Are We Raising An Obnoxious Kid?

Children should be seen and not heard

Speak only when spoken to.

Because I said so.

Early on we decided that we wanted to mutter these phrases that we heard a LOT as children as little as possible to our own children. We decided that having outspoken children with opinions was ok and we want to encourage conversation among ourselves and our children. We both realized that leaders tend to be people who question authority and are not always compliant. Our desire for this type of child has led us to choose a school for our oldest daughter which believes that children are authentic human beings with views and opinions that should be valued almost as much as adults. They allow children to be active participants in the classroom in every way – including curriculum decisions. When we visited the school we were impressed with how much bravado the students had, how mature they were but we also smirked a little and said… “man, these kids are a little obnoxious”…

We want to raise leaders.

We don’t want to raise obnoxious kids.

Lady C (now 5 years old) is … very vocal. Real talk… we know that to some (especially to old school adults), she is a bit obnoxious. Oh yes — we’ve seen how some folks just glare when she corrects adults or asks for proof of their statements. We’ve even had people say they were “surprised” when we’ve let her get away with some of her questions or sassy talk. In her recent school end of the year report, her Pre-K teacher wrote:

“… she sometimes speaks for the sake of speaking but doesn’t really know the context of what she is talking about” …

Yep. We know that kid! We’ve got to pull it back a bit!

While we want her to have a “voice” we know that, of course, there needs to be balance because SOMETIMES it is ok to ask question after question (after question after question) and disagree with a grownup. But SOMETIMES little ones need to close those little lips and open those little ears and not.say.a.word. Leaders are vocal but leaders should know what they are talking about too. And you can learn by listening and doing. Other than moments of danger though, the question is… When is that SOMETIMES??? How do you pause the questions and ‘back talk’ in THAT moment? What is THAT moment? Is it when you are just plain tired of the fifth time they have asked “why?” Or is it when the back talk gets a little too sassy? Do you use a code for when enough is enough… a secret family word or phrase perhaps?

We are struggling with the balance of raising a kid who is not in the shadows, speaks up and asks questions versus a child who talks back too much and has driven us to the point where we yell “BECAUSE I SAID SO”.

We don’t want an obnoxious kid.

Thoughts? Give it to use straight (but don’t be obnoxious about it!)