Monday, January 26, 2009

The Curse of the Curse
We need to find a way to talk with Red about swear words. He was reading a book the other night and came out of his room rather upset. I asked him what was wrong and he said there was swearing in the book. I asked him to show me and so he pointed out "heavens above" and "good heavens" and "he's the devil himself". I explained that those weren't swear words. He was confused and asked what words WERE swear words. I didn't know how to respond. I told him that I needed to talk with Dad (actually, I was hoping to pawn the task off onto him) and then we'd talk about it again.
Our kids haven't been exposed to a lot of bad language. We don't swear here at home. We're pretty strict about the movies we let the kids see. I am of the opinion that they'll be subject to enough garbage out in the world and they need to have a safe place to come to when everything else is crazy. And again, in my opinion, that place should be home. So, we try to keep the general crud out of our home. Maybe we're too strict, but that's how we've done things.
But now, I'm not sure how to explain this to him. Should we sit down with a list of "these are words we really don't want you to say"? Or do we just wait till he asks about a word? Any thoughts or suggestions? How have you approached this with your kids? Did you wait for the words to pop up in their vocabulary? Or did you sit down and talk about the words and explain it all? I wonder if we've made our kids too naive? And is that a bad thing? Not that I want to run out and uncover all the foul things in the world for them, but I wonder... can you protect your kids too much?


Kristina P. said...

Wow, that's a toughie! Sitting him down with a list doesn't seem to be a great idea.

Tonya said...

I think I would just let them come up naturally. He'll hear them out in the world and if you're with him then you let him know it's not a good thing to say and I'll bet he will ask about other things he will hear.

And no, you can't ever protect your kids too much.

Yvonne said...

What great questions, melissa. You always amaze me.

Some how they learn--I don't think you ever sit them down with a list ; )

I think you teach by setting boundaries--I think if you never let them leave your house you might be protecting them too much. You want them to have experiences, but I think our role as parents to provide the guidelines.

Jessica said...

I think it depends on the child. With my oldest she came home twice with a few choice words NOT KNOWING they were bad words and used them. When we explained to her they were bad she felt horrible that she had said such bad words, so she asked what other bad words there were. After thinking (and praying) on it for a couple of day we did sit her down and tell her all the bad words out there we even told her about "the finger" and she had seen that "LOTS" but never knew what it meant.
Now my second oldest is a different story. I think she would have fun shocking people with her new list of words!

Tausha said...

we waited until it was an issue. My 4 year old had a problem with mean words and copying words that she heard and then repeating them. One time in sacrament meeting-while they were passing the sacrament-she yelled at my husband and told him that he was a butthead! The guy in front of us was laughing so hard he was crying!!!
Also-we sat down and watched hairspay. I didn't remember anything in the show that was bad-well there isn't anything that is bad-just one swear word. When we heard it, we paused the show and told the girls that we don't say that and why we don't.
Then, later on that night, we were at a family thing and 4 told my brother to "kiss her A" Lovely! So-from then on, anytime she would hear a word or words that were not approiate for her to say-we would have to stop and talk and explain to her. It took a little bit, but we haven't had any swear words in a while.
At least I got to laugh while we were teaching!

JustRandi said...

Interesting problem!!
One I didn't ever have. My kids seemed to come up with all those words purely on their own.

Christy said...

Tough question... we were way more conservative with our oldest with movies/media than we have been with the other kids. I remember when my oldest told my dad that he thought the "f" word was "fart". Those were the easy days! Now that we have teenagers, it's much harder to shield the younger ones so they get the swear word lessons very early on in life.

I don't know that I'd give him a list or anything, but encourage him to ask you if he hears something he thinks is innappropriate. Good luck!

No Cool Story said...

my oldest told my dad that he thought the "f" word was "fart". ;D

Good question. I guess it depends on the child; a combination of what evryone already said sounds right.

Tracey said...

I have talked with my kids and said that if they ever hear a word that they don't know, they are to ask me before using it.

We've had all the words come through. The big F, S, and a couple of C words. I explain it. I tell them what another, more appropriate word would be, and explain that now that they KNOW what the words mean, there is no excuse for "not knowing" and using it "on accident."

No issues yet. Crossing fingers...

Adena and Greg said...

sorry i haven't commented in so long. I just barely got my internet up and running.

I wouldn't do a list. It would probably just put new ideas and new words in his head. I would encourage him to ask you if hears something he thinks is wrong.

Jean Knee said...

I think it's better to let it come up on its own.

once Lean blurted out to company that something sucked. This is something we say and I never realized it until she said it.

Nancy Face said...

I agree with you about keeping your home a safe place from the garbage in the world. I don't think you're too strict.

We just dealt with swear words when they popped up in their vocabulary. We didn't want to be the ones to introduce them to our kids.

diana said...

i think i would want to err on the side of being over-protective and having naive kids than going in the other direction.

i don't think we ever sat down with our kids with a list. if a word came out of the mouth that was inappropriate, we would tell them that and make them repeat the sentence using an appropriate word to replace the bad one.

obviously, kids will pick up on language used outside the home but i think the way the parents talk sends the strongest message in teaching what is acceptable and what isn't. good luck.

Summer said...

Hey you're doing better than we are. Most of the cuss words my sons have heard have come from us. Whenever that's happened we sit down and explain to them that we were wrong to say such and such a word, etc.

I don't think telling him which words are bad sounds like the best idea. Maybe wait until you hear him say something and then talk to him? That's a toughie.

wynne said...

Ha ha ha! Oh, that's great!

I think you CAN over-protect your children, but I don't think this is a case of that. Oh, wow! I'm so glad Red is so pure, you know?

I'm sure you've already talked to him about this by now. So what did you end up doing?