Chris and I are very insistent that Gabby’s words and actions not be violent. No play weapons, no talk about fighting. But she’s 3, so she’s inclined to say dumb violent things because she really doesn’t know how terrible it is to say such things. And she hears it at school I’m sure. You know, the “bang, I killed you!” kind of play. I think it’s in human nature to play fight, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be more evolved than that in this day and age!
Thankfully, Gabby is really into enforcing rules (and thus following them, as long as they don’t involve her sitting still or keeping shoes on her feet). So when we heard her say violent things, we’d tell her “that’s violent” and she’s been pretty good about stopping. We explained to her why violence, physical or verbal, can hurt other people, and I think she gets it.
The thing I never realized is how many expressions sound violent, when you don’t know it’s an really just expression. Gabby’s has been quick to tell me when I’m saying something violent.
Gabby cuddling in my bed on a weekend morning.
Me: “Gabby, if you don’t stop moving, I’m kicking you out of bed.”
Gabby: “You’re going to KICK ME?! Mommy, that’s violent!”
Me: “No! It’s just an expression. I’m not actually going to kick you, it’s just something people say!”
Gabby eating too many treats…
Me: “I’m going to cut you off.”
Gabby: “You’re going to CUT MY BODY?!?? That’s violent!” (She was really looking kind of white about this one!)
Me: “No, I’m not going to cut you!!! It’s an expression! Cut you off means to stop someone from doing something, usually when there’s excess.”
The clever girl figured out how to turn the table around when something violent slips out if her mouth.
Gabby: “Smack the baby!”
Me: “That’s violent! We don’t talk about hurting other people’s bodies.”
Gabby: “No, not smack for real. It’s just an expression.”
Now we need to get it in her head that expressions are something everyone uses, you can’t just make up your own idioms!