As a parent, you tend to side one of two ways on the issue of cursing: they either try to shield their children from that sort of language, or figure, “F* it! It’s a part of real life!”
It’s inevitable that at some point, kids will be exposed to “bad words”. I figured it would happen through TV, or friends. Bahaha!!!!
We try & keep cursing to a minimum around our kids… the same way you try to keep a playroom neat until your kids are old enough to, well, PLAY* in it.
(*throw, dump, spill, and scatter every last toy*)
I say “we”, but I really mean “me” because The Captain has FAR more self-control… dammit.
The first time we bumped up against profanity was the “F* Bomb Incident.” We’d been at a family function with several family members who have been known to drop the F bomb as casually as one would say, “Could you pass the salt?”. In fact, the F Bomb is often used in conjunction with a salt request, as in, “Could you pass the F*n salt?!”
We didn’t think our tiny tots noticed such profanity…. until the moment that, as I buckled our then 3 year old eldest into her car seat, she looked up at me, smiled, and said,
“Go F* yourself.” *smile*
Oh. OH. Uhhh… wow.
A variety of emotions hit simultaneously, such as:
- S^&*. Did she get that from ME?? No, I don’t use the F* that way. Whew!
- I’m being told to “go F* yourself” by a THREE year old??? After all the s%^ I do for her??
- She used it correctly. I don’t know if she’s a genius or just a really rude tiny person.
As a parent, you have to make the choice- you either address it, risking making a bigger deal out of the prohibited word -rendering it MORE appealing-, or you downplay it, hoping it will float harmlessly away instead of rearing it’s ugly little head at the next family function.
I asked #1 where she had heard that word, & she sang like a canary, passing up an aunt’s name that shall remain nameless.
Disclaimer: If you happen to be my child’s aunt, it could be you, but consider all of my kids’ aunts & you’ll realize, it’s just as possible that it’s not you, but HER. You know- THAT ONE. (Or maybe it IS you. No one’s safe.)
Thankfully, the infamous F* Bomb Incident died down, & we continued our blissfully curse-free existence, until the next time one popped up, known as the “Little Bear Incident”.
We were out to dinner with the in-laws one night, with #1 and #2 in tow. My mother-in-law began to tell a hilarious story- at one point, the story involved someone “dealing with this s^&*”. Now my mother-in-law is a savvy grandmother, & she was careful to cup her hand around her mouth & whisper the word to us to avoid little ears overhearing.
Or so we thought.
Days later, I tucked #1 into bed & prepared to read her a bedtime story. I held the book’s cover up, & said, “Do you know what this book is called?”
HERE’S the book:
And HERE’S #1’s response:
“YES! “Little Bear’s First S^&*!”
Again, a flurry of thoughts crossed my mind:
- That was F*n HILARIOUS.
- Play it cool. Play it CO- s^%&! I laughed.
- She can NEVER go to school with other children. Ever.
- Looks more like the lady’s taking a s^& than the bear, but still… that was good.
Other than getting a great laugh from the anecdote, Little Bear’s personal habits faded into memory, & thankfully no more cursing was heard from #1.
I wish I could blame outside influences for my kids picking up other bad words, but sadly, a few choice ones have been learned by…. ME.
I am not generally a big curser. But to be fully honest, I will admit that six kids and a massive spill of any kind later, & I’m letting choice words fly like a drunken sailor with Tourette’s.
I really, really try to watch my language around my kids, & generally scrape by with a few, “what the F*??”s muttered under my breath out of earshot. Because let’s face it, though I genuinely don’t curse as a habit, child chaos has a way of doing that to an otherwise rational, self-controlled human being.
And sometimes… within their earshot. Oops.
There’s something about a major spill that used to transform me from THIS:
My reflex to a huge spill would typically be, “God DAMN IT!”. Or actually, more like, “Goddamittt!”. I blame my mom; though she like me is a lovely, God-fearing woman, if her dog grabs food off the table, we laugh because we know a pissed, “Goddammitt!”‘s coming up the pike.
But to bring things full circle, as a Christian, I was feeling bad about my poor choice(s) of words at times. I also felt guilty that my kids could be picking up any of my bad habits. So I made an effort to curb my profanity as much as possible. And was doing well…
‘Til the “God Damn Floor Incident.”
#s 4 and 5 had disappeared as I folded laundry. I found them in the bathroom, having tossed every last Rainbow Loom in the house all over the bathroom floor (remember these F*n things??)
Me: “You just got the looms all over the-“
But… I stopped myself. I did it. I chose wisely. I was modeling restraint!
Daughter: *big smile*: “I know! All over the goddamn floor!” *another smile*
Thankfully, I’ve come a long way with my words around the kids. The other day, I overheard #3 and #4 debating what the “S word” was. #4 (7) turned to me, & said confidently,
“I know the S word, but it’s really not nice. I’ll tell you!”
Me: “No, you shouldn’t say it…”
#4: “I know! It’s… *whispers* “STUPID”