Swearing Kids...Oh My!
By Eliza Fox
I’m a millennial mom… Welcome to my world…
I’m also a boy mom. I have no girls… Just my boys. They aren’t grown yet, though some days they seem to think they are. You know, I was raised around people who cussed all of the time. The adults around me had no filter, so it’s no wonder that I started saying swear words at a young age. I got into trouble more times than I can count for saying a bad word. I was probably 11 or 12 years old, so I certainly knew better. I don’t know if I was much for saying bad words when I was little, I don’t recall and no one has ever told me that I did. By the time I was a teenager, I was “allowed” to say some bad words, but I was not allowed to drop any “f-bombs” without getting into trouble. Naturally, instead of avoiding that word, it became one of my favorites.
As an adult, that word definitely comes out of my mouth more times than I’d like to admit. I try to keep it under control around my kids but you know it comes out. I for some reason have no problem keeping that in check when I am at work or places where I know I really can’t say cuss words. Why I am unable to keep it completely under control while I am at home around my kids is beyond me. Maybe it’s because I was raised around it and figure my kids would know better. Sure, when the oldest was little, the worst thing he picked up on was saying “Damn it”. He overheard someone saying it while playing a video game and it stuck. He was probably 2 years old at the time, so it was hard not to laugh. Eventually, we had to tell him it was a bad word and he couldn’t say bad words. Within a short period of time, it was a distant memory.
Fast forward about 6 years and he now has a little brother whose been around for a little more than a few years. His little brother speaks clearly, let's put it that way. Now he had heard a few bad words from people at home but never got into saying them when he was around 2 years old. I thought we were in the clear, until a few years later. He started to pick up on some of these words and every time he got into trouble for saying them, he just tried to hide it. That didn’t work out because he was getting caught by an adult or being told on by his brother. Imagine my surprise, I was sitting in my den, working on a few things on my computer, meanwhile, the boys were in the living room playing. At some point, my youngest had gone into the bedroom he and his brother share and was playing alone. A while passes and then I hear my youngest yelling out my oldest name, to try and get him to come help him with something. I heard him call louder and louder, yet I could still hear my oldest in the living room playing with toys, completely ignoring him, he could obviously hear him. Much to my surprise, the next thing I hear is “Hey mother fucker, come here!” I instantly froze. I couldn’t have possibly heard what I thought I heard. No way did my little one just say that! Oh, but he had. I jumped up and ran into his bedroom and told him to get into time out. (Yes, I use time-out because he would rather have video games or anything taken away than have to stand and face the wall in dim lighting and not talk or play or see anyone. He will even offer up something. Anything to avoid having to go to time out. It’s very effective) I was fuming mad yet I couldn’t help myself from laughing. Don’t worry, I didn’t let him see me laugh, I’m not stupid. I really didn’t know what else to do. I made him stay in time out for about 30 minutes. He was not happy about it but I will bet you I have not heard that or anything like it come out of his mouth since!
So, I want to take a moment to go way back to when I was a young teenager and had my first babysitting job. I used to babysit on Friday or Saturday nights for some people I met through a friend of mine that lived next door to them. She was a little bit older than me and used to be their babysitter until I took over. It paid fairly well, I mean, it was the early 90’s, and the area I lived in was safe enough for me to be able to walk home when I was done. It was a mere 3 blocks from home and if I didn’t want to walk, I could call my mom and she would come pick me up. Now, the people I babysat for had 3 kids, ages 8, 4, and 2. The 8-year-old was a little boy who never liked to listen but would usually be decent enough to go to bed when he was told to go to bed. The two younger children were little girls. The 4-year-old would always go to bed the same time her big brother went to bed and the 2-year-old was just like any other 2 year old, she was gonna stay up. She and I would sit and watch cartoons until her parents stumbled in the door from their night out. I never understood these two parents. They would come home very obviously drunk and proceed to tell their 2-year-old child to swear. One of them would whisper in her ear to go tell the other to “fuck off” or to “eat shit” or something equally ridiculous. What’s worse, is they did it in front of me and laughed. They didn’t care. No, I am not one to judge but I knew that I would never do anything like that if I ever had kids. And I don’t. To be fair, I hardly ever drink, it’s not much my thing, but even if I do, I am certainly not stumbling in the house at 2 am and telling my kid to say bad words. That's. just. dumb… By the way, did I mention these were adults who I believe were an earlier part of the Gen X population? Yep, yet us millennials are the ones who need parenting lessons. #justsaying
Look, to each their own on how they raise their kids, as long as the kids grow up healthy and happy and don’t get abused or abandoned, whatever. Take care of your kids however you need to, as long as its benefiting the child, not you. Children are not pawns, they are human beings. Little, adorable, innocent, loving, non-judging, beautiful human beings. Let them thrive, teach them right from wrong and let them find themselves as they grow. Be strict but not overly strict, yet don’t let them run over you like a freight train and not learn how to be responsible for their actions. Raise them right. Raise them proud. Raise them to be themselves. Raise them to think before they speak and know when to say nothing at all. Everything has a place and time but kids are NOT better seen than heard. I let my boys get loud for a good portion of their day when they are not doing schoolwork. I can always work around them and if I need quiet, I go into another room where I can barely hear them, but none the less, still hear them just in case they need me. They quiet down when it gets later in the night and they don’t get wild when they are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Teach them what respect means and that it is something that you earn. Discipline them without beating the living daylights out of them. There are more effective ways. At the end of the day, you know right from wrong and it’s on you to teach them that. Remember, they are always watching and always learning from your actions. Hearing you cuss is different from you telling them to do it. Sure, there are worse things in life that they could learn but hey, don’t we always need to start with the basics?