Blush / Embarassment
Blush, embarrassment is a natural emotion that we often do not discuss or acknowledge.
Shame is often perceived as a negative feeling that makes us feel bad about ourselves.
Shame is associated with guilt, embarrassment and humiliation resulting in painful self-conscious feelings. For example, we can feel worthless, useless, inadequate, inferior and even unloved. Embarrassment is an emotion that results in a physical reaction and, depending on our skin tone, can vary invisibility.
For adults, minor embarrassments can be managed, but being embarrassed can be challenging to deal with for children. Sometimes we find embarrassment hiding behind anger and worry, and we confuse embarrassment with these emotions. Setting examples of dealing with embarrassment, sharing you made a mistake with children. Don’t hide your embarrassment; share with children and acknowledge when you are embarrassed! When kids are embarrassed, it’s important not to dismiss their feelings, even if the situation was not a huge deal. ( R Jacobson, Child Mind Institute )
Instead, let them know you take their feelings seriously. Then, focus on moving on and modelling healthy coping skills for embarrassing situations. For example, a ski lesson and your child fell and now does not want to ski again. Share when you were embarrassed learning a new sport and again acknowledge the child’s feelings. Reflection on your own experiences will help you understand better what your child may be experiencing.
Helping your child gain perspective without minimizing his feelings will make it easier for him to move past negative experiences — and give him an essential tool for building self-awareness in the future. ( R Jacobson, Child Mind Institute )
All feelings are important and need to be acknowledged. “If we encourage children to tell us or show us how they feel, we need to be confident that we can offer an appropriate response. A note of caution before you ask a child to share their feelings, be sure you are prepared with an appropriate response” ( C Holliday, B Wroe 2021 Little book of Big Blushes). Dismissing feelings once shared can damage trust and resilience.
Building resilience is the goal for good mental health. It is generally accepted that children develop a sense of self-conscience between two and three. This is when a child develops a sense of shame or not. If this goes well, a child will have a good self-image, learn self-control, and feel lovable.
Acknowledge children’s feelings, all feelings. Remember, relationships matter to all of us and avoid shame as a tool for discipline. You can disapprove of a behavior without making the child feel less or shameful. The goal always is for the child to feel accepted.