Don’t Swear Around Your Kids Unless You Want To Be Publicly Judged And Feel LIke A Horrible Parent
My child has a potty mouth. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s something I am having a hard time figuring out how to deal with, actually. I always thought I was careful about what I said around my son, as did his father. We were totally wrong.
The first time my child swore, I thought it was cute. He used it in the right context, no one else was around – his father and I got a good laugh at it. Our dining room table collapsed and right on cue, he said, Oh shit!Â Oh, shit is kind of my go-to exclamation of choice. I honestly never realized I said it around him, but obviously I did because he clearly didn’t get it from Pocoyo or any of the characters on Yo Gabba Gabba. I vowed to stop saying it in the house and after I did, I really realized how often it almost rolls off my tongue. Not good.
His father has an affinity for the F-word. He obviously doesn’t use it when he’s addressing me or the kids – it most often comes out in his downtime at night, when he’s playing online video games. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the whole “gamer” lifestyle, but you basically go online and play these games with other people. I’m assuming it’s mostly a bunch of men because if he has the “chat” feature enabled on his favorite game Call of Duty, it’s like a testosterone fest of insults. He almost always has his headphones on and he settles down to play the game long after our son goes down to bed. Our son does have an affinity for staying up, but his father plays his games in a room that I always assumed wasn’t in earshot. Don’t assume anything, I’ve learned. I took my child to the doctor a few weeks ago and while we were in the waiting room, he dropped one of his toys and yelled,
Horrified. I was horrified, but also recognized the expression as being a favorite of his father’s while he’s gaming. Ugh.
Miraculously, “shit” never resurfaced. We didn’t respond when it happened because we didn’t want to give it too much attention and I made a real effort to stop saying it around the house. It seems to have worked. The “fuck” thing seems to have been an anomaly as I haven’t heard it since. But now – he’s got a new favorite:
Jesus Christ is coming up all the time. When I tell him it’s time for a nap, Jesus Christ! When he gets frustrated by one of his games, Jesus Christ!Â Now, I guess this is the part where I have to admit that Jesus Christ is kind of my go-to because I never really considered it swearing; we’re not religious – and it’s just something I say. But I also realize now that not everyone feels the way we do and this may be a problem when he gets to daycare. Oh, man. Why couldn’t I just have said “Oh, man” more? Now I’m trying to explain to a three-year-old in a household that doesn’t practice organized religion that Jesus is an a-ok guy but some consider saying his name to be bad. It’s as confusing as it sounds.
My son was a late talker and and I made the mistake of assuming that just because he couldn’t form fully coherent sentences yet, he wasn’t absorbing everything we said. I was wrong. One day, a few months before his third birthday he just started talking and talking and I realized even though he couldn’t express everything clearly yet, he was still soaking up everything we said like a sponge.
The moral of the story is – if you don’t want your kids to repeat it, don’t say it. I’ll be more careful with child number two.