While your child may enjoy public snuggles and kisses every morning when leaving for kindergarten, they may not appreciate these when they are 13. In fact at that age, they will be embarrassed by your actions and may not even want to be seen with you in public.
You may be taken aback by their actions but that does not automatically mean that your child is completely rejecting you. When in their teens, especially, your child is just transitioning from childhood to independence and this is quite normal. It does not make it any less hurtful and here is how you can cope.
Don’t take it personally
For as long as you have been a good parent to your child, they will always love you unconditionally. Therefore, do not take it personally that they don’t want you accompanying them everywhere they go. They are just trying to understand who they are without you hovering around them. Rest assured that their withdrawal has nothing to do with you. It is just a phase.
Give them some space
As mentioned earlier, during the teenage years, your child is transitioning from childhood to independence. During this time, they are trying to understand who they are ad formulate an identity. You being in their business doesn’t help and could dent your relationship.
The best thing to do is to give them some space especially in public. You may be surprised that honouring their wishes for indepedence in public may strengthen your relationship at hope.
Nevertheless, do not take the need for space as an excuse for you to neglect them, make sure you pay attention to your child’s behaviour without interfering. This way you can catch any problematic behaviour, which is common in adolescence, in good time.
Avoid anything that embarrasses your child
Sometimes, when your child is embarrassed by you, it is because they need their space, other times, it is because of something you might be doing. The last thing your child wants is to have you compare them to their peers. This is not only embarrassing it can damage their self-esteem.
Also, avoid stepping out in age-inappropriate wear in a bid to fit in with the younger ones. Steer clear of the skimpy outfits.
Listen and pay attention
In their adolescence, children want some independence but they still crave parental attention except they want it on their terms. Make sure that you are present when your child needs you and listen to them more than you talk. When your adolescent knows there is a safe space at home where they can share anything, they will be willing o share a lot.
Be gentle when correcting them
Children in their teens and tweens are extremely sensitive and emotional. If there are corrections to be made, ensure that you do it in a calm, gentle and reassuring way. Also, the correction can wait until you get home.
Do not shout your child’s flaws to them in public. Ever!
In a nutshell…
Sometimes, your child may not tell you that you embarrass them, however, if you are observant, you will see obvious cues from them like them walking ahead of you when you are in public or pulling from the hug too fast than normal. When you notice such behaviour do not panic and don’t take it personally.
If you are honest, you were 13 once and you probably behaved the same. How you respond to your child can either break or strengthen your relationship.