5 Reasons Teenagers are Embarrassed by Their Parents

Showing too much affection is a common reason teens are embarrassed by their parents.
Mother Image / The Image Bank / Getty Images

If you have a child between the ages of 13 and 18, chances are you’re going to embarrass him at some point. Don’t take it personally--it’s essentially written in the code of teenagers that they have to be embarrassed by their parents every once in a while.

It’s OK for teens to feel embarrassed sometimes. In fact, a little embarrassment gives them an opportunity to practice dealing with uncomfortable emotions, which is a skill that will serve them well in life.

But, there are some things you can do to tone down the humiliation. Give your teen space when he needs it, and then talk to him about what caused him to react with embarrassment. It might just be one of these five reasons:

1. Your Clothes

Not everyone is born with the fashion gene, and you probably think that what you wear is the least of your teen’s worries. However, appearances are very important to teenagers, and that includes yours.

Take a look at your closet. Are your clothes too revealing? Are they stuck in a decade or two previous? Are you trying to be fashionable, but totally missing the mark? Of course, your clothes should suit you, but they shouldn’t humiliate your teen at the same time.

2. Being Too Affectionate

You love your teenager. You always have, and you always will. She probably knows that, but she doesn’t need her friends to see that love in action. Save your lovey-dovey greetings and goodbyes for private moments, and give them a little space in public.

Even better--let your child go with a simple “goodbye!” and then privately sending him a text reminding him of your love.

3. Trying to Be One of the Teens

Although you might not feel much different than you did when you were a teenager, trying to fit in with your teen’s friends won’t work. While, it’s OK to want to relate to adolescents by keeping up with the latest entertainment news and trends, don’t try to dress like them, talk like them or entertain them every weekend.

Remember, you’re the parent, not part of the gang.

4. Treating Them Like a Child

You might not see your teenager as an adult, but he’s hurtling toward that classification faster than you can adjust to it. Therefore, he doesn’t need you to wipe his face or tell him to pull up his pants--and it can be humiliating for your teen to have his friends see his mother treat him like a toddler. Both you and your teen need to practice allowing him to be more like an adult.

5. Calling Attention to Yourself

By calling attention to yourself around your teen, you’re also calling attention to her--often, much to her dismay. Being too loud, making wild gestures in public or creating some other sort of “show” probably makes your teen want to crawl into her bed and hide under the covers. Do your teen a favor and be present but not overly present while attending functions together.

Toning it Down

While it’s not your responsibility to protect your teen from embarrassment all the time, doing things that embarrass your teen too much or too often can damage your relationship.

Sometimes, it’s important to tone your behavior down a little to maintain a healthy relationship throughout adolescence.

Respect that your teen has a lot of emotions and social awareness right now. You can do a lot to make her feel better--or much, much worse. Talk to your teen about mutual expectations; if she doesn’t want you to overly engage with her friends in public, then it’s expected that she won’t offer up rude or sarcastic remarks in front of her peers, either. When you respect each other, there’s much less for anyone to be embarrassed about.

Continue Reading