Parenting can be embarrassing! It’s natural to feel some shame when your potty-trained kiddo smells like a full diaper, or when they’re walking around in public with a finger up their nose. But your best tool for dealing with those embarrassing kid behaviors is putting the shame aside, and creating a home where your kids know they can talk about anything without judgment.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to build trust with your kids by holding space for them to share their most embarrassing moments.
- The opportunity that embarrassing habits provide for developing that sharing relationship.
- How our instinct to protect kids from teasing can interfere with helping them manage unwanted behaviors.
- The most important thing you can say when a kiddo shares something they’re embarrassed about.
And much more!
As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. We post tips and tools and do pop-up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!
About Randi Rubenstein
Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.
She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.
At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.
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[00:00:00] My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast. At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them.
Hi, podcast listeners. How are you this week? Welcome, welcome, welcome. I have a really fun topic. Let’s talk about all the embarrassing things. Like nose picking, pants pooping past the age of typical potty training, penis playing, all the things. I remember my boys were little and they’d be like watching TV and probably wouldn’t have pants on or something, and they’d like have little, like sticking up little penises, and then some random family member would come over and it was like, yeah, so all those things.
[00:01:00] What made me think about this episode was, I was thinking about this mom who has a six year old son, and she was getting some coaching on this issue that just like, wasn’t getting resolved, which was her son was constantly pooping in his pants. And she tried so many different things and consulted psychologists and, it was a real issue.
Like, every single day she was finding, and he was like hiding underwear, and it was like it had just turned into this huge thing. And she did a lot of research, like this is a really smart mom and she did a lot of research and she did research on withholding and she was looking at, she talked to, you know, doctors and pediatricians and all. I mean, really, like, this has been an issue for like a couple of years, maybe like three years, maybe potty trained around somewhere three,
[00:02:00] three and a half. I mean, nobody wants to deal with shitty underwear day after day after day.
And I was coaching her and she’s like, you know, I’m embarrassed to say, but we still haven’t resolved this issue. And I’m like, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about all the embarrassing things and why it’s so embarrassing. And what you have learned, and what your theories are, and what the conversations have been. And I said, let’s just dig in and look at it.
And it was interesting because you know, she really had pretty much ruled out any medical reasons. And what we got to was I said, so have you talked about, you know, having him starting to wear a pull-up again? And she was like, well, I don’t want to shame him.
[00:03:00] And I said, why do you think it would be shaming? And she’s like, well, I feel like it’d be like, telling him that he’s like a baby and he needs to wear a pull-up. I mean, this is a six year old little boy.
And I said, well, if he wears a pull-up, what are you really worried about? She’s like, well, if other kids found out at school, like maybe they would make fun of him and call him a baby. I said, well, do you think that there’s not some risk in other kids teasing him about being the kid that always smells like poopy pants?
She’s like, no, I guess that’s true. I was like, think about it. You’re not putting him in a pull up, which to me would be a logical choice. I mean, if you want to think about it as a consequence, then, you know, it’s like when you are having poop accidents day after day after day, then
[00:04:00] we need to put you in underwear that we can dispose of properly and throw away, right?
Like, it’s not sanitary to be wearing underwear that you are pooping in, right? It’s not healthy. It’s not safe. It’s not sanitary. And there’s many, many days where there’s like, they’re dealing with poop. She’s cleaning up poop, he’s cleaning up, she had like had him cleaning up the poop and, um, it’s a safety issue.
So what if we just said, I’m not worried about you. Like you’re not going to go to college and have this issue. One day you’re going to, it’s going to, you know, you’re going to be like, yeah, of course. When my body tells me that I need to go to the bathroom, I sit on the toilet, I go to the bathroom, I wipe, I wash my hands afterwards. Like, that’s what I do.
And um, and for whatever
[00:05:00] reason, your brain and body aren’t cooperating right now. So we’re just gonna go and wear pull ups until your body starts to really, like, the signals register and when you have to poop, you’ll just go and pull your pull-up down, and once we have at least three days of no pooping accidents, then you can go back to underwear.
It’s no big, you’re only six. I know this is not going to be a thing forever, and it has been a thing for a couple of years. And it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. And so we’re just going to wear pull-ups until your body starts to, to read the cues, right? To feel the sensation of, I need to poop. I’m going to the potty. I’m going to sit down and I’m going to go and then I’m going to wipe and then I’m going to flush and then I’m going to go wash my hands.
