“Your son is so active!” …Oh just say it, lady! He’s a spazzy wall-climber. Your assessment does not surprise nor offend me. I live with him.
“He’s so persistent! A real leader!” Read: stubborn bossypants.
So why all the code? Why do we generate euphemisms to describe child behavior? Does calling a kid “strong-willed” make him less uncooperative? Does saying “He’s a dreamer and so imaginative!” make him less ADD? Why can’t we just say what we mean? Ummm, because this is 2012, an age of guarded, politically correct, namby-pamby nonsense… and we can’t do that [say what we mean] anymore. Pediatricians and teachers alike are speaking in similar code to describe America’s youth… allow Me to translate for you as best as I know how.
WHAT YOU’RE HEARING…. THE TRANSLATION.
“She’s very energetic!”…….. She’s hyperactive. There’s medication for that. There’s also discipline.
“He’s a leader and an explorer!” …….. Start saving for bail.
“She’s so sensitive.” …….. total cry baby.
“He’s very communicative.” …….. Does he ever stop talking???
“So inquisitive!” …….. If I hear “Why?” one more damned time!
“He needs to apply himself.”…….. lazy to the max. A slacker.
“He doesn’t seem to be focusing.” …….. I’m pretty sure he’s high. A lot.
“She’s reserved and withdrawn.” …….. She’s antisocial.
“He needs to set some goals.” …….. He’s clueless and the real world is going to kick him in the ass.
“I’m concerned about her dresscode choices.”…….. She dresses like a tramp.
“He voices his concerns freely.” …….. A natural complainer.
“She relates well with her peers.” …….. She talks too much.
“He’s very observant.” …….. He’s kind of a creeper.
I could totally go on…
I apologize (nearly sincerely) if anyone finds this offensive…. the truth is often perceived that way. Also note that this is merely my humorous spin on my experiences as a mom and as a teacher. But I come from the “honesty is the best policy” school of thought. In a few years, when my son is in school, if he acts like a wild hyena in the classroom, I want to know that. I don’t want to hear that he was “actively exploring.” If he is asking irrelevant questions every 19 seconds, I don’t want to hear that he is “curious and inquisitive.” Don’t tell me he could “benefit from some extra recess/activity time” when what you really want to say is “Good lord this kid is nuts!” Give it to me straight. I can take it. I can also translate the bullshit and figure out what you mean anyway. Plus, you’re probably not telling me anything I don’t already know. I live with him. So lets all save some time, cut the crap, and say what we mean. Please?
What are some euphemisms you’ve heard spoken about your kids? I bet you could read right through the code! Teachers, what are some euphemisms you use to spare parents’ wrath??