Monday, November 10, 2008

What the F%#@! . . .

This weekend a couple we are friends with and their 2-year-old daughter came over to hang out. At one point we got out cookies and their daughter was sitting next to our little bottomless pit (he's always eating), he was in his high chair, both were eating cookies. He started to fuss. She patted him on the arm and said "don't worry little buddy, I'll get you out of this shit."

We all tried hard not to laugh.

I got to thinking about it later and it occurred to me, it's not funny.

She had learned the word in passing. There's a small window between being able to say anything around your kid and your kid repeating everything you say. They missed that window, and she now knows how to use the word "shit" in perfect context.

Everyone's seen the Landlord, it's fun to watch a little kid saying funny things. . . until it's your kid.

The little girl's mother then related a story to my wife about a couple they know who actually worked to get their son to call everybody a "douche bag." They succeeded and were happy about it. All their son is trying to do is make mommy and daddy happy. He has no idea what he's saying. All he knows is if he calls a random person a "douche bag" mommy and daddy are happy. It's exploiting a survival instinct.

And in a couple years they will be outraged when their son is suspended from school for saying something vulgar. They'll blame the teacher, the principal, and the other kid's parents for ganging up on the kid. I bet they'll never think to blame themselves for deliberately teaching their son to use the words that got him in trouble.

Especially right now, we live in a society where we tell our kids they can grow up to be anything they want to be. Words like shit and fuck have become more main stream. . . but they're still vulgar and offensive to some people, they'll still get you a fine on network television (the supreme court just heard a case on fuck last week). They can still get you fired or sued. Deliberately teaching them to your kids only sets them up for future problems. You may not have a problem with them, but someone who controls your child's fate on some issue will.

So I've decided to try and curb all spoken foul language. This may mean I'll use more foul language here, to vent it out. We'll see how that goes. I'm sure a expletive or two will slip out here and there, but I have to try. If it means I have to replace "shit" with "shoot" or "fuck" with "fudge," so be it. It'll sound silly to adults, but it'll sound better to the ears that matter most.


Anonymous said...

It is so true. They are like sponges when they start learning how to talk. I let the word damn slip once and it took forever to get that word out of my son's vocabulary. We try very hard to not allow curse words in our house, but it is hard. We could be at a store and someone would say something and that quick our child is repeating it. All you can do is raise them to know that that language is not appropriate. It is sad how people find the humor in that stuff though.


caramama said...

Fuck, it's hard not to cuss. Over the past few months, the Pumpkin is liable to repeat any random word we say, so we are trying to be much more careful. It's not easy, but it's important.

I just don't think it's funny when kids cuss, and you know they learn it by watching us! (That reference was just for you... and me, cause I love that reference.)