Don't Sweat It
It's important that you don't take your child's occasional rejection of you personally. This phase of development isn't really about you at all, but rather it's about your child trying to figure out who he is.
It's Only TemporaryTweens may exhibit embarrassment around ages 10 or 11. The good news is that by the time your child graduates from high school he should be well past this phase, and may even decide that he's not only proud of you, but he's once again proud to be seen with you. Knowing this may help you swallow your pride (and hurt feelings) when your tween pretends you're a complete stranger or says you're the cause of his most embarrassing moment ever.
Give Him Some SpaceWhat's the real cause of a child's perceived embarrassing moment? The issue of independence is often times a child's concern. Tweens need a little independence from time to time, and your child may prefer that you back off on activities that you've always shared. For example, your child may no longer want you to show up at his school to have lunch, or he may ask that you refrain from signing up as the soccer team coach this year. Again, these requests aren't personal reflections on how your child feels about you, it's just that he would like the opportunity to spread his wings, just a little.
But Keep Him SafeWhile it's important to give your child some space, it's also important to make sure he stays safe. Allowing your son to walk to a friend's house without you is fine, as long as you determine the neighborhood is safe, and that your child is prepared to make responsible decisions, such as paying attention to stop signs and taking other safety measures. If your child wants to hit the mall without you, you may have to limit his independence. For example, rather than dropping him off and leaving him unattended, you might consider staying at the mall and checking in with him periodically. In addition, it's important to know that some malls or shopping markets don't allow children under the age of 18 after certain hours without a chaperone.
Avoid an Embarrassing MomentThe list of your behaviors that might cause your tween an embarrassing moment is a long one, and may vary from day to day. In general, tweens hate it when parents:
- Call him a nickname in front of his friends
- Try to joke around with his friends
- Discipline him in front of his friends
- Show his baby pictures or preschool pictures to his friends
- Discuss a crush or other personal information with others
- Call him endearing names such as "Honey" or "Sweetie Pie" in front of others