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Kids say the darnedest things…

By Paige Herman-Axel on Sep 20, 2013

It’s safe to say my son is at the age when he speaks anything that goes through his mind—and I mean anything. He hasn’t yet learned to edit himself, either to prevent embarrassing himself or embarrassing others. While there’s something so enamoring about this complete lack of self-consciousness, sometimes it takes a not-so-good turn.

Our first incident was when I was at his camp for an event, and we walked by a disabled teenaged boy. My son said, “He looks weird,” loud enough for him to hear. I immediately pulled my son aside and tried to explain that it’s not nice to say things like that about people, whether they can hear you or not. I was stern with him, because this is not acceptable behavior—ever.

Then we had another incident at Target, and although I have to admit it was somewhat funny, again, it was unacceptable—and it had to be handled right then and there. There was a Muslim women dressed in traditional garb sitting by the checkout, and while I was paying, he walked up to her and asked her if she was a ninja. (Fair question, considering her eyes were the only visible part of her body, and he sees more ninjas than traditionally dressed Muslims.) I immediately intervened, and tried to explain the concept of different religions, which was somewhat challenging with a 4-year-old. The first thing I came up with was, “You know how we’re Jewish and you wear a yarmulke? Well, there are other religions and sometimes they wear different clothes.”

My son seemed to understand, and in retrospect I don’t think this woman spoke English because she didn’t even bat an eye at my son. Obviously this religion conversation would happen at some point (perhaps when a friend couldn’t play because it was a holiday or something), but I surely wasn’t planning on having it in the middle of Target.

At the end of the day, this served a purpose, and we haven’t had another incident since. I have no doubt that we’ll find ourselves in this situation again, and when it does, I’ll address it immediately because it’s my job to teach my son that we don’t call attention to people who are different, and we accept people for who they are.

I know I’m not the only mom who’s been in this position… What crazy things have your children said, and how did you handle it?

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