Parenting Tact.


I’m certainly far from a perfect parent, and I realize everyone learns on the go, but I may have found something specific to work on over the weekend.

The wife and I have always said from the time the first one was in the womb that we would strive to answer questions with real answers, no baby talk, and to not unnecessarily dumb things down.  Certainly some situations call for a simplified answer, but we feel no reason to squash an inquisitive nature with short answers.

You may know I can be a little sarcasic and opnionated.  You may know that two-and-a-half year olds are great with absorb > imitate > repeat.

So, it may have not been my best moment when I provided an answer to a perfectly innocent question that was probably tinged a little too heavily with personal opinion and social commentary.

We were sitting in unusually heavy traffic headed into the Liberty tubes when my daughter asked her 493rd question for the car ride; “What’s that… what’s that white thing hanging from that lady’s mouth?” (She’s got a pretty damn good vocabulary for a 2yo if I do say so myself.)

My answer was “That’s a cigarette, she’s white trash.”  Immidately I got the “Eric!” along with an arm smack from the wife.

I did follow it up with an “Oh, that’s not nice.  I’m sorry.  We shouldn’t call people things like that, but cigarettes are bad for you.  Daddy doesn’t like them.  People are silly for smoking, it makes them sick.”

I find it hard to temper my opinions on such things.  Look, smoking is fine if you’re an adult and make your own decisions and are curteous of where you choose to partake.  I just have my own reasons for not being a fan and I never once needed the “don’t smoke” presentations in elementary school or Jr. High health class.

I want both of my kids to eventually make their own informed decisions about things.  I get that it’s part of my deal to help inform them.  They’ll get my opinions over time, no doubt.  I don’t want my opinions to be forced on to them, or so strong that they get a case of “wow, dad’s an asshole.” 

I just need to pace myself.  Temper the quick observation and judgement.  I’m still learning.