Q: A dinner guest keeps dropping expletives in front of your young children. How do you politely tell the guest to stop?
A: It is highly inappropriate for anyone, especially a dinner guest, to use expletives in front of young children. Here are three options on how to respond:
1. As soon as you hear the expletive, politely but firmly ask the guest to stop. You can say, “Please don’t talk this way in front of the children.” Or, “There are children here.”
2. Ask the guest in private to stop. Avoid using “you” language, which implies blame and is more likely to trigger an adverse reaction. Instead, begin your statement with “I” or “it,” such as: “I’m not comfortable when you speak this way in front of my children,” or “It is not appropriate that you talk this way in front of the kids.”
3. If the offensive guest persists, somebody’s got to go. Either remove your children from the area or ask the disrespectful guest to leave.
PRESTON NI, author of “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People”
A: Your job is not to parent your dinner guest, it’s to parent your children.
Your kids are looking to you for the cues on how to act. Be chill and gracious; let your kids see you unfazed and polite. The bigger deal you make of it, the more likely your children are to zero in on expletives as something special and triggering.
After your guest leaves, be prepared to discuss his or her colorful language with your awe-struck kids. Keep it calm and brief: “Some people use curse words, and some people don’t.” Your kids’ behavior is ultimately going to be shaped by you, not a dinner guest with a salty vocabulary.
KATE LEVOFF, co-host on parenting podcast “Nursing and Cursing”