In school, when a child uses what are commonly called “potty words” or any other “inappropriate language”, I remind them to use “kindergarten words”. We’re all on top of that. 🙂 But what about those other times when your son/daughter says something that makes you stop short? (Is he/she truly that mean? Or is he/she really traumatized by that?) For example, a student once told me that, “Sometimes I laugh at people who look funny.” “Funny” in this case, meant disabled. Another child was drawing a picture of himself in class after he had broken his arm. He didn’t include the cast. I was concerned that he was embarrassed even though the children had tried so hard to help him. We had even read a book about breaking arms and legs, etc. When I brought it up and asked him (delicately) why he didn’t include his cast in his self portrait he answered, “Oh, I didn’t know how to draw it”! Lol.
And that’s the whole point. In my experience, with five and six year olds, what you see is what you get. I think I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. So often, as adults, we tend to project grown up feelings and points of view onto our children. We can’t help it. It’s normal. But children are very honest. The Kindergartener in the above example about looking at disabled people didn’t mean they were funny looking. She just meant that she was aware of their differences and looked at them. (Normal, right?) So maybe in that case, give examples of how to be aware but polite. Look the person in the eyes as you would someone without a disability. In other words, teach your child manners.
Just be aware that your child is still very young. To most Kindergarteners the world is very black and white. They don’t see shades of gray yet. So, the next time your son/daughter seems unkind or says something that horrifies you, stop a minute and ask yourself if maybe you are giving an adult interpretation to what is really a child’s view. Chances are you really are raising an empathetic child!
Take Care. 🙂