Thursday, April 30, 2009

BAD words........

So I've been thinking a lot about the words I say... Now, don't get me wrong, I do not use bad language (at least not in my estimation). But when my little girl started to talk I came to realize that there were some things that I didn't want to hear her say. I first noticed it when she said, "hate" one day. I know that hate isn't that big of a deal, but I didn't like hearing my sweet little 2 year old say, "I hate this." So, I've started editing my own language. Here are some things that I don't say anymore (or at least, I try not to):

oh my gosh

Now, we all say those things above (Excepting some angels out there who are so good with their language. :) I know I've heard my friends and family members say all those words). Here is what I try to say instead:

don't like
oh my goodness
oh dear

We've taught my daughter well the things that she shouldn't say and we tell her to remind us to not say those things. The other day I was in the kitchen and my daughter kept saying, "mommy, say oh dear." I was confused and kept ignoring her (I think I was talking with my husband) until I finally got frustrated with her and said, "what are you talking about?" Then my husband said, "you just said, hate." What a good girl!!!

Well, about 2 weeks ago my daughter said "dang it." I was so startled! I didn't think I said this. I am still not sure if she picked it up from me, my husband, or from another family member. But as soon as I said, "what did you say?" she said, "Oh dear." HEHE - what a good girl! She could probably tell by my tone of voice that I didn't like her saying that.

So, I have a few questions:

What words do you try to avoid saying around your toddler?
What words do you try to use in place of these?
If you have older children, is your language more lax the older your children get?
How do you prevent your child from picking up these words from their friends or other family?

Then, I have one more question. If I find that I should cut these words out of my vocabulary for my toddler, it makes me think that perhaps I shouldn't say them at all and I would do better to simply eliminate them all together. What are your thoughts? I would LOVE your advice

PS There is a poll on the sidebar that we would LOVE if you would take a minute to answer. Also, the germ post below is generating great discussion - so keep it up!!


Jared and Delia said...

This is a great topic. We also try not to say: Oh my gosh and stupid.

Those are our two biggest no no words/phrases we are working on right now. Our oldest is really good at correcting us, people in public (whoops), and people on TV. I have been thinking about this a lot actually because my son is 4 and is getting ready to watch some of the older kids shows and read some of the older kids book. Books especially use the word stupid all the time - at least for 1st graders and above. It really bothers me. Sometimes when I am reading a chapter book to my son, I have to edit it.

I think ahead to when he is 7 and older and reading these books for himself and I wonder what I will do then. I will most likely have more babies and toddlers in the house. So will my expectations change for our language then? So...I worry about whether I am making too big a deal over some words. Using the Lord's name in vain will never be okay, but what about stupid, hate, dang it, crap, oh my heck? I expect my kids will eventually use those words in high school and I won't really care then.

For now I just try to work on the way I talk. The words I use, my tone, and what I say about other people no matter good or bad and regardless of whether I know them or not. I think aside from specific words, my goal is to teach my children to speak in a way that is reverent and respectful. Saying a "good" word the wrong way is just as bad as saying "stupid." I have to work on that myself though, that is certain.

Thanks for posting about this Tannie. I guess this was more me spilling my thoughts on screen than anything.

Heather said...

This is something I have been thinking about lately, too. I was talking to my husband and said the neighbor kid was acting like a stinker, after which my daughter has referred to him (to me only, thank goodness) as being a little stinker. So there we are, beginning the name calling at 3 years old! I explained to her that I shouldn't have said that because it wasn't nice and we don't call people names because it hurts feelings. That seemed to work in that situation, but we'll see what happens when someone calls her a mean name.

As far as replacements, I do basically the same as Tannie. I think I actually picked up using "Oh dear" from watching her little girl. :)

For picking the words up elsewhere, we had that issue just yesterday. We took the city bus on a little field trip (my daughter LOVES buses) and a trio of teenagers hopped on at one of the stops. My daughter was fascinated with all the bling the boy was wearing and then any word you can think of that you'd never want your toddler to hear came spewing out of their mouths. I just leaned down into my daughter's ear and asked her not to watch or listen to them because they weren't making good choices. Then I distracted her with conversation and things we were seeing out the windows. The language of making good choices vs. bad choices is NOT new to my daughter. She understood and it worked. I have no idea what I will do when I send her to Kindergarten, though. Hopefully by then, she'll have enough understanding to not watch or listen to kids who are making bad choices. It breaks my heart to think about what she will be exposed to.

Tink said...

