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A Fine Line (spin-off of "No filters!")

Yesterday I posted about my daughter blurting out an awkward question to a neighbor, and there were some hilarious replies from other moms about what their kids had said in their more candid moments. Someone brought up an interesting point about how it was kind of sad that we eventually teach our children to avoid speaking the truth and worry about harming the feelings of others. So that got me thinking, where's the fine line, and when do we cross it?

I mean, it's cute when a small child says something that the rest of us wouldn't say, and we all laugh and move on. But eventually, it isn't cute anymore, and we want our kids to be sensitive and considerate.

Case in point: I don't mind when kids, or actually people of any age, ask me why my eyes stay closed most of the time, or why I have a service dog in a store, or why my little girl's daddy never lets me drive his car--yes, that has been asked by more than one preschooler over the last year and a half. But all too often, kids are the only ones who will ask, and the grown-ups with them will shush them, as if we all don't know I'm blind and it's a bad thing to mention.

Thoughts?

 
Ballad

Asked by Ballad at 1:11 AM on Mar. 23, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • I think it's because with most of those issues, there's so many different ways people feel about it. You're blind, and fine with people asking questions about it, but the blind guy over there hates having it pointed out and never wants to talk about it. One mom is fine talking about her child being adopted, while another wants to pretend she pushed that baby out herself and never acknowledge that she came from somewhere else. And there's no signs hanging from someone's neck that says, "I'm okay to talk about ____" or "Please don't talk to me about ____" so we don't know which one a person's going to be. So it seems better to teach kids to be more sensitive or to "censor" themselves, at least until it can be determined that you're okay talking about it. For me, it's partly about teaching my kids sensitivity, and partly avoiding them getting screamed at by the guy who doesn't want to talk about it so I don't lose my temper. lol
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:32 AM on Mar. 23, 2013

  • Kids are going to say the damnest things ever regardless. I taught our boys early on that it is okay to ask questions.
    It's how you ask is what matters most.
    PMSMom10

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 1:31 AM on Mar. 23, 2013

  • I want to encourage authenticity and compassion. So I'd likely hold back from pressuring a child to censor herself specifically so as "not to hurt" the feelings of others. That doesn't mean reinforcing disregard of others! But I think it's acceptable for feelings sometimes to be hurt by honest information or observations. For example, I think it's OK to experience disappointment (that a kiddo prefers boxed mac & cheese to homemade, or "store" waffles to Mom's.) We don't need protection from the feelings that may result. Kids still can be kind & caring! A young child's honest (underwhelmed) reaction to a gift is a similar situation. And parents can help negotiate, or "translate" the communication, without making the candor "wrong."
    I think kids DO learn about words like "fat," "ugly," "weird" as they grow & aren't likely to be oblivious. We don't have to be terrified they'll "just be hurtful" if we aren't strongly preemptive.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 2:40 AM on Mar. 23, 2013

  • Good question. Does it cross the line once they hit a certain age? Maybe. I think most adults could make their own conclusions about someone with a disability, without needing to pry. And when our kids are with us, there aren't always big enough rocks to crawl under when they blurt out something we consider to be embarrassing! lol :p

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 6:14 AM on Mar. 23, 2013

  • I come across that with adoption. If it comes up with an adult, it is usually clear they feel very awkward. But a child will ask any question that comes up in their mind, usually with their parent either telling the kid to hush or telling me that I don't have to answer them. I love it though...would much rather that little one grow up with my daughter without that stupid taboo that so many have attached to adoption than not.

    I have no intention of raising my daughter to not be a caring and compassionate person. She has already learned that you do not say certain things to people because it is not the right thing to do. Not only can things hurt other's feelings and make them feel bad about themselves, but it reflects more on the person saying the hurtful things. If she says something today that I find inappropriate, I will sit down and explain to her WHY it's wrong, not just say "that's not nice."
    AllAboutKeeley

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 8:10 AM on Mar. 23, 2013

  • You have to teach your kids what is proper to say and what it is not, but explaining the why behind it not just shush them....
    older

    Answer by older at 8:30 AM on Mar. 23, 2013