parent. You signed up for that the moment your child was born. We won’t avoid embarrassing situations, but we can deal with them so much better when we Pursue God, get our identity from Him, and let Him give us a completely different perspective.
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].
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