I’ve told the kids that if they’re ever in a situation where they feel uncomfortable (at their age, it’s generally neighborhood kids talking about things kids shouldn’t be talking about) that they can exit the situation and blame it on me. They can say “My mom needs me home”, or “Mom said I had to be home in 10 minutes and I’m late” or just “My mom is mean and she’ll kill me if she hears me talking about this, so let’s talk about something else”. Whatever. I’m happy for the neighborhood kids to think I’m a strict meanie and serve as a scapegoat.
So today Lauryn came in abruptly from bike-riding, explaining that some older kids were talking about which girls were pretty, who would be a good or bad boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. “Mom, I told my friends you said I had to come inside. They said ‘Your mom didn’t call you’, so I said ‘Yeah, but my mom hates when little kids talk about love.'”