Okay, so I have a lot of experience with this because I have one who will be 9 in 2 weeks, a 6 1/2 yr. old, a 4 yr. old, and 15 mth old. With the exception of the baby, they all recognize improper language and don't use it. We don't allow-shut up, stupid, dumb(if you're referring to a person), crap(they made me stop saying this one on their own), hate, butt. I've replaced crap with crud on the rare occasion I say it anymore and my 9 yr. old asked if that was a bad word. I said no, but that I probably shouldn't say it anyway. If the above words are said, it's called a "bad" word. They point it out when they hear it in a song or on tv and they never use these words. They even correct their friends or granparents in our home if they use one of these words. So I figure they don't use them at school either, if they're correcting other kids. So, even though 2 of them are in school, I don't worry, and I haven't become more lax with them. They also discovered on their own that the b-word is bad, when they kept repeating it on the Amazing Race a couple of weeks ago, which is their favorite show. They also learned that hell and the a-word are bad and that we don't use them. So far, we've avoided the two really major words. I'm sure once they're high school age, we'll relax on some of the words, but for now they know the limits and are really good about it.

Tink said...

I forgot to mention some of our replacement words. We say something is lame instead of dumb or stupid. We also use "that stinks" if something bad happens during their school day. I also really point out when other kids are saying unkind things to them or each other. I do use dang it, but that hasn't seemed to be a problem. They haven't even really said that. Instead of "oh my gosh" (which we do use on occasion, but not often) we use "holy cow" or "wow." Hope this helps or at least gives us something to think about. I still have a problem myself with using some of those words when I'm not around my children. I've never thought that maybe I should cut out stupid, or some of the others from my own vocab, but that's a really good point.

Kelly A. said...

My little one is younger than many of those who have kids that have already commented. I have not yet entered this phase of parenting, but this post got me thinking and the wheels in my head are now turning! Good topic :)

Tannie Datwyler said...

I really appreciate your opinion Tink - all I have is a toddler. So it helps when someone who has older kids comments. :) Thanks so much everyone for the ideas.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I used to say "shut up" but mostly in a joking way (my family used to say that a lot), but when I heard my daughter say it once, I knew it had to stop. I now HATE that... I think it is very rude, even if it is a joke. I try to say, "hush" or "stop it." Anything else you can think of that kids shoudln't say?

I like how someone (I think it was Heather) mentioned just talking openly with your child about words we don't say and making good choices.

Chris and Laura said...

My daughter is still only learning how to talk (uh-oh, thank you, and daddy are currently her favorite words), but I have dealt with this a lot with my fifth graders at school. It might be a different perspective coming from the teacher side instead of the parent side...

We have outlawed the words crap, it sucks (this is a huge one for me), stupid, and shut up. My students have to pay a fine in class money if anyone hears them use these words, in the classroom or anywhere else. They are really good at monitoring themselves and each other, once we've had the discussion of why those words are inappropriate and other things that we may say. In terms of replacement words, we (my students and I) have found that, more often than not, the situations in which you want to use those words bring out comments that are almost always negative, and it's often better to close your mouth entirely and keep the comments to yourself. There is something about our society that has to exclaim verbally at everything, which often is probably unnecessary when others are around.

There are times when I slip at school and say one of the outlawed words. In that case, I have to pay the same fine to every student in the class--this may seem extreme, but it keeps them alert for the words that we don't want to say, and they are thus more aware of not saying it themselves. By the way, as the school year progresses, this becomes much less of an issue. I don't think anyone has paid me in the last month.

I have noticed that my "bad" language is a lot more frequent at home. I say "oh shoot" all the time. I mean, ALL the time. I'm glad we've had this post. I'll have to start thinking about what I do and don't want to hear Jane say before she really starts parroting everything back to me.

For humor's sake, I thought I'd mention that we have also outlawed what if questions and unless statements. Fifth graders have a wonderful knack for making conversations last much longer than they need to. "What if it rains? What kind of coat do we have to wear? But what if it starts hailing? Should we all bring a hat just in case?" "The answer would be b, unless there was an earthquake and the building fell down. There are no purple markers, unless you put two purple markers in, then there would be two." I don't have patience for that. :)

We also outlawed the word cheese. Thank you, Jeff Kinney and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Good book, though. You should read it.

Courtney said...

My short and concise opinion...If your innocent child says something that "offends your ears," which is ultimately the spirit...I say don't say it. I am firm believer in almost everything we say or do, most importantly when it comes to media, that we should never say, do, view, or be involved in things that we would not want our lovely pure children to be involved in or do! =0)