I was outside playing with my 5-year-old nephew. Across the street, another family of four was enjoying the nice weather during their pleasant stroll. My nephew -- let's call him Theo -- looked at the family and said "Hi, people!" I, and they, thought that was incredibly sweet, and the mom replied "Hello, little boy!"
Nice little exchange, right? That was until, seconds later, Theo pointed at the nice lady and said, loudly and clearly, "You have a fat ass."
The look on the mom's face went from sweet smile to absolute horror instantly. There are very few times in my life I've been shocked by what someone says, and this was one of them. I didn't quite know how to handle it, so I immediately said "He's not my son!!! He's not my son!!!" over and over again, but I realize now that probably wasn't the best course of action. What should I have done? Should I have taken Theo across the street and made him apologize? I know that if I'd said the same thing when I was 5, the punishment would have been severe.
This shouldn't have really come as a surprise to me, because this was the same little boy who has uttered the following phrases to me:
"Happy Birthday to Fart" (I don't know what that means)
"Hi, Uncle Douchebag" (my fault -- as I'd taught him that one)
"I'm gonna teach your kid how to say F****n' A**hole" (he said this to me at Luke's birthday party)
As a former little boy, I know how hilarious and wonderful new swear words can be. But there's got to be a time and a place, right?
What's the worst (and/or funniest) thing you've ever heard a child say, and how did you deal with it?
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|