This post could be alternately entitled “How to Teach Kids to Have a Social Filter”. Open Mouth, Insert Foot is quite fitting though. Oh, I have tons of Open Mouth, Insert Foot moments that I wish I could double back and erase. My brain and mouth don’t often work together and aren’t always on the same track. With kids, it’s different though. They’re just learning social etiquette. Little One is proof of this.
Let me first say that I absolutely love that my daughter speaks her mind and makes astute observations. I love that she has no inhibitions and is not jaded…yet. Oh, that will come. I’m sure. The beauty about childhood is that kids are developing their personalities, making observations, learning how to interact with others, and just being their own authentic selves.
[Insert foreboding, cheesy movie music here]
The other day, I took my family out for lunch. It was my cousin, her husband, my other cousin, his wife, their toddler, their infant, Little One and yours truly. We went to a quaint little place with good food. It wasn’t a fancy place, but the food was tasty and not deep fried. Maybe this is TMI, but in the recent years, I haven’t been eating much fried food. 1) I know it’s not good for us, and 2) Ever since I gave up eating fried food, the moment I do cave into a craving, it hits me like a ton of bricks. It feels like I’m having a gall bladder attack or something. Therefore, I avoid fried food.
Where was I? Oh, right. Lunch with the family at a quaint little place with good food. Well, Little One, who normally drinks either water, tea or milk, ordered an apple juice. We’re not big juice drinkers since I’d prefer her to eat the actual fruit and get all the benefits from the fruit instead of having tons of sugar. Anyway, Little One opened up her juice, took a whiff, and said…
Wait for it…
“Mommy, this smells like garbage!”
I wanted to crawl under the table. I was mortified.
My cousin sniffed the juice and said it smelled fine and that it smelled like apple juice.
Little One didn’t drink her juice. There were jokes about her only liking “organic, freshly-squeezed, no sugar added” apple juice. We were laughing, but part of me wondered how to deal with a) her hearing me talk about junk food being “garbage” and b) her not having a seemingly snooty attitude. She’s not a food snob. The kid eats EVERYTHING we feed her. She just doesn’t eat junk food.
The other afternoon, I asked Little One if she’d like a homemade chocolate zucchini brownie (one of her favourites), and instead she asked for broccoli. “Ummm…Could I have broccoli instead, please? Raw broccoli?”
I should be happy and proud, and I am. I just need to teach Little One that it’s fantastic to be an advocate of healthy eating, but at the same time, not to be preachy about what others eat. I’m not preachy about food, but I do promote healthy meals and eating a rainbow at every meal.
I overheard Little One at a play date at our house and had to groan. Her friend told her that “vegetables are gross!” and told Little One that her food was gross because she eats veggies and fruit. Little One’s retort was, “Well, if you eat chicken fingers and fries all the time, you’re going to die!” She then went on to tell her friend that all her packaged snacks were full of sodium and that wasn’t good either. “If you eat junk food all the time, you’re going to die.”
Yes, she told her friend that she would die if she kept eating crappy food.
Now, I have NEVER told Little One that junk food will kill you and that if you eat poorly, you will die. Obviously, she heard this from somewhere though!
Though I appreciate my soon-to-be six year old being such a great advocate for healthy eating, I’m working on teaching her that we need to be a bit more tactful when we speak to others.
I want Little One to be assertive and confident and make good decisions. I don’t want her to feel like I’m squashing her thoughts and opinions, because I am not. I’m just trying to find a way to help her voice her thoughts without coming across as preachy and militant. No one likes being ragged on.
Teaching how to be tactful is a challenge for even adults! Any tips on how to teach a 5 year old about social filters?
Victoria Ess says
A lot of the comments had me giggling! I think most kids eventually just learn to filter what they say as they get older, and socialize with their peers! I don’t think you have to be too worried!
sarah jackson says
The one I will always remember is when my son was about 4 , we were trick or treating and when I prompted him to say ” trick or treat ” by saying ” what do you say son?……he responded by telling the nice lady with the candy ” my crotch is killing me ” .. it was cold , I guess I had over dressed him a lil lol . He is 18 now but every time I remember that night I giggle lol
Bwahahahaha! Oh, Sarah! Thanks for sharing that with us! That had me in tears! Too funny!!
My little one had some friends over after school the other day and one of the boys randomly said, “My testicles are itchy!” He’s 4. OMG! I pretended I didn’t notice, and he ran around and continued to play as though nothing was odd about the conversation. Kids crack me up!
Judy Cowan says
Sounds like you have a little nutritionist on your hands. I think it is great that she loves/picks to eat healthy. What comes out of kids mouths can be embarrassing, but hey it makes memories that we will look back on and laugh. She will develop her social filters soon enough so I wouldn’t worry too much about it 🙂
Thanks, Judy! That is a relief! Ha! This parenting thing is not for the weak!
Kids say the weirdest of things while in public some times.
LOL! If that is the worst thing your child has said in public then you have NOTHING to worry about! I’ve had my children point to disabled people and ask why they are like that. They aren’t being mean but curious to why they are different. I normally explain that God has made us each different and special in our own way.
Jennifer (momvstheboys) says
oh no! my kids are super picky and if someone told them they were going to die from eating chicken nuggets that would be one less food they would eat! I wouldn’t be happy about that, good luck taming the health food beast! obviously I would be of no help, my kids don’t eat anything.
Jennifer, I know! I know Little One didn’t mean any malice by her statement. She wouldn’t wish death on anyone, BUT I do believe her statement was more said in a “matter of fact” tone. Ack! So hard to teach what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate to say 🙁
Oh my! Kids are too funny. There is no sensors to them.
Stephanie: Definitely. Zero filter whatsoever 🙁
In the grocery and loudly “that woman’s butt is ginormous!”. Repeated through hand clamped on mouth.
Lesley!! Oh my gosh! LOL! My friend’s 3 year old did the same! He said, “Check out that badonk-a-donk on her!” YIKES! My poor friend was mortified. Her other child also dropped the f-bomb several times in a conversation. I pretended that I didn’t hear it, so as to not draw attention. I waited for my friend to address it since I didn’t think it was my place to say that the f-word wasn’t appropriate. Little One (thankfully) wasn’t paying attention and didn’t hear the things that were being said.
Mary@The Flying Couponer says
The most embarrassing thing? Hehe too embarrassed to write this here. Haha!
Bwahahaha! Mary, that must have been a good one then!! 🙂
Oh gosh… my toddler doesn’t speak in sentences yet, (though he has dropped the “F” bomb, thanks DAD!) but I can only imagine what’s going to come out of his mouth in terms of all my “crunchy” living habits. “Oh. My mom only used CLOTH diapers. She says disposables are GROSS!” LOL
LOL! Lindsay, this just made me giggle! xo
Kids say the funniest things! So honest. Out of the mouths of babes.
JC: Yes, kids do say some pretty funny things! Gotta love their honesty!