Passionate About Cincinnati
and the Moms Who Live Here

Am I Being “Too Honest” with My Kid?

The other night on the drive home, my little one asked if we could play “Knock Knock” jokes. I said sure. So, we took turns. She’s seven, so hers were pretty terrible, but I amused her nonetheless. I took some time on each of mine. I was pretty proud of them! 😉

Here are some samples:

  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Boo.”  “Boo who?”  “Well, geeze, you don’t have to cry about it!!” (Hahahaha…)
  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Knew.”  “Knew who?”  “I don’t know who they know!”  (She gave me a hard time about that one…)
  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Hoo.”  “Hoo who?”  “There’s an owl in here?  Where!?”  (She liked that one.)
  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Eight.”  “Eight who?”  “Someone ate someone?  That’s gross!”  (I had to explain this one.)
  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Kangar.”  “Kangar Who?”  “There’s a kangaroo?!  Are we in Australia?!”  (Again, I had to explain this one as well.)
  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Woo.”  “Woo who?”  “Yeah, I’m excited too!!!”

Then, after all of our back and forth jokes, she asked if hers were really good….  Now, I had to have a quick internal debate with myself: Do I protect her fragile feelings and ego, or do I get real with her and help her build some character?   chose the latter. I’m a mean mom (or so my husband tells me). I told her that hers weren’t really, really good. But, that it’s really hard for little kids to make a really good knock-knock joke. She tried to pipe up with something about a volcano. I tried to explain what a “play on words” is and how you do it. I used the banana knock-knock joke my mom told her at Christmas and the “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana” part. I tried to tell her how “orange” instead of “aren’t” is a play on words. I told her we could make a volcano joke like this:

  • “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Volcane.”  “Volcane who?”  “A volcano?!  Where?!”

She just started to get really sad and quiet. I asked her if I hurt her feelings, to which she replied in a shaky voice, “You made me a little sad.” I told her that I was not trying to hurt her feelings and repeated that a good knock-knock joke is really hard. But, I had stripped away all of her fun and joy – splattered it all on the road behind us. I told her, “You’re going to have to learn to be tougher, kiddo.” She didn’t talk to me the rest of the way home.

I told my husband when we got home that I had crushed her heart.  He told me to stop being so mean!  Haha… She’ll be fine. I hate hurting her feelings, but I also want her to get some tougher skin and learn to take some constructive criticism. We’re never too young to start learning those lessons. Or, maybe we are, and I’m just a terrible human being. 😉  

Do any of you struggle with being “too honest” with your kids? How do you know when it’s right?

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