This post was inspired by the prompt “What words are off-limits in your house?”. My post will be linked up, along with the others posts from my new blogging group, to Modern Family in Rural America. Thanks Modern Family for hosting us!
When my kids started attending Pre-K and Kindergarten at our local public school they began coming home and asking us curse word questions. Now if you’ve read this blog much, you know that I can have a bit of a potty mouth sometimes. But after the kids came along and started mimicking my words in front of say …. our parents…, I began to clean up my language around them.
Apparently not all parents get the “no potty mouth with kids” memo as my daughter came home from school one day and asked us what the “F” word was. My husband and I looked at each other with big eyes and then he responded definitively, “FAT!” ”Oh, yes,” I chimed in. ”Fat is a bad word. If you call someone fat it really hurts their feelings. We must not use that word.” She looked at us solemnly and moved on. A few days later she came home from school and asked us what the “S” word was. This time without missing a beat I responded, “Stupid. Stupid is a really mean thing to say. You should never use that word either.” She and her brother nodded their heads knowingly. We all began taking this very seriously. Even our dachshund/basset mix that looked more polish kielbasa than wiener dog had to be referred to as chunky lest we hurt her furry feelings.
After a few years they did start hearing their classmates use full curse words and would ask us what they meant. We would tell them the literal meaning of the word and then explain how people were using it as a curse. We mainly told them it was rude and ignorant to talk that way (Note to self: potty mouths do make you look bad. Work on that). But even after learning curse words, they still call each other out for using insults like stupid, fat, or the like.
They also know my husband and I will punish them for talking hurtfully even more than we punish them for using a curse word. Because words matter. Words hurt sometimes even worse than sticks and stones. And we believe we should be in the business of building people up, not tearing them down. And that starts, by the way, with how we talk to ourselves. So next time I hear you calling yourself fat or stupid, be prepared for a time-out
Oh, and if you were wondering, they even know what the “F” word is now. It’s fart.