And she was like, yeah, yeah. And I said, think about it. What she was really worried about
[00:06:00] was him feeling like a baby or other kids making fun of him for wearing a pull-up. And so you have that issue there, but where you are right now is, he’s probably not feeling great about himself that there’s this constant pooping drama going on. There’s a lot of frustration obviously, like mom was frustrated.
And so I said, so let’s just handle it and just make it a no big deal. You’re just going to wear pull-ups until, and, and we’ll figure this out. Like, my job is to keep you safe and healthy, so we’ll just handle it.
She was like, yeah, I could do that. No, that makes sense. Like, she didn’t realize what it was that she was so worried about. She was so worried that she was going to be shaming him, that she was going to be treating him like a baby, that she was going to be putting him in this position for other kids to shame him. But I’m sure he was struggling with
[00:07:00] a ton of shame from being the kid that had been shitting his pants for three years. Right. And this constant elephant in the room, and all this pooping drama.
So anyway, that’s what they did. And like, I want to say like a week later, she was like, it’s working. It’s working.
A lot of times I think we don’t even realize we, when it’s an embarrassing topic and it’s this recurring problem in our life, I think sometimes we’re scared to even really look at it and problem solve because there’s embarrassment. There’s shame.
And so like nose picking is a pretty common tic that many kids have. I had this one mom, one time she said, yeah, my, uh, son, he’s got a nose picking tic and I see him doing it a lot.
[00:08:00] Like, he does it at baseball, he does it, you know, and, you know, what are you going to do?
And I said, no. We’re not nose picking in public. And she’s like, well, how do I handle it? I was like, we’re just not scared to talk about it. We’re not scared to talk about it. And I said, is it okay with you that he’s constantly got his fingers up his nose? And she’s like, no, but how do I stop it?
I said you got to talk about it. Like we we can’t be scared to talk about things Right? Like we can’t be scared to talk about things. I think when it’s embarrassing, it’s almost like we want to just like close our eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist, pretend it doesn’t exist.
Maybe the nose picking might just naturally resolve and maybe sometimes these things naturally resolve, but if it’s something that you see as a problem, when we talk about it and we’re not, you know,
[00:09:00] shaming other people for it and we just talk about it matter of factly, , and we address the situation and we come up with a plan, then we can get rid of it. Right?
Hey, I’ve noticed that, how often in public in front of other people that you’re picking your nose. Have you noticed? And your kid might get embarrassed, because maybe you’ve said things in the past that make them feel ashamed about it. And you’re like, it’s not a big deal. It’s not a big deal.
And. There are certain behaviors that we do in private. Look, there are some people for some odd reason that think that like the glass inside of cars, they think they’re invisible inside. And there are people that think that they can just like drive around town and no one can see them, and they’re just like digging for gold. It’s gross. We’re not doing that.
There are certain things that we do in private. And so if you want to
[00:10:00] pick your nose or, touch your penis, you just do it in private. That’s all. Just do it in private and just do it in a sanitary way and, if you need to pick your nose; everyone picks their nose, that’s the truth. Everyone picks their nose. And so if you need to pick your nose, you just do it in private and then you wash your hands afterwards. Um, or you use a Kleenex.
And sometimes I think when you’re nervous or anxious about other things, sometimes you may want to pick your nose. But let’s talk about things that you can do instead of pick your nose. When you get that urge to pick your nose, let’s talk about what else you can do.
And this is, you know, this is a conversation. This is going to take some, uh, skill building. Right? Where, nobody’s going to be interested in learning any new skills. Like, what do I do when I get this urge to pick my nose instead of pick my nose? Right? So when you notice that your finger’s
[00:11:00] going up your nose, what can you do instead? You can sniff in the flowers, blow out the birthday candles three times. And then what’s something else that kind of feels good? You know, maybe you can rub your hands together, maybe you can gently touch your arm, right? Like all those things are fine to do out in public, all of them.
So if I notice that you’re picking your nose in public, let’s talk about a signal. So I can remind you of the, let’s talk it, but maybe a word. Maybe I’ll just like go like this, rub my hands together – for those of you who are listening and not watching the video I’m rubbing my hands together. Like, teaching kids like when you rub your hands together, what do your palms feel like? Mine are kind of soft.
