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Adina Soclof
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So, I have to admit this past week hasn\'t been the greatest. The kids were home on vacation and things got tense. The phrase, \"Shut Up\" was being thrown around a lot.


My husband and I have very little patience for this type of rudeness. Me, because, really, should a parent educator\'s kids be talking that way? What if someone hears them? My husband can\'t stand it because he truly values polite speech.


We spent a few days trying to stop the breach in etiquette, like this:


\"We don\'t say Shut Up in this house!\"


\"Shut up is not a nice word!\"


\"Find another way to talk to your brother/sister!\"


It was started to get out of hand. Nothing was helping. It was time to try problem solving with the kids.


The next time someone said, \"Shut up\", I suggested we have a meeting:


\"Guys, I don\'t like it when you use that word and neither doesDaddy. We feel like it falls into the category of Nivel Peh. Tonight at dinner we are going to talk about  what we should do.\"


Over meatballs and spaghetti, which by the way, happened to be delicious, we had our discussion.


We went through 7 steps of Problem Solving:


1. Parents, talk about your feelings:


\"Daddy and I don\'t like it when you use the phrase \"Shut Up.\" It\'s not the kind of word we like to hear in our house.\"


2. Let the kids talk about their feelings:


Here is what they said:


A: \"Well, he makes fun of me so I tell him to Shut Up\"


E: \"What are we supposed to do if we don\'t like what the other person is saying. Shut Up really makes them Shut up! Nothing else works!\"


T: \"I don\'t think the word is so bad. All my friends use it\" (Note to self: find her new friends)


M: \"Yeh, what is so bad about it anyway? It\'s not like it is a real curse word.\"


E: \"What kind of word can we use instead? There is nothing else that works.\"


3. Reflect their feelings:


\"So you guys don\'t think it is such a terrible word. It also sounds like you all are having some trouble getting along. Sometimes you are being teased and sometimes you just don\'t like what the other kids are saying to you. You feel like \"Shut Up\" is an all purpose word. It stops the teasing and it makes people stop talking to you in a way that you don\'t like.


4. Name the problem and invite kids to come up with a solution:


Daddy and I don\'t like the word. So can we think of another word that can stop teasing and makes people stop talking to you in a way that you don\'t like?


5. Brainstorm without any judgements and write down everyone\'s ideas:


M: What if we say S U?


T: What about \"Shut it\"?


A: What about \"Open Down\"? Get it? It\'s the opposite of \"Shut up.\"


E: What if we say, \"Shut Up\" very softly so no one can hear it.


Me: What if you say, \"Be Quiet!\"


Husband: How about \"Leave me alone!\"


6. Review all your ideas:


Me: The problem with \"S U\" is that it sounds like something really not appropriate. So I think we need to nix that. What do you think?


Husband: I really don\'t like \"Shut it.\" It sounds just as rude as \"Shut up.\"


A: Well what about my idea of \"Open Down?\"


Me: If you want to use \"Open Down\" that is fine with me.


E: No one is going to know what you are talking about. That is not going to work. I am going to say \"Shut Up\" to myself quietly.


M: How is that going to help? No one can hear you.


E: It will make me feel better.


Me: I am cool with that.  As long as no one can hear you. I think that is fine.


Husband: What about \"Be Quiet\" and \"Leave me alone\"? Will that work for you guys?


Everyone agreed.


7. Give a quick recap of your decision:


Me: So E, you have decided that you are going to say, \"Shut up\" silently. The rest of us are going to say, \"Be Quiet!\" or \"Leave Me Alone!\"


So far so good. It has been two days and I have not heard \"Shut up\" yet. I hope the  peace lasts for a long time. If not, do not fear, it is just time to have another problem solving session.


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