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Reality Check: Too Much Gossip?

Q. My neighbor loves to dish about people we know. Should I worry that my preschooler will start repeating what she hears and pick up the bad habit?

A. Uh, yeah. You know that a child is capable of repeating every word she hears, even if she doesn't know what it means  -- especially if the message is delivered with a gossipy fervor. While kids don't necessarily "learn" the habit by listening to others, it's never too early to teach that it's not nice to blab about people behind their backs.

As for your chatty neighbor: The next time she's about to drop a gossip bomb, pull her aside and remind her that grown-folks conversations are just for that  -- grown-ups  -- and you'd appreciate it if she kept her juicy pearls to herself until your child's out of earshot.