I have a problem. I need some advice.
How do you teach children tact?
I know the age old anecdote of children being brutally honest, but at what point does it borderline rudeness?
Let me give you the painstakingly embarrassing moments I have had to deal with over the past three days.
Scene 1: At swimming with the Eloise (who we all know is the strong silent type #NOT). Next to us is quite a larger woman, who has no hair. I am assuming she has undergone or is going through some sort of treatment for cancer or similar. Eloise pipes up “ Mummy, why is that lady so big?” URGH!!! Floor open up and swallow me now! WHY IS THAT LADY SO BIG?” Double URGH! What did I do? I just muffled her mouth under the guise of drying her hair and ushered her out quicker than you could say “Um, excuse me!?”
Scene 2: Pulled up in the car next to another car with a dog panting out the window, being held by, admittedly, a rather surly looking lady. Eloise notices the puppy and I suggest that perhaps we don’t pat him, just in case and proceeded to open my door to disembark the vehicle. “Yeah, don’t touch Lulu, because the lady looks angry.” URGH! I quietly closed the door, and very softly turned to Stella and expressed how that comment could be misconstrued and thought of as quite rude. URGH!
Scene 3: I was pregnant with Angus. For some unknown reason I decided we, the three of us (the girls and I) needed to go to Bunnings…oh that’s right, would be called nesting! So there we are in the lift on the way up from the carpark with another unwitting gentleman in the lift. “What’s your name?” Eloise pipes up. “John” says the gentleman. “Mum, is John a nice name for the baby?” asks Stella. URGH! Save Me! Don’t get me wrong, John is a lovely name, but just not my baby. I could lie to my child, a white lie, not hurting anyone, or I could say No, I don’t like John as a name!” URGH!
So that is just a little snap shot into my life of managing the per-schoolers mouths. And I’m not a very good PR person for them. I can’t help it. They just come out with this stuff, sporadically, spontaneously, randomly. You want the real #nofilter, try hanging out with my small children!
And here lies my need for help. How do you teach a child tact when you are also teaching your child honesty, importance of having an opinion and to speak up? I am stumped.
We have taken the road of not talking about anyone’s looks, pretty or ugly and too, not talking about anyone’s possessions: Lets not talk about anyone full stop. Well, no. That is hard. How are my girls going to tell me about their days at school or what they did at a friend’s house if they are taught nit to talk about people. And if our rule is don’t say anything nasty about people, how do we explain what is nasty. That saying someone has a fat bottom is nasty, but what if it’s true? “I know that lady has a fat bottom Lulu, but you can’t say that?” URGH! Come On! That is damn confusing, necessary, but so unclear.
HELP! How have you taught your children tact?