It might not have escaped you, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, that I have the mouth of a sailor. And I have young children. And I live in a very conservative little suburb of the notoriously “red” state of Utah where that kind of thing is generally frowned upon. I know I am different than most people I meet because I do not sensor my expletives even around my children. *gasp* It might further surprise you to know that Big Sister – who turns ten in a few weeks – has not repeated them. Well, except that one time when she was three and it was Daddy she was parroting at the time, thank god!
I was not the first of my siblings to have children and I had two adorable nephews years before I had kids of my own. It was very hard to take hearing my oldest nephew, who was about four or five at the time, come up to me – constantly – and hit me while telling me I was bad because I had said a bad word.
First of all, I don’t really believe in good and bad as all-encompassing labels. Every action, every reaction, every situation always has multiple sides to it and each party involved is justified when deciding his/her own actions. Just because the majority of people in a community or a society have agreed to view a thing as unacceptable does not make it bad. (Getting off my soapbox now but this distinction will help illustrate what’s coming…)
From that moment on, I vowed that I would never label expletives as “bad words” regardless of who says them or in what company they are said. Of course at the time I had no intention of ever pro-creating.
And then I got pregnant and people started talking about how I’d have to clean up my language and how everything would change and blah blah blah. And the rebellious bitch who I am at my very core said “oh yeah? Wanna bet?” And I never did. You’re probably wondering how both statements can be true – that I never have filtered myself around my children AND that they have never developed the same habits. But both are true nonetheless.
You see, instead of labeling all my favorite colorful words as ‘bad’, they have been dubbed ‘grown up words’. And you have to be a grown up to choose whether you say them or not. Ingenious, I know. This way, Hubby and I say whatever is our nature to say – never directed AT the kids, of course – and the kids don’t have to feel conflicted inside knowing that Mom and Dad are “good” people but they say “bad” words. Plus, I’ve eliminated what I call the forbidden factor: that phenomenon when you tell a kid they can’t do something and that just makes them want to go out and do it even more. Of course, it also means that the kids will know exactly how to effectively use all the grown up words by the time they can choose to say them. But, so be it.