DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was having a disagreement with a friend about her 9-year-old daughter. She thinks it’s OK for her child to correct adults as long as she’s right. I feel it’s totally disrespectful to correct your elders. Especially at 9 years old!!! What is proper????
GENTLE READER: By that logic, you had better make sure that you are the elder in this relationship -- since Miss Manners notices that you are freely correcting your friend’s parenting.
But yes, as a general rule, it is unseemly for children to go around reprimanding adults, no matter that they are often undoubtedly right. But neither is it proper for anyone to issue citations without using tact, and that rule has been roundly violated here.
However, to the larger question: How to properly guide children to correct misinformation without creating offense -- a skill that will help them later in life, especially in their early careers.
It must be done with humility. As in, “Oh! I always heard that the Earth rotated from west to east, but I must have heard wrong. I will have to check my sources” -- thus helpfully prompting them to check theirs.