All parents experience the first time they hear their innocent child utter their very first curse word.
For me, it’s happened a few times, but never like this. My 9-yr-old uttered a phrase that stopped me in my tracks. It came out so fluently, so effortless, so sweet. How could that be? How could my child say what he just said? I looked over to my husband and he swiftly asked him, “Where did you hear that son?” It shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did when I heard him answer back, “Boys in my class say it all the time, what does it mean?” As a parent, how do you respond when your child says a curse word?
I will not write this post without, first, stating I’m not one of “those” Moms. You know the kind of Mom I’m talking about… the one who thinks they’re child could do know wrong, that all negative influences are from the public school system or television.
I understand that what I do and what I say influence my children more than anything. I’ve stubbed my toe and shouted out using a curse word. I’ve been stuck in traffic and uttered, “What is wrong with these idiots?!” I’ve been hurt and screamed words that sound completely foreign coming out of my mouth. Heck, I even used a curse word at a BLOGGER event in front of BRAND REPRESENTATIVES (it was so embarrassing). I’m not the only one who struggles with this, my husband has strongholds with his actions and words as well.
But it’s few and far between.
Growing up I could expect a good backhand across the face for saying such words. I never had to, because fear ran through my veins faster than I could even THINK about saying curse words.
Last week’s incident really made me think about how and why I’m teaching my children the importance of words, how they affect other people and how they affect your reputation, both online and off. So, I gathered my thoughts and here’s what I said……
1. Cursing is subjective: Specific words and phrases mean something to one person and something totally different to someone else. It’s important to know the difference.
2. Cursing lacks tact: My favorite phrase to say to my children is, “Stay away from stupid.” I know in saying that I’m using a non-conventional word, but I need them to understand using curse words makes you look… well…. stupid. There are other ways to “outsmart” someone who’s cursing at you.
3. Cursing can be confusing: Young children hear curse words and don’t know what they mean, but my husband told my son, “If you EVER hear a word and you don’t know what it means, ask me. I’ll always be honest and tell you exactly what it means.” Educate your children on words and phrases, don’t simply say they’re bad. Give them meanings, give them explanations. Once my husband told my son what that curse word meant, he realized he didn’t want to be using it.
4. Cursing leaves an impact: I’m in the public eye more than I’m comfortable with. What I say and do is always picked apart. It’s important for my children to know that their words, even at an early age, will impact their reputation all the way into their adult life.
5. Cursing lacks class: Not to be the “better than you” kind of Mom, but keeping it classy is always at the top of my head. I don’t want my kids wearing baggy jeans or skin tight dresses. I want them to carry themselves with respect, confidence, and class. Curse words are NOT classy (Oh, and I had to explain to them what classy means).
So, how do you teach your son’s to carry themselves with pride and respect? How did you react when you, first, heard them utter a curse word?
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