Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Potty mouth

I pose the question
Does sticking a bar of chemicals into your child's mouth an appropriate punishment for saying a word you didn't like? 
When I was about eight years old, I rode my bike to my school after hours to play on the play ground, something commonly done twenty-five years ago. I found a safe spot, far away from anyone sight or sound, in an outside corner of the deserted building. I was completely alone. I sat with my legs crossed (we called it indian style back then) on the ground, my back against the wall. I took a deep breath, looked again to see if I was in anyone line of vision, but I was not. I let out my breath and in a quiet whisper, I said the all and powerful word,

"fuck" I said it again in a quiet but audible tone,
"Fuck." I said it again in my regular voice.
"Fuck" and then I shouted it.
"Fuck!" and the police didn't show up, my parents didn't magically appear, the sky didn't fall and even then I realized the word "fuck" was less harmful than all those oppressive tactics to demonize a whole form of expression.
"Henry Drummond: I don't swear just for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. I think we should all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words that anybody understands." Inherit the Wind 
As I reach adulthood and started out in the work force, I found myself swearing more than I ever did before. My source.   When I became a parent, I choose not to stop swearing altogether, though I have cut it down quite a bit, but rather than censor theses words and jesters altoghter from my child, I felt it was better I simply use them when its appropriate.
 Driving doesn't help, but the truth is, life in general is difficult and swearing is a natural means in dealing with anger.

Children are very quick. You could have spent the the last four years not uttering a single swear word, then all of a sudden you spill something and a swear word comes out. Your child hears it and not only repeats it, but knows how to say it in its direct context. I had a talk with my daughters preschool teacher (she goes three days a week) on the subject. I let her know that occasionally at home a swear word comes out and I would prefer she handle it in a healthy fashion. For more information
 Rather than refer to these words curse or swear words, I call them angry words and to remind her that those words are said only at home. I was relieved she agreed with me and even admitted that trying to use a prohibition of theses words was ineffective with our generation. Why should we think that this repeatedly failed method will work any better with this generation? So far it hasn't been an issue. I want my child to be comfortable expressing herself, but I don't need to sounding like a sailor in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I make sure not to curse at anyone, but more so expressing frustration over situations. Although my daughter is only three, we have had sit down talks about when, where and how we express anger. So far, she seems fine with going in her room and yelling incoherently and coming out when she is claim. I've seen her several times she gets frustrated and heads to her room to yell it out, only to come back to the problem with a clearer head.

Another factor about cursing I don't leave out, is the humor behind it.  The humor in cursing is a large part of our media, art and expression. Words bring with them, new concepts and thoughts.
My daughter only being a toddler, has already started with this type of humor, all her own. Its completely natural and its often of the beginning signs of your child's sense of humor, the "potty mouth." Every sentence ends with the word "Poopy" when my daughter is in her comical moods.  The alphabet no longer ends in Z, but in poopy. My daughter has called me a "poopyhead" and jokingly chants a spell to turn her grandma into poopies. This cracks my daughter up to no end, as it should. It is my job to help her expand her humor, we are currently working on "knock-knock" jokes. Right now they all end in poopy. Which is fine for now.

By simply not making it an issue, it hasn't become one and we are able for now to keep this under control. I feel this gives my daughter the ability to express her feelings to me, without fear. I don't want my daughter to ever feel afraid come to me when there is a problem. My goal is to lay the foundation of a strong and happy relationship with my child.

In the end my goal is NEVER give my child the fear of expressing herself that I and many others had experienced before. I know this may seem radical, but I'm willing to go out for the best interest of my child and NOT the social hang ups of generations past.

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