Posted by: Amber @ NotMommy | March 10, 2010

Let The Kids Decide

I didn’t think much about what I said around children before becoming a parent. Let’s face it, I didn’t think much about kids at all before I had one. While I spent a good deal of time with my niece when she was 1-2 years old, I never watched my mouth around her. I just didn’t care enough to censor myself.

Now that I’m a mother, everything has changed. Well…ok, not everything. I still curse too much and hope I’m not raising a daughter with a mouth like a trucker.

But foul language is not the issue here today. Today, I want to talk about how we talk about those people we don’t like…in front of our children. I think it’s just bad news to talk negatively about people in front of kids. Gossip is bad enough with your girlfriends, but kids are sooooo impressionable. That, and they repeat back all the worst things at the worst possible moments.

Embarrassment aside, what are we teaching our children by talking shit in front of them? At best they’re learning that it’s ok to talk badly about people behind their bags. At worst, we’re poisoning their opinions of people before their old enough to choose for themselves.

I truly believe you should let your kids decide for themselves. If someone is really a nasty person, they will see it eventually. If the person you dislike loves your child, and they love them back…then maybe you just have to accept that relationships are different between different people. Why rob your child of a relationship just because you’re not a huge fan?

Honestly, if you feel that a particular person is such a bad influence, untrustworthy, dangerous…whatever, then why even have contact with them? Why bother talking about them at all? If you don’t want your child exposed to someone at all…well then don’t, but don’t bring them up around your kids…because there’s no reason to share the negative in their presence.

(post brought to you by horrid family drama brewing this week)
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Responses

  1. We had to learn the hard way about this. My brother and I are not close. In fact, we kind of hate each other. A lot. I used to rant to Wade about what a douchebag he is, and would do it right in front of Julian. And then Julian repeated some stuff that I said.

    So now we’re super careful about what we say around him. We still let the f-bomb fly freely in our house, because I’m totally cool with kids who cuss (he’s only allowed to do it at home. In public or at school is off limits. I realize that admitting this opens me up to major criticism from lots of people, but whatevs.) but talking badly about someone just isn’t okay. I try really hard not to say bad things about anyone, even if I really don’t like them. And when Julian has an issue with someone at school, we try not to vilify that person, and just say that maybe that kid is making bad choices, but isn’t really a bad person. I want him to grow up to be the kind of person who gives people a chance and isn’t judgmental, and sees that one bad choice doesn’t make someone a bad person.
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Audrey Laine =-.

    • I have a similar relationship with my brother (part of which spawned this entry).
      He says such hateful things in front of his daughter, it reminds me of what I really don’t want to do in front of mine.

      I don’t mind cursing actually (btw, hehe, you said cuss…you hick :P), but I don’t think it’s something to be encouraged. But like you, if you can get your kids to do it just at home, and know the difference between familiar talk and speaking correctly to your other family/teachers/etc, then great! I have another friend who’s kids are able to tell the difference. I hope Alexa can learn that difference too, because I suck at holding my tongue!

      Thanks for bringing up how to deal with judgments on your child’s end. I forget that kids get older and then have to make up opinions about people we might not know. I think it’s a great thing that you’re able to talk with him about how actions don’t always make the person.

  2. Allison is a mom after my own heart with the swearing rules. They are the same in my house. I don’t usually talk negatively about anyone in my house but that might be because there are no other adults to talk about other people to. However, when my mom went to live in a nursing home I promised her I would take care of her dog. I hated the dog, it peed and pooped everywhere. Long story short I found another home for the dog but didn’t tell my mother who hadn’t asked about the dog in over a year. When I brought my daughter to visit once I had to make her promise to lie to my mother, her grandmother, about the dog. I know I am a horrible daughter and mother.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Boyfriend or Blog =-.

    • HAHA, My problem isn’t really talking badly with other people in the house, but as with family drama…come the phone calls. I really really really want to stop talking badly on the phone in front of Alexa. I try to keep my calls to her naptimes anyway, so it’s easier that way.

      Then Peter comes home, and wants to know all the dirt (yes my man is a little bit of a woman in that way, lol). We need to find a way to give up the gossip without having Alexa hear us.

      We’re really trying to get into the habit now, while she’s still young enough not to really know what we’re saying…so when she IS old enough to absorb (and repeat back, ACK!), then we’ll be used to a little bit of self censorship.

  3. Isn’t it funny how having a baby makes you become so aware of your behaviour and how it can influence the people/children around you! They are so impressionable! I also have some issues with a few of my family members, which drive me nuts, but I don’t want that to interfere with Max’s relationship with them! Arggghhh so hard!!! Max doesn’t understand yet but like you say… When do they start understanding??? It’s so hard not to be negative about crap things that are happpening someimes! Chris and I are going to have to gossip/b*tch after Ma’x bed time!! :)
    .-= Lx´s last blog ..Max’s birthday party =-.

    • I still find myself doing it…even after writing this post. It’s like, once you try to stop a behavior, the world comes back with all the triggers to start it back up again. ARGH indeed!!!

  4. Our problem is less negativity and more … sarcasm.

    • Oooohhh good point! Sarcasm is one of my weaknesses!
      Little ones don’t quite get it though :-/

  5. Just dropping by to say hello. We’re all trying to deal with *negativity* – thanks for opening up an important conversation.

    • I just really don’t want my daughter to have the same pessimistic outlook on life I have.
      That said, having a child has given me far more optimism than I ever though possible :-)

  6. So I’m a little late to the party here! I’m still catching up on my reading. I so agree! I try to think about it from the perspective of would I really want Riley to not have a chance at a relationship with someone just because I haven’t necessarily found a way to work it out. Would she look back on it and be proud of what I did, or would she resent it?
    .-= Zoey @ Good Goog´s last blog ..The Non Comformist =-.

    • That’s it exactly! I don’t want Alexa to resent me for a choice I made for her. I’m sure there will be things she disagrees with, but this is one I would like to leave totally up to her (well, within reason).


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