When Children Speak Their Mind

LauraAll Posts, Character Training


Vivienne told her teacher, “You have crazy hair!”

THEN, to make matters worse, she patted her lovely teacher on the head three times and said, “Puff! Puff! Puff!”

Her teacher knows children well enough to laugh, but I remembered the times both girls have innocently commented on someone’s appearance without any concern – or understanding – of the person’s feelings. They’ve happily told people that they are “so so chubby!” or have “black teeth” or “look like a hamburger”. I think it’s time to address the issue.

So, I decided to make a rule until they are old enough to reason through the treacherous waters of commenting on another person’s appearance. My rule? Don’t do it. Just don’t ever say anything about how someone looks.

Yes, yes, I thought about being a little less legalistic and enforcing the good old, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” but this just wouldn’t work, because what the girls think is “nice,” other people think is “not nice”. For example, when I tried to explain to Vivienne that no one wants to be told that they have “crazy hair,” she was shocked. I said, “We should only comment about someone ‘s appearance if we know they would really like what we said about them.” To which, she reflected, “My teacher would have liked it a lot more if I told her that her hair looked like a carnival!

Yup. A carnival.

So, the rule remains: Don’t say anything about someone else’s appearance… until further notice.