Since they’ve started school, B and M have had a language explosion in English. Most of it has been great, but occasionally, they’ll say things like, “It’s not fair!” “That’s not funny!” “I don’t like you!”
As a mom, my initial reaction is to cringe and ask, “What are you saying?” Then proceed to guess who they learned it from and how can I stop it from happening further.
Then their teacher gave me a piece of advice on what to do with unwanted language: ask them if they know what it means.
The other day, B and M were eating snack and suddenly B says, “That’s not fair!” I look over and she had both arms across her body in an upset stance. I said, “What does that mean, ‘it’s not fair?’” I waited for her response. Silence. And then she started smiling. I said, “Do you know what that means?” She shakes her head. I smile back and her and then turn around to finish my work.
I didn’t demand her to stop saying those things. I didn’t let her know it was ‘bad.’ I didn’t inadvertently create a power struggle. She was just imitating some older children she heard at school. So I asked her a question. And then, the whole thing just resolved itself.