Skip to main content
When Your Child Embarrasses You 
If it hasn’t happened this week, you know it’s coming. You meet up with another family and out of the blue, your five-year-old pushes a four-year-old girl to the ground. You are humiliated. Or your four-year-old whines when given a command or says, “No” to you.And all this happened in front of other parents.

Expecting Mess Ups

As parents we are not responsible for the actions of our young children. They are children after all. Parenting is a process with many bumps along the road.

In Parenting with Confidence, I urge parents to focus on winning the battle at home. We train in private and are tested in public.  And there are going to be times they mess up.

Though we are not responsible for each individual action of our young children, we are responsible for their habits.

What Are We to Do?

Since we are expecting our children will mess up, we might walk our five-year-old above through apologizing to the little girl. Some appropriate isolation at that moment with some “conversation” from the parent.

But what do we say to the parents who have seen our face turn red?

“We’re working on that.”

For years, Sharon and I used this phrase to acknowledged that we had seen the wrong and knew we needed to do something about it.

And it reminded us…. to work on it. Sometimes a truer phrase might have been, “We need to work on that.”

Ultimately, we can be thankful that this character issue came out so that we can address it. Misbehavior in public gives us a chance to work on character in private.

For Parents of Teens

This same principle applies in even bigger ways when our children are teens. For some thoughts on embarrassment in the teen years, check out my post on the TGC site – How Should a Parent Respond to Public Humiliation?


It’s coming – that moment when you want to crawl under the table.

Remember: Your children are not your identity. Children will be children. But parents are also called by God….to be parents. We are to bring them up in the training of the Lord (Eph 6:4).