“Sticks and Stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me.”
The person who wrote that was obviously not a parent. For little kids, words are the only weapon they possess because, let’s face it, they’re tiny and it’s funny when they try to hit things. The ultimate goal of a parent is trying to teach their children to use these weapons for good and not evil. I’ve noticed in parenthood that pretty much every single word I use is repeated at least 10 times by the little one so I really have to watch what I say because I know whatever I utter, no matter how quiet I am, will come back to me at some point. I can still remember the day that my mother said “crap”. That was one of the greatest days of my life because it was like the word was just pardoned from a life sentence and was now free to be used at any time. Let freedom ring!
Otherwise, when I was a child, we had a very strict house in terms of vocabulary. I remember that we weren’t able to use the staples of most kids vocab like butt, fart or boob. Oh, the humanity! I was in a private christian school until I was in the 2nd grade and then we moved into a public school. I was immediately subjected to a wide array of new words. I remember coming home one day and asking my mother what a “whore” was. Her response was “It’s something you should never say.” I respect what my parents did for me in that it pushed me to learn different words other than stunting my vocabulary growth and stopping at “poop” being the greatest word of all time. Rather I kept my ear to the streets and came up with the true greatest word ever: chrysanthemum. Don’t fight it, it’s truly the greatest word ever. No debate.
On the other hand, it gave these swearwords-lite more of a shelf life in my brain because I couldn’t stop thinking about these “bad words”. As a small child, I once jumped into the kitchen wearing a Superman outfit and screamed out “HERE COMES SUPERBUTT!”. I didn’t mean to, i meant to say Superman but the word “butt” ran in my brain on a contant loop.
I also told my mom the “Rubber Buns and Liquor” joke. It’s not a clean joke by any means but I liked it because it had the word “buns” in it. I didn’t know what I was saying! I claim ignorance!
Once you have a good handle on the words you want to use though you have a choice of whether to use them for good or not. I was known on occasion to belittle the babysitter because she didn’t make oatmeal the way I wanted. I remember once she started telling me something that started “I don’t think that……” and a 7-year old chubby me blurted out “You’re right! You don’t think”. Hmmmm, I don’t know if I ever saw her again after that. Once I honed my word craft I figured that calling someone “poopface” was downright idiotic when you can hurt someone with words without them really knowing it for a while until they consulted a dictionary.
Anyway, back to my little one now. She’s brilliantly devious in her word usage. She is the sweetest little girl with a firm grip on the English language and the ways to use it. If she is happy, you’ll feel her warmth in her words. If she isn’t happy though, watch out. She doesn’t swear or even use harsh words. However, she’s been keeping track of what subjects bother you and what you are comfortable with. If she is upset with you, she wants everyone there except for you. Oh, did u mention that person at work that you don’t like? Well if you did and you piss her off be ready for “I WANT Mr. ThatJerkThatStealsYourSandwichFromTheFridgeAtWork or Mrs. LadyThatDoesntSayGodBlessYouWhenYouSneeze! I DON’T WANT YOU!” Ouch! Play fair, little girl.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m already proud in the way that my daughter uses her words, even though it may hurt immediately. She is capable of a war of words and you better not come unarmed. My role is just to keep the “superbutt’s” to a minimum. The fact that she can string together a sentence without needing to use a vulgar word puts her above 98% of her peers at this point and to keep it that way I’m fully prepared with a bar of soap.