Aside from the myriad ways in which children can enrich one’s life and (hopefully) give it purpose, there is one area in which they excel: being narcs.
When you have children of a certain age (which is to say a child who can speak), get ready for the cavalcade of ways in which they will rat you out to your partner, and to their teachers, the doorman, your parents, the man who sells pickles at the farmers market, everyone on the bus, and that one time to everyone in a hushed auditorium waiting for the ballet rehearsal to begin and not expecting to hear about how you are on your period and why do you have so many pads in your purse.
But all of this narc-ing isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can really keep a person on the straight and narrow. A good example of this is in the department of “swearing” and or “drinking wine” and or “gossiping” and also “swearing.” (Oh I already said that. It bears repeating though.)
Maybe I don’t mean gossip though. Not gossip gossip, but more, the harmless information-about-other-people giving moments shared between family members. The stuff that gets whispered in front of children. The stuff that all the grown ups go into the kitchen for at Thanksgiving when they’re pretending to go help with the dishes.
Wait, maybe it’s not that harmless. Oh hey, maybe that’s gossip. Like, gossip gossip.
And boy howdy, will children ever call a person out on that! (In the best possible way, of course.)
There’s nothing like trying to explain a tidbit of gossip that you tried to sneak past your child TO that child, for helping curb the impulse to talk about others entirely. This goes for talking about people in your family, talking about people in your life, and yes, even talking about celebrities and their various weirdnesses.
I don’t know about your house, but in my house “we’re having a grown up conversation” doesn’t fly AT ALL. And in fact, when those words plop out of my mouth, and they do from time to time, I hear myself and reflect — WAS I actually having a grown-up conversation just now? DID I need to say that thing about that other person ever, to anyone? Who was helped by what came out of my mouth just now?
Now I pass everything I say through the ‘would-I-be-comfortable-hearing-my-child-speak-this-way-about-another-person’ filter. Is this needed information? Who needs it? Could I skip this entirely? Is there delight in the juiciness of this, and what message does this send my children about the kinds of things they should spend their valuable resources thinking about?
*dismounts HIGH HORSE* *returns to regularly scheduled programming*
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