statements made by kids:
“Hey! Get away from me, I ain’t no #$%*ing special
“You’re fatter this year, are you pregnant?”
“Is that a big zit on
Kids don’t always censor. It’s a fact. And each time they say
something socially inappropriate or unintentionally mean, I use it as a
teachable moment to build social skills. Or if a kid who lacks verbal skills to
mediate conflict takes a swat at a kid during playtime, I see it as a chance to swoop in and
teach them what to say next time instead of hitting. I think this inclination to turn transgressions into learning opportunities applies to parenting as well as an educating. It’s kind of common sense, no? Apparently not.
when she had a toy he wanted. Oh no he di’nt! I looked expectantly at the mom to correct the
behavior, and she did nothing. Nothing! Not a word in English OR Spanish.
Grrrrr. It was all I had not to turn all Mama Oso right then and there.
her new thing. She likes to do “the royal wave” to no one in particular, as if in a
parade of her subjects. Anyhoo, after running into each other for like the 3rd
time, the mom and I exchanged the perfunctory “Ha ha, fancy finding you in the
cereal aisle too” smiles and the kid screams, “I don’t want to see
that lady again! I don’t like her!” Wowza. Okay so whatevs, four year olds
don’t censor and are very capable of saying stuff like that on a daily basis.*
But the mom didn’t even take that opportunity to say anything. She just
pretended like it didn’t happen and shuffled away, eyes downcast. Okay, fine. Teachable moment, gone. But you
know, I’m off duty, so I didn’t say anything. Plus, I know it takes a village
and all, but most parents don’t appreciate when you try to socialize their kid
in the cereal aisle.**
the “stop and chat,” as you do:
SHOW IT TO YOU!!!
only hope the dad addressed it later. I am not trying to be judgy, it is sometimes difficult
to come up with parenting pearls of wisdom on the spot when your kid says
something rude. But how about the classic, “That’s not polite.” Have that one
in your back pocket, maybe.
guard are usually “That’s not polite” or “That’s not kind” with a dash of the disapproving “Teacher Look.” I was, in fact, raised by a teacher, so I think I inherited a pretty good one.
It’s not always easy though on a day-to-day basis, especially walking
through middle or high school hallways, as there are a thousand little
decisions to be made about which rude comments to address and which to let go. I
have fallen into the trap of trying to intervene and getting cursed at by a pack of middle school boys, which
is no fun at all.
I suppose my general rule is that if a comment is sexist, racist, or
homophobic, I definitely say something, even at the risk of verbal retaliation.
Run of the mill cursing? It depends on the age, context, and if I have a relationship with the kid or not. Usually a warning with
my teacher look is enough.
of things preschoolers say. Classic stuff. One of my recent favorites: “Babies are kind of pets.”
**By the way, I’m fully prepared to write a post at a later date when I
detail how I inappropriately handle a situation with Toddler B in a
grocery store. It happens to the best of parents.It is only a matter of time, really.