How do I help my 4 year old stop pointing out things about other people (i.e. smells, size, disabilities) in public?

Angela - posted on 06/25/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Every time my daughter and I are out in a public place, she becomes very blunt and points out everything about strangers, such as their size, the way they smell and any disabilities. I have tried to teach her to think the thoughts but not say them out loud but I don't think she understands the concept. She also isn't very aware of how feelings work or how her words may hurt another. Any suggestions?

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JuLeah - posted on 06/25/2011

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Well, she is four. she can't yet be aware. She does have langauge, and notices things ... she is proud of that and sharing with you. She points out the flower and you are pleased ... why not the funny looking man :)

Social skills have to be taught, so gentally remind her that we don't comment on people's bodies.

I had a kid with me about age 6 who had been told but clearly still didn't fully understand. We saw a man at the market, a big big big man. He was pushing 400 lbs, I am sure.

Now the child had younger siblings and had heard her parents talk about things in front of them that they didn't really want the little ones to understand, so this kid thought she knew what to do.

"Look at that man JuLeah! He is really F - A - T"

She spelled it out loud and slow ... and it was clear from the look on his face that he did have command of the English language ... I just smiled at him in an effort to convey "Sorry"

Usually if a kid makes a comment though, I stop and address it then. I used to push a wheelchair and kids always stopped to stare or make a comment. I HATED it when parents scolded them, or yanked them away, or said, "They don't want to be bothered"

I might be that child's first interaction with 'disability' and it sickened me to think they were learning to avoide, to be uncomfortable ... I LOVED it when parents let their kid talk with me ... kids let with the impression that wheelchairs are fun and people with disabilities are not to be feared.

Most folks won't be offended, they will see she is a baby and know she has not yet learned to lie like the rest of us do .... face it, some people smell bad, dress funny, and act different then what we are used to.

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