Drawing the Manners Line Without Being Hypocritical
I have a terrible secret. I am usually a very responsible, mature adult. I make good decisions and I mostly try to parent with a fair, measured hand.
The problem is, sometimes I think fart noises are funny. There, I said it. I know, I know. I am a grown woman and this is a childish thing.I have tried hard to fight off the urge to chuckle when I hear the tell-tale noise of someone's intestinal issues. But even after ten years in a classroom and seven years as a mom, I still sometimes let a giggle slip and it always seems to be when I will be caught by my children. Then I have to explain that even though I laughed-out loud, it really is not funny and they should excuse themselves next time.I am sure you can guess how well that goes over. They have figured out a way to get the warden to laugh, and now she thinks they're going to stop now? Yeah, right.
As my kids grow up I find myself faced with these kind of dilemmas more often. All three of my kids say and do funny things that aren't always universally acceptable in normal conversation. I am constantly struggling to allow them the right to grow into the awesome people they are turning out to be, while teaching them where and when their thoughts and actions are acceptable.
This isn't all about bathroom noises either. With two boys, there is a fair amount of running, chasing and overall silliness that I tolerate in my home. But I do not under any circumstances allow this behavior in other people's homes. Trying to get my young sons to understand the difference is difficult.
My daughter on the other hand has always had an incredibly advanced vocabulary. The very adult tone and turn of phrase that used to be precocious and cute when it was coming from her three year od mouth is now, at age seven, downright obnoxious. Lucky for me, she is mature enough to understand a simple explanation of just that fact and she tries hard to watch what she says to whom. But mannerisms are just that-mannerisms and she doesn't always remember to tone it down when she is with other people. So, I worry that when I am not around to give her "the look" when she is getting too big for her britches, that she will forget and therefore be perceived as fresh and sarcastic which is exactly the opposite of who she is.Continued on the next page