[00:12:00] Are yours soft? Here, let me feel yours. Wanna feel mine?
Now let’s practice the sniffing in the bird in the in the flowers. And then blowing out the birthday candles really slow while you’re rubbing your hands. Can you do that at the same time? It’s like patting your head and rubbing your bu- your tummy. It’s, like, hard, it takes a lot of coordination, right?
You know, look we can be playful with it. Okay, so, so when you get that urge to pick your nose, do you know what that urge feels like? What is that urge? Yeah, it’s not a big deal. A lot of people have urges. A lot of people, you know, will bite their nails or do different things. All of that, it’s normal. I’m not worried about you. I’m not worried about you. It’s normal.
And there are certain behaviors we do in private and there are certain behaviors that are okay to do in public, like rubbing your hands together, taking a deep breath, blowing out the birthday candles.
[00:13:00] Yeah. You know, you can rub your arm. What does it feel? Let me rub your arm. Does that feel good? What does it feel like for you?
And you find an alternate behavior, you find an alternate behavior. And so what we’re really doing is we’re just not making anything, anything a taboo topic. Nothing’s off limits. We don’t have to be scared of these topics.
it is embarrassing when you see people. Whether they’re your people or other people,
it’s embarrassing when you see people picking their nose or playing with their penis with other people around, or a kid that always smells like poop, right? And having the kid that smells like it’s, it is, it’s embarrassing because there’s a lack of civility in that, and there are certain behaviors that are private and there are certain that are public.
But what we want to send our kids, I think the
[00:14:00] message is, is that like, in this family, we talk about all of it. All of it. And everything is on the table. We can talk about nose picking, we can talk about pants pooping. We can talk about all the things, right?
And so when you’re able to, like, broach some of these subjects that are maybe embarrassing. I want y’all to think about like, how do you raise kids that grow up to be teenagers and young adults who feel comfy telling you about something that might be embarrassing? Maybe something on their body. Maybe it’s the little girl who has felt really self conscious because she’s got a lot of hair on her arms and there’s been kids that made fun of her.
Maybe it’s the child whose best friend keeps making fun of
[00:15:00] them, you know, for having a big belly and your child is embarrassed or ashamed and they don’t, they don’t know how to talk about it with you, because things that are embarrassing haven’t really been discussed in the past.
When we start to broach these subjects, I really think that we, we set an important precedent, which is like everything’s on the table here.
I’m your person. This is a family. And we all have things that we’re embarrassed about. And yeah, you’re not going to talk about these things with all the people, but you can talk about these things with your family.
And I think for many of us, we didn’t feel that way with our family. You know, maybe we talked about everything but the things that we were truly ashamed or embarrassed about with our families.
And I think for many of us who grew up like that, like, we want to have kids that know they can talk to us about all the things. So
[00:16:00] embarrassing habits, I think, are an opportunity to lay that foundation where your kids know nothing’s off limits, all topics are welcome, right? Like, I’m not gonna freak out. And, you don’t have to deal with all of this all by yourself,
I’ll help. I’m here. I’m here. I’m open to all of it.
I mean, how cool is that? Like I know I would have loved to have had that kind of support growing up,
if I had something that I was embarrassed about, the last person I was going to talk about it to was my mom or dad. I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel comfortable. And I’ve always wanted to be that for my kids.
Like, commit this to memory, when your kids tell you something that they’re struggling with or they’re embarrassed by, [00:17:00] commit to memory, well, I’m just so glad you told me and didn’t keep it all bottled up inside. I’m just so glad you told me and didn’t keep it all bottled up inside, right?
Like that’s what I’m here for. That’s what I’m here for. You can tell me anything.
So embarrassing kid habits, nose picking, pants pooping. What other embarrassing habits do you guys have? I want to know. I’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me.
There’s I’m sure a link in the show notes and that’s what I’ve got for you this week.
Bye for now.
Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips, tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household, I want you to go to my website and check
[00:18:00] out mastermindparenting.com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.
And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under mastermind parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_parenting. And, you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives where I give you teaching and coaching and I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better, because when they feel better they do better, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys.
So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super super appreciative