This week I learned a valuable parenting lesson, that I am SURE many parents before me have learned.
Always ask, don’t assume.
While sitting around chatting with my girls this weekend, my 5 year old said, “Mommy. Am I allowed to tell sister the bad word that (the 5 year old boy down the street) said?”
“What word is that?” I asked.
“The ‘F’ word!”, she responded.
“Oh… He said the ‘F’ word, huh? Well, that is naughty… What word?” I asked for some unfathomable reason. Because who doesn’t know what the ‘F’ word is?
When she first told me that this boy said the “F” word, my initial feeling was irritation that she was already exposed to that kind of word. However, I also felt that it was inevitable. Kids hear words that they are told are “bad” words, so they tell other kids. It’s how most of us learned the “F” word, the “S” word, and “D” word. (You filled in the end of those words in your head, didn’t you?) Who knows where the boy learned it from.
I don’t want my kids to think too much about those words, or give them too much power. They will often say “stupid” is a bad word. So, I tell them that it is just a word. It is how you use it that makes it wrong. Using certain words make people think a certain way about you. Words also make a person feel a certain way when you use them. A word is just a word, until you use it in a rude or crude way. My job as a parent is helping my children decide what words will be a good reflection on themselves. I want them to use words that encourage others instead of cause anger or sadness.
In this case, I am glad I delved a little further and didn’t assume the ‘F’ word that was used, was the ‘F’ word I assumed. While the actual word was still not a kind one, at least we have some time before I have to explain the actual ‘F’ word.