Honest question: what do you say?

Yesterday as I was walking through a shopping centre with Little Bean she announced at the top of her voice “look at that dark man over there Mummy, he’s very dark isn’t he?”.

My first reaction was to move past the man as quickly as possible because I was so embarrassed but then I thought about it and remembered she is only three years old. She hasn’t really seen that many black people and I have never had the need to talk to her about people having different skin colours or being from different backgrounds.

I told her that the man wasn’t a ‘dark’ man, that he was a black man but that she shouldn’t shout out like that about anyone’s appearance as she might offend them and that if she has a question about the way someone looks she should ask me quietly.

But what is the right thing to say? How do approach this conversation with your little ones?

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6 Comments

  1. Sarah
    September 10, 2011 / 10:11 am

    I’d say that was the right thing to say, H has done a similar thing when we saw a woman with very pink and big hair – I explained that sometimes people look different to how we expect and that she shouldn’t point at them but it’s ok to ask!

    • mummymatters
      September 12, 2011 / 1:12 pm

      I know exactly who you mean, I’ve had the same with Little Bean exclaiming “SHE’S GOT PINK HAIR” at the top of her voice with her finger pointing, at the time she wasn’t even 2 so the woman thankfully just laughed. When they are a bit older I feel more guilty about it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. motherofintention
    September 10, 2011 / 11:02 am

    this has happened to us a lot recently. In a services car park Bam saw twins and asked if they were Indian. It prompted a conversation about British people with different heritage. One of them was dressed very westernised, the other had a turban and long beard, so we discussed the religious reasoning for that. On the way out we passed a group of people (possibly nigerian) and he asked what language they were speaking. I had to explain it was English but that they had a very strong accent.
    He’s also asked about people in wheelchairs, and a man with one leg.
    Of course Bam is 6 so the explanation I offer is a lot more in depth than you would go into with LB.
    I nearly fell off my chair the other week when he started talking about me marrying Oz and then after a little thoughtful moment asked if boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.

    Now yesterday – well……how does a baby get in a mummy’s tummy. I explained about the egg and the seed. ‘Yes mummy, but how EXACTLY does the man give the seed to the mummy’
    HELP!!!!!!

    • mummymatters
      September 12, 2011 / 1:06 pm

      Woo hoo good luck with THAT conversation, I’m dreading that one coming along! I was told in parenting classes that you should tell them in ‘age specific terms’ as much as you can without going into specfics but it sounds like Bam has already started for specific answers!!

      We have never really had any of it with Curly, I guess his Mum must have had all the interesting questions so we got lucky but with Little Bean and Beanie Boy its going to be all done to us – fun!

  3. September 11, 2011 / 11:15 pm

    I wondered the same but thankfully Charles’ favourite Cbeebies presenter is Sid, so I’m hoping the question comes up it will be at home rather than out and about walking.
    I think I’ll just tell him the truth, that some people have different coloured skin, the same as some people having blonde hair and some having brunette hair.

    • mummymatters
      September 12, 2011 / 12:59 pm

      Ah yeah that’s a good idea perhaps I’ll get her watching a bit of Cbeebies when Sid is on so we can casually talk about it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

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