Thursday, October 9, 2008

All Pooh, All the Time

I think that every family has things that are very important to them; things that you take a stand on every time. Seat belts, for instance, are a huge deal around here; my very small 8 year old will probably be in a booster seat until High School at the rate she's growing. But what is very important to one family may not be important to others.

I'm thinking about this today because of a recent encounter with another parent at Princess's school. This mother cornered Zman at pick-up time very concerned about a conversation she had with our daughter. She had been helping out in the classroom and talking with Princess about another student's antics and Princess had said "Yeah, he's being a real smart-ass."

She blinked a Zman expectantly and his response was "and...?" which is exactly what I would have said. You see, swearing is NOT a big deal in our house. We talk with our kids about the appropriate language to use in public and polite conversation, we emphasize the importance of never calling people names, four letter or otherwise, and then we let it go. That's not to say that we are all swearing like sailors around here, in fact we rarely hear any of the BIG no-no's, just the occasional dropped-something-heavy-on-my-toe expletives. I think that because Zman and I don't use swear words much, it's not something the kids are going say until they hit the swearing-is-cool high school years.

Princess has recently become much more creative with her expletives. Pooh! Is the one hear a lot right now, mostly when we ask her to do something she doesn’t want to. She did hit new heights last night with “Pooh, Pooh, McPoohson the 3rd” (that one had me biting the inside of my cheek and trying not to laugh) so it’s not all four letter words all the time around here.

What do you think? Is my kid destined for juvy because she referred to a class mate a smart-ass or will she turn out relatively normal in the long run? Where do you draw the “bad word” line?


Debbie B said...

We don't swear much so for me it would be an issue. But given your family dynamics I would have to say what she said is not a big deal at all.

Maggie said...

I have a terrible mouth. Only when I'm angry... but it's still pretty terrible. When Slugger catches me doing it, he corrects me. :-)

paige said...

You're giving her cigarettes too, aren't you. Cursing and nicotine--a powerful combo guaranteed to increase SAT scores.

Damn it, I curse all the time. My children may likely follow suit, although for now I ask for prudence in usage.

Anne said...

I guess I've made a subconscious pact with myself to try to cut down on swearing in front of the kids. Hayat now says "oh, darn it" and "goodness gracious!" which is actually kind of embarrassing. It makes me feel like I'm sitting around all day ironing doilies and clutching my pearls.

Bizarrely, Isa thinks nothing of saying "Oh, sh*t!" or similar at home like I do when I get a nasty surprise, but she asks permission to say the words she considers the worst in the world, "stupid" and "shut up", when she's quoting some dramatic dialogue on the school playground.

My feeling is that "smart ass" is not a problem. I would watch out for "heck", though. I've learned that it's a gateway curse that inevitably leads to stronger disparagements. ;)

Maria and Family said...

Well he probably WAS being a smart-a** :) I do swear.. more then I should, usually when mad..but I do tell my kids it isnt allowed for them (atleast at this point) When they are old enough to understand when it is ok and not ok I may bend a bit...So far we havent had any issues. I do think your daughter will be fine :)We DID have an issue once when Bug was 3, a lady in a store told her how pretty she was, and Bug turned to me and said "that nice fat lady said I was pretty!" all proud ! Yes I almost we took FAT out of our vocabulary to avoid another mistake . Live and learn :) Maria

Elle said...

We are big supporters of responsible cursing around here. We all know how wonderful my language choices can be. That being said the boy corrects my shits and craps all the time with, "Mommy, we don't say shit, we say crap."