Why Your Child’s Embarrassing Moments May Be Good for His Development

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Child covering his surprise face with his hand while smiling.

Embarrassing childhood moments are unavoidable when it comes to a given person’s life. Everyone, including your child, has had at least one moment wherein they were in a less than favorable position that has caused major embarrassment. While these kinds of experiences are considered to be awkward and wince-worthy, they have some benefits that most people aren’t aware of.

Children and their young burgeoning minds are always in a constant state of development and embarrassing childhood moments play a role in the process. If you are curious as to how, read on because here are reasons why your child’s embarrassing moments may actually be good for his development.


Embarrassing moments establish valuable memories

A big part of a child’s development is concerned with self-preservation. After all, that is the primal mode of every human being. However, in your child’s quest to find out how to act accordingly amongst society, there will be notable moments that will be engraved in his memories. These memories are usually embarrassing in nature and transpiredx over the age of 12 and under 22.

The reason for this is that when a child hits 12 years old, he reaches an age-related heightened period of receptiveness to negative feedback that starts to diminish at around 22 years old. It is within this 10-year period where a child experiences the transitions from childhood to being a teenager then finally a young adult. Each of these phases come with experimentations with regards to oneself, social interaction, and decision making. Take this time to encourage your child to be curious because this is where many small, but important life lessons can be learned.


It helps reinforce good behavior

Since memories from an age of heightened receptiveness to feedback establishes vivid memories, it naturally reinforces advantageous behavior and discourages unhelpful ones. For example, when a child touches something hot and gets burnt, the brain tells him not to do that again. However, when touching something pleasurable such as a stuffed toy, the brain signals that it is okay to do that.

This is related to the dopamine levels in a child’s brain. To put simply, pleasurable feelings produce a lot of dopamine while the opposite happens when negative feelings are present. As a child gets older, the part of his brain (nucleus accumbens) that is sensitive to dopamine levels becomes even more sensitive which in turn affects how his brain reacts to certain behavior.

Tying it all back to embarrassing childhood moments, these types of experiences are helpful in reinforcing desirable behavior and rejecting detrimental ones.


Key Takeaway

As parents explore the many different ways to aid their child’s holistic development, it can be easy to forget that there is no better teacher than experience. Embarrassing moments are there to not only provide a specific instance of why your child shouldn’t have done something in the way that he did, but it also reinforces what he should have done instead.

To maximize this naturally occurring process of experience-based learning, encourage your child to always try new things without fear of getting ridiculed. With your proper guidance, this can be a way for you to get the best out of your child as well.


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