How to Deal With Cringe-worthy Kid Moments

Has your child ever said or done something completely inappropriate, ie ‘Look at that man’s fat tummy, mummy!’– making you feel like crawling into a dark corner and hiding?

Nigel Latta, author of Politically Incorrect Parenting (HarperCollins), says it’s something that happens to almost every parent. “Parents always fall into the position of thinking it’s something they’ve done wrong,” he says. “But kids are only just learning to talk and they don’t put the brakes on.” Here’s Nigel’s advice on those cringe-worthy kid moments.

“Mummy, look at her fat tummy”

It’s that ‘hide your head’ moment when your child yells a personal insult to a complete stranger. Nigel says it’s a good opportunity to explain that they shouldn’t always say what’s in your head. “It’s one of those times when you tell them that they can hurt other people’s feelings,” he explains. “Also remember that people are pretty understanding about the fact that kids blurt things out – the only people who get offended are the ones who don’t have kids.”

Stripping off

If your pre-schooler strips off and starts running up and down a shopping plaza (as mine did, albeit on a pedestrian area by the seaside – cue mum with red face), Nigel says that it’s not something to get embarrassed about. “That’s a moral statement of how we approach nudity,” he says. “People get so wound up about children taking their clothes off, but it’s all about kids being kids.”

Shouting ‘no’ to a doctor or policeman

Completely different, however, is a child refusing to do something that a parent or person in authority is asking them to do. “After the age of three, saying ‘I’m not going to do it’ is an important battle,” advises Nigel, saying it’s an instrumental moment between parent and child. “Make sure you fight the battle at three rather than 13, so they understand early on that life is pretty good if they do what they’re told, and they are stuck on their own in their room if they don’t.” He adds to forget the naughty chair, as it involves forcing a child to stay in one spot, and send them to their room for time out on their own, instead.

Picking their nose in a restaurant

Nigel says teaching your child how to sit nicely when out for dinner is also important – although start somewhere low-key rather than a hatted restaurant. “It’s really important to eat properly and sit quietly in a restaurant. Decide what’s important to you and teach them that’s how to behave,” he explains. “When we went through this, we started off at food halls – it’s less stressful and younger children can crawl off if necessary. If they fight or bicker, take them out to the car for time out, while you stand outside. They’ll soon see that life is boring if they behave badly, but if they sit nicely, they’ll get to go out and do this stuff with you.”

The ‘wee, poo’ phase

Shouting ‘you’ve got a pooey head’ was a delightful phrase favoured by my four-year-old. Nigel says don’t give them a reaction, or they’ll enjoy saying it even more. “At this age, their humour is toilet humour, they just find it hilariously funny. Tread a careful line, as they’ll do it more if they get a reaction. That’s until it gets painful and annoying to other people – they need to stop if they become too noisy and annoying. No-one else should have to suffer my kids’ bad behaviour.”

This article was originally written by Joanna Bounds for our sister site Kidspot Australia.

What’s the most cringe-worthy thing your child has done?

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  1. dawnblyth 02/06/2019 at 8:52 pm

    My 4yr old has a very colourful language that he likes to share regularly with anyone. Cringeworthy – I got called into the kindy office and told that he had been swearing in the playgound and the other children had heard him.

  2. kymmage 01/06/2019 at 12:41 pm

    Definitely the time when we were at a supermarket, I was behind an elderly lady. I started putting things on the conveyer at the check out. My daughter ran at me, head butted me in the stomach as the lady watched. I asked her what she thought she was doing. Squashing my eggs apparently. I didn’t have any eggs with me, she meant my internal eggs. I got a weird look from the lady!!

  3. SarahBlair 30/05/2019 at 4:50 pm

    I was with my daughter who was about 3-4 at the time and I ran into my sister and a friend of hers that I hadn’t met before, while my sister was introducing me to her friend miss J was saying ‘mummy, mummy’ trying to get my attention. I turned to my daughter and she had all three adults full attention when she says loudly ‘That girl is really ugly ay mummy’ pointing at my sisters friend… I could have quite happily died on the spot..

  4. Alezandra 29/05/2019 at 9:02 pm

    I did wonder what’s all this toilet humour and it seems to be a 4 year old thing. He’s been finding it so funny and have recently learned knock knock jokes. Thanks for the tip to not laugh or even have a reaction.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 28/05/2019 at 8:31 pm

    Haha, kids do say the darndest things 😛 Our daughter is 2 and thankfully her sassy comments have not been unleashed on the public yet! I shudder at the thought though, I’m sure our time will come!

  6. Micht 22/05/2019 at 9:42 pm

    Definitely at this stage with Miss 2… but we have managed to do all the above and more to keep her in line and understanding whats expected of her… doesnt always follow through my 9/10 times is not a bad record… i do agree with all he said…makes sense

  7. Shorrty4life1 20/05/2019 at 12:59 pm

    This was such a funny read. I had the worst moment with this when we were in the fish and chip shop. My daughter was only 3 and she saw this lady she thought was a man that was pregnant. She yells out wow that man’s having a baby mum I thought men couldn’t have babies. I was so embarrassed all I could do was apologise and take my child out of the shop to explain to her.

  8. Mands1980 20/05/2019 at 11:10 am

    When my son was little we got to town and got out of the car and he started peeing in a garden I didn’t know where to look. At that age when they need to go there can be no warning and it’s so embarrassing for us parents. There’s also the speech out loud that mans fat mummy which isn’t nice to hear out of your own child’s mouth sometimes I wished I could zip there mouths.

  9. Bevik1971 14/05/2019 at 12:56 pm

    Hehe kids are funny 🙂 When my son (who is now 26) was about 4 my sister worked for Quiksilver, we had Maz Quinn come and stay at our place while he was down for a surfing comp. While he was staying there my son happened to get head lice – so he walks over to Maz who was sitting on the couch – sits down right beside him, leans over real close to him and says “Hey Maz, guess what? I’ve got nits!” Needless to say Maz leaned in the opposite direction pretty quickly haha – he was ok about it though, he said “Oh is that right?” 🙂

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