Embarrassment happens to us all, but did you know that it’s possible to turn embarrassment into a teachable moment?
And when we’re talking about sex, embarrassment is a common feeling that can happen to most of us. It provides a great opportunity to talk to your child about why sex can embarrass us as well as talk about how to manage embarrassment.
And in case you were wondering, teachable moments are everyday moments that we can turn into an opportunity to teach our child something. You can learn more in this article about what a teachable moment is.
Watch the video where I talk about how to turn embarrassment into a teachable moment!
Hi, I’m Cath Hak from Sex Ed Rescue and this week we’re talking about how to turn feeling embarrassed into a teachable moment.
Feeling embarrassed is something that happens to everyone. It could be falling over in public, toilet paper hanging out the back of your pants [yep, I’ve done that one twice now in public!] or be as simple as someone saying something embarrassing. Though it’s a fact of life, we can actually use it as a teachable moment for sex.
For example I might be talking to my daughter, she’s twelve, about having pubic hair. She might be feeling a little bit embarrassed and if I pick up on that I can talk about it. But I find that it’s a great idea to talk about it as if it’s not her I’m talking about.
So, instead of me saying, ‘You might be feeling embarrassed,’ I’ll say to her, ‘You know it’s quite common for girls to get embarrassed when they first start growing hair down there. It’s normal for that to happen. It’s because your body is changing and you’re growing up,’ and continue to talk about it from there. So, you could use that as an opportunity to talk with your child. You can also tell a story about yourself. You could say, ‘I remember what it was like when I got my first hairs, I was too embarrassed to ask my Mum if it was normal.’
Telling stories of your embarrassing moments is a great idea. Or, another example is when I went shopping with my daughter on the weekend and she commented that people were staring at me. I asked her what she meant, and she said it was because of my bright pink hair. I said, ‘Oh, so people look at me all the time because of my hair colour?’ And she said yes.
Then we had a conversation about how it’s embarrassing when people look at you and you’re not sure why. We could talk about how we might feel uncomfortable because we don’t want to attract all this attention. There are lots of different choices. Another is when we talk about sex and my daughter might give me a sign that she’s feeling uncomfortable about the topic. I could mention how lots of people feel embarrassed talking about sex and she could ask, ‘Why?’ An example I could give her is when I was younger, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about sex with my mother and why I might’ve felt like that. But it’s a great opportunity to talk about how sex, for a lot of people, is a taboo topic but it’s okay to talk about in your family. It’s okay to talk about and to acknowledge that embarrassment does happen.
I hope that helps, cheers!
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.