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Kids Say the Darndest Things

Real Mom of O'Fallon struggles with son's brutally honesty.

One of the joys of motherhood is witnessing the pure innocence and honesty of our children.  They spend much of their early youth only knowing joy and happiness, albeit the occasional temper tantrum. 

However, there does come a time when as parents, we have to teach our children that some things are just not appropriate to say, even if it is the truth.  My younger son Andrew is what I would call brutally honest. 

Some might think that is a wonderful quality, but unfortunately, it does have a down side.  For instance, one afternoon while playing at a friend’s house Andrew told the mom her house and garage were messy and needed to be cleaned up. I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide I was so embarrassed!  All I could do was apologize to the mom, and was thankful that she was also one of my friends so I knew she wasn’t offended. 

Recently I have been plagued with adult acne.  I have more breakouts now than I did as a teenager.  As if I’m not embarrassed enough by it, Andrew had to tell me “the pimples make me look pretty ugly.”  Agh!  As much as I was bothered by the pimples myself, I began to panic and wonder what other things come out of my child’s mouth?

While I admire Andrew’s honesty, I need to make sure that he isn’t walking around saying things that are hurting someone’s feelings.  I need him to use a “filter!”  How do you teach a child that sometimes we shouldn’t say certain things because they are hurtful?  While at the recently, Andrew noticed a family from a Middle Eastern family.  The women were wearing sari’s and one donned a full burqa.   

The women were talking with their children in their native language, which was not English.  Andrew proceeded to ask me very loudly, “Why are those brown skinned people talking funny?  Are they from China?”  Jeez, another moment of pure embarrassment for me!   Luckily, I was able to use that situation as an opportunity to teach him about people from other cultures.

I was fortunate that my older son seems to have a “filter.”  He is quite compassionate and understands not to say certain things.  I didn’t have to teach him that per se, he seemed to “just know.”  Now, I need to figure out how to develop Andrew’s filter without teaching him to be dishonest. 

This is such a fine line to navigate and I want to teach him that you don’t need to say everything you think.  He won’t have many friends if he keeps this up!  I’d love to hear from you , do have any advice for me?   

Christy Martin April 09, 2011 at 11:55 AM
My suggestion is to tell him to stop before he speaks and ask himself if someone was to say about him, what he is getting ready to say about someone else, would it hurt his feelings? At the same time, if he is curious about something to ask you or his dad using an inside voice or pull you aside and ask. Its important to keep the communication lines open and let him know that he can always ask, just be more aware of what he says, how loud and when. Lastly, when my daughter was about 4 or 5 I took her into a hair salon for a hair cut and as we walked past the other chairs, there was a man who was obviously balding as he was 3/4 of the way bald, in the chair getting a cut and she (who has a booming voice) said loudly "Mommy, why is he here? He's bald!" As stifled giggles and chuckles erupted, I looked for a small hole to crawl into. Yes, I can sympathize with you!
glenda April 09, 2011 at 12:41 PM
I can say that to a degree I have the same issue, but it is myself not a chid. I have to slow down and think about what I am going to say. This probably won't work for you, but maybe for someone else...I write out what I am thinking and then I have the opportunity to see how it sounds and I can be more careful in choosing my words.
Mary Grimaldo April 09, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Mary My son had the same problem when he was 5&6. He and I were sitting across from each other at breakfast and told me I needed to go get some of that lotion for the wrinkles on my face. Boy, that made me feel really bad. So I sympathize with you. Needless to say he is eleven now and has toned the honesty down a tad, but is still working on "filtering".
Trish Feldt April 11, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Thanks for all of the feedback! I appreciate it!

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