Mom confession #73: I can curse a blue streak. And I often do. But never in front of the kids — I edit my word choice carefully. You might catch me saying “rats!” or, occasionally, “shoot” or “darn.” But I use even those rarely, because there’s no denying that kids repeat what they hear, and whatever you put out comes right back at you.
Obviously — like all you fine, upstanding parents — I don’t want my children cursing. But there’s a whole litany of other things I don’t want them saying, either. I’m by no means claiming we get total compliance 100 percent of the time on this, but the kids do pretty well (and take great pleasure in correcting the other if someone slips up.) And if they do let one of the offending words or phrases slip, we’re quick to correct them with a more pleasing substitute.
Basically, my barometer is: I don’t want them saying anything I really don’t want to hear coming from a child’s mouth.
Here’s the list of no-no’s:
Butt — Sorry, it just doesn’t sound nice! Also, it tends to lead quickly to additional hiney talk, touching, pointing, or exposing, so best just not to go there. Acceptable instead? Bottom, behind, bum, or tushy. Which takes me to….
Fart — Like butt, it leads other places — namely, bathroom talk. Poop, pee pee, penis — you get the idea. It also leads to silly sounds, especially from Jasper. He’s a boy. It’s apparently in his DNA. And when he’s older and ignores everything I say, I’m sure we’ll be in for plenty of fart jokes and bathroom humor. For now, say toot, please.
Oh my God — I say this all the time myself — and think absolutely nothing of you saying it, believe me — but not in front of the kids. To me, it sounds inappropriate coming from a child. Oh my goodness, instead, if you don’t mind.
What the heck? — It’s one step away from “what the hell?” and you know it. Jasper‘s starting to know it, too, so we go with “what in the world?” or the ever-useful “what is up with that?” in its place.
I hate that — Don’t be a hater! Again, just doesn’t sound nice. Instead, we try to say “I really do not like that.”
When the kids hear another child utter one of the above, they always point it out to me. And I respond with that old chestnut, “Different families have different rules.” And I’m certainly not saying my rules are the right ones! I’m just making it up as I go along and, like everyone else, trying to do what feels right for me.
Are you strict about what your kids can and can’t say? What’s off limits, and how do you enforce what you’re comfortable with?
(flickr photo: Arte & Design Anna-ShaKti-)