We often don’t realize that when our children seem embarrassed by us, are hostile toward us, or—most worrisome—begin to question the values that they’ve been taught their whole lives, it is usually directly related to a search for themselves. The things kids say are not deliberately designed to hurt us.
Still, be prepared for these types of comments as your kids pull away. It’s already started. My daughter had always held my hand as I walked her into school, but not this year. Nope, she jerks her hand away as soon as we get up to the building. It breaks my heart, but iSpecialist Shaunti Feldhahn says that’s only the beginning! Seriously, she says this pulling away is a necessary step for kids to figure out who they are. So, when you hear these 3 things your kids will say one day, don’t worry. Just know that it is a part of their development.
So, when you hear these 3 things your kids will say one day, don’t worry. Just know that it is a part of their development.
1. “You’re embarrassing!”
Have you ever wondered why your teenager finds you so profoundly embarrassing? It turns out that viewing you as embarrassingly outdated is one of the quickest ways for your child to see herself as different from you and to achieve the needed sense of separation. She’s saying, “I’m trying to be cool. You represent the only identity I’ve ever known, so in order to rapidly distance myself from that old identity, I have to view you as so uncool that you’re actually embarrassing.”
During our focus groups, the kids tried to outdo each other with amusing examples of their parents’ uncoolness. Said one girl, “My mom sings aloud to the songs in the grocery store. She thinks that the other customers are smiling with her, but they are clearly laughing at her.”
2. “Oh, Mom, look at your pants!”
Another signal of identity building is when those oh-so-sweet teenagers enjoy directly poking fun at their parents. For example, one day Lisa was dancing around in some old jeans and her daughters started laughing. One said, “Um, Mom… how old are those pants?”
“I don’t know.” She glanced down. “Not more than fifteen years, I think.”
3. “I’m not even sure I believe what you believe.”
This is one of the hardest things for a parent to hear. When kids move into the teen years things become a lot less black and white. They become more and more aware of the world around them and will start to question things you have taught them; putting them to the test. However, while they become more aware of the world around them in their teens, they are still self-focused. So they will start to brush off things you have taught them as not fitting into their life or being out of date. According to the experts, this is an actual developmental stage characterized by rampant relativism, where even a child with strong convictions might start saying things like, “Well, that’s true for you, but I’m not sure it’s true for me.”
Tell us! What is something your kids have said to you that caught you off guard?