Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I used to love watching Bill Cosby's "Kids Say the Darndest Things" since I am not old enough to have seen the original show hosted by Art Linkletter. That's not say I didn't see reruns and clips of the show on cable. Nevertheless, I got a kick out of hearing what these kids would say about things like love and the Easter Bunny. That was before I had kids.

Now I cringe when I hear some of things that come out of my son's mouth. Most of them are things that my husband or I have let slip out of our mouths. (I have taught my kids at school that actions made in anger have unintended consequences, but I haven't mastered that concept myself yet.) The strangest things my son has ever said have come from his daycare. Glad to know my $350 a month is paying off. The first thing he came home saying was, "I'm going to tell my daddy on your butt" followed by his dialing a pretend cell phone and saying, "Hello, Daddy?" (Who says that?) He finally stopped saying that but replaced it with this little gem, "You're not invited to my birthday." He has since modified this statement for the holiday season by saying, "You're not invited to my GOD's birthday."

It's as if children try to think of the most hurtful thing they can imagine to say to get back at a mate. Of course, what could be more painful to a three year old than not being invited to a friend's birthday party or being left out of Christmas. I giggle on the inside when my son says this because, little does he know, that if I'm not invited to his birthday there will be no birthday. Then I become the adult and have a one sided conversation with him helping him to understand how hurtful he was. He usually responds with a blank stare and returns back to whatever activity he was doing before I insulted his intelligence.

My question is, when do children learn that words are just as hurtful if not more than a slug in the arm? As an elementary school teacher, I hear no end of mean things pouring out of children's mouths everyday - even Kindergarteners . Some days I spend just as much time teaching the use of kind words as I do teaching math, reading and science. I can only hope that my lessons make a lasting impression.

7 comments:

Fly Girl said...

I know what you mean! I have zero tolerance in my classroom for mean remarks, but sometimes they slip in anyway. For example, just before Christmas a big guy was standing up doing something... I can't remember the conversation, but another student said something about the big guy would make a "big" spot. It seemed that it would draw more attention if I said something, so I decided to wait and say something in private. Then forgot. :-( And these boys are considered friends to each other! Another student also cuts down a "friend" of hers for being dumb. Sad thing is, her grades aren't much higher....

Like everything else, I think it all beings at home. Children repeat the kinds of comments they hear at home. We really need behavior intervention at home. Hmmm, maybe that could be a new reality TV show! (Oops, I guess the nanny shows are!)

Enjoy your day!
Roban

miruspeg said...

Unfortunately this is just a process of how children act, always have been, and always will be. It's part of their learning boundary's and to see what reaction they get from us.

I remember being very hurtful to girls who weren't in my group at school. At the time I felt no remorse, I only thought of myself and how I didn't want them to be a part of my world.

I believe children should be allowed to misbehave a little at home - it's their home - their territory - their safe haven. We all get a little cranky every now and then and if they can't act up at home, where can they be themselves?

Charlie, (Joseph's 4 year old brother) was annoying their new puppy last week. Twice I asked him to stop, in a firm but kind voice and the third time I had to go over and explain to him why lifting the dog like that was hurtful to the dog. When I walked away he came and said to me "You don't get angry at me do you Peggy". I said no Charlie you are a good listener.

Amy said...

i think it does begin at home, but it's also human nature to some extent i think. it's one of those lessons that takes a long time to learn. i'm constantly reminding my DS who is almost 9 to treat others the way he would like to be treated whether they treat him nicely or not. it's a hard concept to grasp at a young age.

MJ said...

The Golden Rule is hard for most of us, young and old. Kids pick things up from all over. K used to say, "You are such an amateur" to N. She got that one from her Madeline videos!

avtcoach said...

Yes, children do learn it early, because they understand before they express. This means they are beginning to comprehend way before they can say those hurtful things. Also, 65% of what we "receive" is from body language and nonverbal so count that in too.
Children begin as early as 3 & 4 to take the point of view of someone else, although primitive, they begin to get it.
That is all to say, our words matter and how we say it matters. We cannot prevent other children from teaching our children about meanness and being a bully but we can use or words to kindly correct. I love how Miruspeg helped Charlie understand.
Great thoughts and post.

Fly Girl said...

You may think this is weird, but I just see it as how our blogging lives mesh into our lives! You and your family visited in a dream last night! Your daughter was actually younger (so was mine). But as you were leaving, the two of us ended up in the car with you. At the end of the driveway I was trying to unload all of the things my daughter managed to bring with her, and it ended up being armfuls! Anyway, it was fun to "see" you! And I guess cleaning out yesterday fits in to the dream, too!

Love your songs AND your header! Can't remember whether I've already complimented you on that!

Happy New Year!
Roban

lma said...

From the stories I hear from my best friend, who teaches middle school, it only gets worse there. And, from my own experience in high school (lo, those many years ago) it didn't get any better there, either.

Oh, and I am old enough to remember the Linkletter version of "Kids Say the Darnedst Things", and it was much better than the Cosby version. There's even a book (probably not in print anymore) from the Linkletter version that was around our house when I was younger. It was really a kick. Wish I still had it.

Elaine

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