Yes, you read it correctly, I taught my son swear words.
It all started when I lost my keys and I cursed, “Where are my freakin’ keys!”
Jack quickly exclaimed, “Muuum! You used a bad word!”
I tried to explain the difference between freakin’ and the F word to my six year old without actually using the F word and I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing? How can I expect this poor boy not to use bad language if he doesn’t know what it is? And how on earth can I teach him what bad language is without using bad language?”
So I asked him if he knew any bad words.
“Yes I do” he said.
“What are they Jack?”
“Fuckin’ and, there’s another one. What’s the other bad word Mum?”
“Shit, the other bad word is shit.”
“Shit! Are there more bad words mum?”
“Yes there are, but let’s talk about those two first.”
I started off by pointing out that using these words would get him into a lot of trouble at school and at home or anywhere. I told him that using these words would end up in punishment and that is why I’m telling him about them. Because it wouldn’t be fair if I punished him for using bad words if he didn’t know what those words are. Just like it wouldn’t be fair to punish him for swinging on the curtains if I hadn’t told him that it was not allowed. He agreed with me. I explained the meaning of ‘swear’ and ‘bad language’ and also that he would hear it from other people, especially other grown-ups.
“Gruncle uses swear words a lot, hey mum?”
“Yes he does my boy, and you should tell him not to because its not nice to swear, especially in-front of children, and sometimes grown-ups need a bit of reminding because they are very busy people.”
We discussed the idea of a swear jar and how he could help the adults he knows and loves not to use bad language and earn tuck money at the same time! He mentioned that the car would be a good place for it. I agreed.
I asked him if he understood everything and if he had any questions. He said he understood and then asked a question totally unrelated to the topic.
I closed the discussion to answer his question by telling him that now that we have had a chat about it and he knows all about swear words, it is very important that he remembers that swearing and using bad language is totally forbidden in our family and he will be punished if it is heard coming out of his mouth.
“I”ll never use those words Mum, I promise, but is a peregrine falcon faster than a cheetah?”
My kids are exposed to profanity often. Of course, I am careful about the language I use around my kids and I do gently remind others if their cursing gets out of hand but I cannot and will not constantly berate my friends and family for using vulgar language in front of them, it’s life and it happens all around them. I cannot protect them from it all the time but, I can prepare them.
That is what I believe I have done here.