kid cussin’

Ah, another developmental landmark has been reached!

Last night, I was helping the Bee make her bed. I had pulled the bed away from the wall, and she was behind it, gathering up the stash of books that had fallen down between the wall and the bed and accumulated underneath. She couldn’t reach a book, and she muttered under her breath, “sugar honey ice tea.”

It took me about five seconds to piece that together, and I said, “what did you say?”

“Nothing.”

I left it alone, as it clearly wasn’t directed at anyone, and god knows I mutter enough curses under my breath when I’m frustrated. I’m not even sure the Bee knew exactly what she was saying, although she probably did. I remember first hearing another kid say the word ‘fuck’ when I was about ten, and just being dazed by the awful power of it. I’m sure that she’s heard that word on the playground by now–there are enough ten-year-olds in her class.

I should say that, while landisdad and I will occasionally mutter curses under our breath, it’s been our policy since the Bee was born not to curse in front of the kids. In my adult conversation, I tend to curse like a sailor, but I never think it is cute when a three year-old drops the f-bomb. (I’m of mixed minds about “freakin,'” though.) This has become extremely difficult to maintain, especially since I got car that basically broadcasts my cell phone like a speaker–many’s the time I’ve had to admonish one of my co-workers, “hey, I’ve got kids in the car!!”

My parents were diametrically opposed when it came to cursing. My dad cussed like a sailor when he was at home (a high-school English teacher, I can only assume that he refrained at work). My mom, on the other hand, rarely curses. I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve heard her use the word ‘fuck,’ and probably four of those happened over 20 years ago, when my parents were still married.

I want my kids to know that they can’t use curse words in every setting, and to know that they need to be able to express themselves clearly in English. On the other hand, I’m not going to freak out if, in high school, they’re using Anglo-Saxon terms with their friends, as long as they keep it out of the classroom.

What’s your theory on cussin’ kids?

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December 6, 2008. thoughtful parenting. 11 comments.