Letting our kids use "replacement" curse words is just a pathway to the real thing.
Ashlee Holland: Lately, I have been doing a bit of damage-control when it comes to my 8-year-old son and my four godkids (whom I am around on a daily basis). They seem to be getting a little "grown-up" with certain phrases they use. In NO way, shape or form have we parents ever allowed them to use profanity. They are good kids who don't curse -- or so I thought.
My 2-year-old godson was shooting a basketball around in the living room yesterday; when he did not make the shot, he yelled, "What the freak?!" My head whipped around in disbelief of his choice of words during his frustration.
Did he really just say what I thought he said? We all know the adult version of that phrase, and for a second I could have sworn that THAT is what he said. I asked to him to repeat it, but like any 2-year-old, he just laughed and continued his game. Did I have a budding little potty-mouth on my hands?
My first thought was Where did he hear this?! I have no idea where he could have learned this phrase, or how he knew exactly when to use it. He is 2!
As a parent, I have tried to substitute the bad words with other words to set a good example. Maybe I am doing more harm than good.
I started to think about all of the sayings that my son and the older kids use, and realized the power of a simple (revised) phrase. We all know the substitutes kids use: "goshdarn it," "dagnabbit," "dang it," "aw, crap," "freakin' A," "fudge it." (And now this latest, "What the freak?") The list could go on and on.
When my son says, "Are you freakin' kidding me?" I try to imagine what I would have done had he used the adult alternative. When I do that, I am more likely to stop him in mid-sentence to address my concerns. BUT ... I will be honest. Because it was not the ACTUAL word, it has not bothered me as much thus far. Now, after hearing a 2-year-old use such phrases with GREAT conviction, I am a bit more bothered.
As innocent as I once thought these expressions were, I now feel they may just be a form of "gateway profanity." When we let our kids express themselves in this way, will they eventually graduate to a more vulgar vocabulary? In reality, they are just substituting the adult words to express the same type of frustration or to carry out the same type of insult.
I'm no psychiatrist, but this CLEARLY seems to limit our kids verbally, this use of mindless, inappropriate expressions. These "gateway profanities" have been allowing our children to curse, in a "kiddie" sort of way, for as long as I can remember. It's time to stop this! Who's with me?!
Happy potty-mouth washing!
|Ashlee Holland, single mom of one and a former actress on "Days of Our Lives," brings money and timesaving advice to momlogic.com. Ashlee's range of frugal and fabulous expertise helps moms find efficient and affordable ways to cut costs and stretch a buck. Ashlee's resourceful and innovative tips, combined with her infectious enthusiasm and tenacity, motivate anyone to survive and thrive.|