Handling Stupidity

"frozen tongue" from

If your child does something incredibly stupid, do you get angry? Scream? Lecture? Give the silent treatment? Or let it go? What do you do?

14 thoughts on “Handling Stupidity

  1. Such a seemingly complicated question with such a simple answer.

    Does kid really know it was stupid?

    Yes? Deal with the consequences and as long as nobody got stabbed in the eye? Have a sense of humor. We all make mistakes even incredibly stupid ones.

    No? Can’t be stupid if we don’t know better. Deal with the consequences and educate, educate educate.

    May I say though that anger, yelling and screaming are not part of an education. A lecture may work but perhaps everyone should take and compare notes. I don’t think the kind of lecture that usually resulted from stupidity was educative.. If I recall my most recent educational event? I got more from the laughing teacher than the one carrying the big stick and the diploma stuck where the sun don’t shine.

  2. My approach is that when my kids do something stupid, they know it and have already beaten themselves up more than I ever could, so I tend to just laugh and say “well I hope you have learnt your lesson.” It almost always works! If it doesn’t work, then I will bring it up and laugh about it until they do.
    Laughter always works far better than anger in my experience.

  3. Firstly, I love the picture! It made me smile & I suspect initially that would be my reaction. However, it is not a useful reaction as often the child doesn’t understand. It depends on what the circumstances are. If it has put the child in danger the human reaction would be fear which often results in shouting. I think it is the ‘after the event’ talk that is important. Where you unpick what happened etc & talk about the need to be sensible!

  4. As they say in the Mafia “it’s time for a sit down” Establish relationship between stupid act and consequences. And degree of seriousness of consequence. Silly cliches are not so silly advice: Look before you leap or look both ways when crossing the street or think twice or play the tape forward or stop, think, act.

  5. The big line at our house is, “So – how’s that working out for you?” Followed by, “How’d that feel?” (usually said after someone has bumped a tender body part onto a sharp object, like a cupboard door left open). Also good to use is, “Did you learn something new?”

    The kids were masters of sarcasm at an early age.

    I think that it depends on what stupid thing the kid/s did. If it was dangerous/stupid, then a calmly stated lecture is in order (keep it short and simple) – only after it has been determined that no one is injured.

    Otherwise, stay calm. Then ask, “Did you learn anything?”

  6. Kathy spoke my words before I could! So…how’s that working out for you? Is the catch phrase in our house too… We used much humor/sarcasm when anyone of us did an oopsy…. Then we would sit down and figure out why it wasn’t such a great idea together. Yes at times you want to yell, but talking works so much better…

  7. I do my level best not to call it stupid. Then the kid has to clean up what mess was created. Make sure they grasp just why it wasn’t a good plan from the start.

    Mostly I work hard at not yelling and not laughing. You crack a smile, and it’s all over.

    (I’m thinking in terms of a 6 year old boy who decided to fill containers with water and place them precariously on his headboard bookshelf. To his credit, halfway through he decided to put a towel under the containers.)

  8. I feel sorry for my kids. It all depends on my mood at that moment. They could get an easy or hard consequence. I could scream, be angry, lecture, laugh, be silent, let it go or ask why in hell did you do that? If its a real bad problem, I probably need advice from someone else. I hope that what I say and do is okay. I do want my children to respect other people. If they hurt someone, I wonder was there a need, desire, or emotion that made my child do that. I am forever praying that my children will have good values, judgment and intelligence to make the right decisions. That concern goes on — even when your children are all grown up.

  9. Well, I guess it depends on the level of stupidity. But I do find my kids’ endless curiosity hilarious and I can usually gain insight (and a giggle or two) by trying to envision what they were thinking when they did the stupid thing. But then my oldest is only 9 so I suppose they reach new levels when they are teenagers. I have a feeling I might have a harder time laughing off those little jewels.

  10. The level of stupidity determines my reaction. Most of the time I laugh at the stupid things my children do, especially when I try and put myself in their shoes, trying to figure out how in the world did they do that? Don’t get me wrong: there are levels of stupidity that get a much more stern reaction but, for the time being, my children are still young and most things are funny. I know that in about 2-3 years my attitude will change because they will be in their early teen life. If my children are anything like my sister, brothers and I were, then I might have a full head of white and gray before I hit 40.

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