I watched my daughter attempt to remove a piece of strawberry lodged in her new braces. Seeing her increasing frustration, I subtly looked around. No one was watching. With lightning-quick skill, I dislodged the offending morsel. Relief crossed my daughter's face but quickly morphed into mortification. Standing across from us were two boys from her school and their mother.
Any hope that they had missed my preening vanished as their mom announced, "I thought that was you picking your daughter's teeth!"
On the drive home, my daughter lamented, "I'm so embarrassed! Do you know how many times I'm going to hear about this on Monday?"
We knew the worst thing she could do was pretend it never happened. Her best option was to have a ready response. We brainstormed what she could say.
Various one-liners were immediately rejected. Others were put in the maybe pile. Ultimately, she settled on a couple she liked. By the end of our conversation, she was smiling again.
Since then, our family has had many embarrassing moments. To help our tweens through these awkward times, my husband and I work hard to give them the confidence they need to face those situations. We have found that the most effective strategies include brainstorming with, role-playing with and praying for them to be courageous.
We've also learned to laugh at ourselves. We even have "tell-all dinners." At them, we recount and laugh at embarrassing moments and how we responded. These dinners are no-friends-allowed affairs with one ground rule: Everything said at the table, stays at the table.
The Monday after the stubborn strawberry incident, I waited nervously for my daughter to come home from school.
"How did it go?" I asked.
Her grin told all. "Mom, after laughing about it together, I realized I wasn't that embarrassed anymore."
This article appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine and was titled "The Stubborn Strawberry Incident." Copyright © 2015 by Julie Reece-DeMarco. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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