"You Did What?"
…blurted out something cringe-worthy.
What you should do: Whether it’s “Mommy, look! He has a baby in his belly!” to a rotund neighbor or “My mom rewrapped this old Christmas present” to the birthday girl, the key is to make a quick apology and move on. “The thing that irritates other people is when parents don’t acknowledge that they are working on their child’s social graces,” says Cindy Post Senning, director of the Emily Post Institute. “Say, ‘I’m sorry. I hope we didn’t offend you.’ ” Then change the subject. In the case of regifting, act as if it’s intentional—you knew it was the perfect present for the recipient. Renee Reynolds, a mother of two in New York City, did so when her son told the birthday boy that his mom had regifted a science toy. Says Reynolds: “I called the mother, who’s a friend, and reminded her how terrible I am at science projects, while I know that her son loves them. She completely agreed.”
Resist the urge to: Bend down and have an immediate heart-to-heart about etiquette with your four-year-old. “It’s awkward to have the teaching moment right there. Go home and discuss it,” says Senning.