Dear Urban Diplomat: What should I do about my neighbours’ foul-mouthed kid?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My nine-year-old attends the same school as our neighbours’ daughter, and our families share carpooling duties. I’ve begun to notice lately that the other girl is a troublemaker—she’s started to swear in the car and behave like a bully—and I’m concerned her brattiness might rub off on my daughter. Because of our work hours, my husband and I can’t call off the carpooling deal. What should we do?
—Carpool Trouble Syndrome, Mimico
Peer behaviour can be wildly contagious, so try a two-pronged intervention. First, crack down on the passenger profanity when you hear it and explain that cussing and bullying aren’t cool. Then, phone up the other parents or, better yet, invite them over for a drink and a chat. Don’t be judgy; do be specific. Ideally, they’ll acknowledge that they’ve already glimpsed their little despot in action and assure you they’re on the case. More likely, they’ll take offence and suggest you’re overreacting. If things don’t change and your daughter starts to mimic your backseat deviant, find a new family to carpool with, convenience be damned.
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