Have you ever considered what your kids tell the outside world about you? You know, the things kids say at school when you're not there. We all have arguments or mishaps at home that we think we're keeping in the family, but then we send our kids off to school or a friend's house and stories get told. Kids don't have filters.
Our preschool director always starts off Parents' Night by assuring us that they only believe half of what is said around the snack table, as she hopes we will do the same at the dinner table. Kids have healthy imaginations and a love for story telling. They also have an eerily keen sense of hearing when they want to and a propensity for repeating what they've heard.
In the preschool car line awhile back, my older son's teacher popped her head in the front of the car to share a funny story from the day. The word "adopted" had come up during class and she had asked if anyone knew what the word meant. One little girl immediately raised her hand. She confidently shared that "adopted" is what happens when your family no longer wants you; they give you to another family. Huh, I wonder if there were some threats made recently in that household? But concerning my son, the teacher told me that when the little girl gave her definition, my son's jaw dropped. And he then became visibly upset at the idea of "adoption". I didn't think I had ever used that threat on him; its a good one, but kind of harsh. But this story definitely had me thinking back through his week long wave of bad behavior. What exactly did I say to him when none of my usual punishments were working? Whatever you say to your kids, you have to be okay with it being broadcast to the public, because kids really will say the darndest things.