I had a most hilarious conversation with my preschooler the other day which prompted me to want to embark on teaching social norms to her:
A: Mummy, Teacher XX (a male teacher) said he likes the ribbon on my panty.
Me: Erm, I really don’t think he does, darling. You mean you showed him your panty?
Me: Darling, you don’t go round showing people your panties, you know?
Me: It’s just not right. No one goes around showing people their panties. And you cannot show especially men your panties, okay?
A: So who can I show my panties to?
Me: Errr, you can only show your panties to our family… like mummy and daddy.
A: Cannot! Cannot show daddy.
A: Because daddy is a MAN.
For this matter, I hardly believe that the male teacher actually said anything about her panties and even if he did, she’s probably the one who forced him to say what she wants to hear. You see, she really does go round announcing that she’s wearing new socks, a new blouse and of course, new panties. She even goes into details like, “XX, today, I’m wearing my new pink Angry Bird panties that my mummy bought!”
In her childish world, having a new pair of panties on is a really big thing and a piece of news that ought to be shared because that new item made her day. It’s something we adults feel too, especially when we wear new clothes or lingerie; the only difference being that we know better than to announce that we have something new on, underneath.
While I managed to teach her that she shouldn’t go round showing people, especially men, her panties, I still haven’t managed to get her to contain her excitement to not make public announcements, like on the bus. Nevertheless, we will try to work towards that while I secretly enjoy her childish innocence for now.
How do you teach social norms to children?
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