Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A session of Swear Therapy

Me and my perfect angels.
I am sure that this post won’t win me “Mother of the Year” award. Not that I am ever in the running for that. I’m more of a realist in that area. I know my weaknesses, just as an athlete does. I know my strengths, as well. I think I raise my daughters with a strong sense of reality. This is what life “is” – it’s not always what we wish it to be, but it is, what it is.

I was putting the girls to bed the other night and they were telling me about their days. They were both frustrated about how situations in their little lives had been handled. Disagreements with friends. Your run of the mill, little girl drama. Those of you with girls know exactly what I am talking about. Well, they were both feeling like things had been “said” that weren’t right. I asked, of course, “What kind of things?” Then they told me that some of the kids swear when they are angry. I said, “But you never do, right?” My little angels told me with the most innocent faces that, “No,” they do not use these words.

I didn’t know quite how to reply. I mean, in all honesty, I do use profanity from time to time. I am not necessarily proud of this. So I sincerely want to believe they don’t say these “bad” words. I really do. I also like to think I’ve tried very hard to teach them the difference between what adults can do and what kids can do. That just because you see or hear an adult do something – it doesn’t make it right for them. I guess the words I am looking for are that I am trying to teach my kids “age appropriate behavior.”

Okay, I am sure none of your kids ever swear. Of course they don’t. Not yours. But some kids do. Even if they never hear you do it. Even if you’ve been dang near perfect . . . anyway. Let me tell you. . . Your kids hear the words. They do. Their “friends say them.” I will reiterate “their friends” say them, because, as I have said, we want to believe, desperately, that ours never do. Right? Yep. Of course. They never say bad words. They are never mean, or hit others, either. We love to tell ourselves that. Then let’s tell ourselves that we can control what they hear on the playground, or anywhere else for that matter. But come on.  Wouldn't we be self-delusional to believe our kids are perfect? So, I’m not going to say that your kids have never heard bad words from my girls. But after last night, I am thinking that they don’t come from their mouths as often as I would have thought.

So anyway, I was putting the girls to bed the other night. And they were telling me how many “swear” words” they wanted to say during their day. I took the bait; I said, “Like what word?” They both looked at me with wide eyes. They told me that they couldn’t say what they wanted to. Of course I had to know what exactly they wanted to say. I won’t lie, I was a bit scared. But I wanted to know, so I said, “Say it out loud. Say what you want to say -- anything but the “F” word.” I know, I’m conservative, right?

“What do you want to say Sophia,” I asked? “Ass.” Just “ass” was what she said. That’s it. Followed up by a meek little “Damn it.”

Then Stella. Oh, Stella. She, however . . . well, she is a bit more aggressive in nature. It was her turn. I waited, in anticipation to see what my baby girl had to say. What taboo word would she say very quietly?


WOW. It wasn’t meek. And it sure wasn’t quiet! It was like she needed to say it. And she said it loud!

Afterwards, while I was still a bit shell-shocked from her ferocity, she explained, rather simply, “If I was allowed to say ‘bitch,’ I’d say it all of the time.” Apparently, Stella encounters a lot of “bitches” in her eight year old world. I cannot vouch for this fact, but she is rather certain.

So I was telling my dear friend, Elizabeth, this funny story. And she said, “Wait, the girls told me about this!” They are close to Elizabeth and their family, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that apparently, I am not that original in my plan to let them say all the “taboo” words in order to “clear the air,” so to speak. To make them not such a big deal, while letting them know that they are still not, without a doubt, appropriate to use in any situation. No matter how angry, or frustrated, or even in response to another friend using these words. I cracked up when Elizabeth said that both of her children really wanted to say “Son of a Bitch” – one of her favorites. We shared a conspiratory laugh.

Because guess what? Our children are not potty mouths in the neighborhood. I guess I should preface that bold statement with “not yet,” however.

So if you ever hear my children utter a swear word, even under their breaths, please let me know. Parenting is a long, educational process. I’ll keep trying to perfect my skills. Will I stop letting a swear word, or two, slip? No. Some of you know me really well, so if I said otherwise, you’d call “bullshit” on that statement! I will still be the girl I am. The girl who shouldn’t say the things she does. My mother does not love this about me. She does not support my bad language in any way shape, or form, I might add. She likes to blame CrossFit culture. I told her that I wish I could blame that, and a lot of things on CrossFit, but unfortunately, I can’t.

But I can promise to encourage the use of positive language, whenever possible. Which is almost always? No, always, I guess. I can encourage it ALWAYS. I will encourage my girls to be better than their mother. I can add that to a long list of things I would like my girls to be better at, than I have been.

Parenting. It’s a “bleeping” tough job.

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