Kids have a way of putting things in a frank manner that can be a good thing sometimes but also a bad thing on some occasions.
I like blunt talk for the most part and find speaking in a candid fashion is always most productive when possible. My 5-year-old son, Beckett, agrees apparently because he is not one to mince words and there are occasions when I am shocked at how direct he can be.
I love his outspoken, extroverted and articulate way. It’s this emotional, excitable manner that gives him a unique personality in my mind. However, there are other times when the need for a filter would be more appropriate than simply verbalizing every single thought that comes to mind, as he is prone to do.
Some examples to illustrate the point:
During a recent soccer practice, Beckett called one of his teammates the “f-word,” as we have come to refer to it around the house. Not the terrible curse word that might immediately come to mind, but the one that describes a person with a bulky physique.
Like most parents, we will not tolerate that sort of thing and made him write a letter of apology to the boy as well as apologize to his face. We took away a couple toys of choice for a spell as well. Later, after he assumed we had cooled, he put on his best attorney cap to try and explain his way out of it as well as his motive.
“You know, it really was a mistake. I didn’t mean to say what I said and definitely not so loud. I didn’t think he would hear me say it and next time I will say it much quieter so he and you can’t hear it,” he said.
I then went about explaining the difference between a mistake and simply regretting being caught and what would happen if there was a next time. He really would have been better off just staying quiet on the topic, but his need to talk and explain himself dug an even bigger hole.
When I mentioned to him school might be cancelled this week due to another storm, he was clearly disappointed, saying, “I hate snow. Let’s move where there’s never any snow. It’s so annoying.”
When I mentioned he gets to do fun things, such as throw snow balls and sled on hills when it snows, he did not back off his position.
In this case, I must admit I share that opinion and could easily live the rest of my life without experiencing snow. It’s just not my thing and I have an ally in my oldest son apparently.
Seldom do I wear ties anymore and apparently Beckett doesn’t like the look.
When he came downstairs one morning this week to find me wearing a tie, he skipped any good morning pleasantries and dove right in to some questions.
“Now why in the world are you wearing a tie? Did you upset Mommy? Does this mean I have to wear one today, too? What did I do?,” he blurted out in quick fashion.
At Beckett’s school (WPS), he has the option of wearing a tie or a turtleneck this time of year. He prefers the turtleneck so much that we often hold the tie over his proverbial head as a behavior modifier. For example, if he does something inappropriate or behaves poorly, we will make him wear the tie to school the next day. It works for us.
I quickly went to work explaining to him why I had a tie on and that not everyone shares his extreme distaste.
“How could anyone like the feeling of that button pushing against your throat? It’s bad enough having to keep my shirt tucked in all day,” he said.
A unique aspect of having a major talker as a son is being prepared for him to say anything at any time. That’s why there are times when steering him away from objects or people that might provoke an immature response are necessary.
A couple weeks ago, while standing in line for a water slide at Great Wolf Lodge, which provides a big slice of Americana, we happen to be in front of a family that clearly had some skin issues, and I was doing my best to prevent Beckett from seeing them. Knowing he has no filter at this point in his life and that he would immediately start asking questions, which may or may not be hurtful or embarrassing for the family, I went about distracting him with all my might. Thanks to lots of games and questions, I was able to keep them out of his field of vision.
That was until he was getting ready to get on the raft to go down the slide. I made the mistake of letting my guard down. He looked back at the lifeguard to ask him if he could blow his whistle and saw the family, saying, “Hey, hey, what’s the matter with your …” I cut him off immediately, putting my hand over his mouth, placing him on the raft and down we went.
Later, I was not as fortunate while walking with him around the water park. We were walking with a bunch of people, including a man sporting an unusual amount of hair on his body. I was hoping he would be distracted by all that was going on around him and not even notice.
A couple minutes later, while standing in another line, he tried in his best whisper, which is more like a mild roar, to make a point. “Did you see that guy, Daddy? That man had a lot more chest hair than you, he had way too much,” he said.
We looked around and, of course, the man was right behind us.
“See look there he is,” said my non-whispering son, pointing up to the furry one.