How Parents Should Handle Profanity

Picture it: you’re waiting at the bus stop with your precious 6-year-old junior, as he holds on to his favorite matchbox car and smiles as if the world was made up of puppies, kittens and marshmallows. It’s a beautiful, sunny day out. The two 30’s-something women in front of you are deep in conversation. They seem to be work friends. Due to your close proximity, you can’t help but overhear how they are discussing their office manager. Suddenly, one of them let out a nonchalant “Fuck, can you believe her behaving like a bitch?” comment.

Quick!!! What do you do next???

Do you:

  1. Immediately, like a boss, interrupt the conversation and make the couple aware that they need to watch their language in the presence of a child?
  2. Do you take note of the moment to later use as a conversation with Junior in private?
  3. Do you not flinch at all?
  4. Or do you totally relate because your office manager is also a bitch?

If your first thought was bullet-point #2, pat yourself on the back, for everything that surrounds us can be used as a lesson and we should never miss the chance to have a valuable conversation with our children.

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If you thought bullet-point #3, I don’t judge, nor should anyone else. I’m a lover of words. Words are to be used to convey feelings and ideas. Expletives are words and are only as good OR bad as their context. I don’t flinch when someone says “darn” or “jeez” and I’m sure neither do you; yet these too are used to convey a stronger feeling than not. (Note; I was not allowed to use “darn” nor “jeez” when I was a kid, or teen. My mother would have had my tongue for it). Darn! Darn! Darny, Darn, Darn!

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If you thought bullet-point #4, well, I can’t help you there. Maybe I can try covering that issue in a later post.

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Now, on to bullet-point number one. I’ve actually witnessed this happening on various occasions, and it never seems to end well. I’m sure there are those out there that when made aware that a child is in their vicinity, will humbly apologize for whatever the parental antagonist has conveyed to be their sinful, punishable action. But for the rest of the world, you included, should not be “scolded” like a child for using your words.

And children need not be kept in a state of belief that the world will bend differently for the sake of their “innocence”. What they need to learn is to hear something and not repeat it. They need to be taught that they can see something and not imitate it. These are valuable tools to have when they are no longer under their parents minute for minute watchful eye.

Tell me, what do those parents do when their kids are in school? Do they blind themselves into believing that innocence permeates the walls of their elementary school building like a padded sound proof cell? That not one classmate curses? If you don’t remember what it was like when you yourself were in school, please note that children curse. Not all children curse, but most children, yours included already know at least three heavy hitting swear words by the time they are seven years old. My son used to refer to them as the “S-word”, the “A-word” and the dreaded “F-word”.

If we make the “bad” words seem eternally off-limits even to adults, these words will seem even more glorious to children. Why? Because you can’t stop their thoughts. All you can do is help them learn how to control their thoughts from becoming actual words or actions. A time and place for everything. (I told my son that when he is upset he can definitely THINK as strongly as he wants, for those are his own private thoughts. But just as his private parts are for him only, he needs to respect these type of thoughts and keep them only for himself as well, until he’s good and ready to share it. So far so good).

And one day, you’ll unexpectedly let out the F-bomb and not realize that Junior was in YOUR vicinity and he will “innocently” yell out from the other room… “Language Mom, language”. Thanks Junior!

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

 

 

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