This is an archived story; this page is not actively maintained. Some or all of the links within or related to this story may no longer work.
For the latest University of Minnesota news, visit Discover.
"Mommy, that man's going to have a baby!
From eNews, March 4, 2004
There probably isn't a parent alive who hasn't been embarrassed by something his or her young child blurted out. Without the internal censor that develops as we mature, children will say whatever pops into their heads. The following are tips from University developmental psychologist Martha Erickson on handling your child's inappropriate comments.
- Gently and clearly correct your child when he or she says something that is likely to hurt or embarrass. Take your child aside right way and explain that the other person might feel sad or hurt by the comment. With young children, an immediate correction is the only way to connect your teaching to their behavior.
- To help children better understand the link between their words and another person's feelings, ask them to think about how they feel when someone says something bad about them.
- Teach your child to appreciate individual differences and recognize the beauty and worth of all people, no matter how they look. Buy them books and videos that recognize diversity and avoid stereotypes based on physical appearance.
- Be conscious of the messages you and other family members convey through your own words and actions. Your child will observe how you value people, and eventually, learn to do the same.