A Rose By Any Another Name… Well, Almost Any Other Name

May 10, 2010

I suppose that the following conversation with Emilia was inevitable. I just didn’t expect to have it when she was four.

Emilia, having spilled some juice down her shirt: “oh, f***.”

Me: “Emilia Elizabeth Ann! What did you just say?

Emilia: “I said, oh f***.”

Me: “Emilia, that’s not a nice word. You mustn’t say it, ever.”

Emilia: “Why is it not nice?”

Me: “It’s just not. Lots of people don’t like to hear it. So you mustn’t say it.”

Emilia: “Never?”

Me: “Not while you’re a little girl.”

Emilia: “Not all bad words are always bad to say. ‘Stupid’ isn’t always bad to say.”

Me: “Well, maybe… but that other word isn’t like that.”

Emilia: “What is it like?”

Me: “It’s just a word that little girls shouldn’t say, because it’s not nice to say.”

Emilia: “What if someone’s name is F***?”

Me: ——

Emilia: “Because if someone’s name is F***, it wouldn’t be nice for me NOT to call them their name.”

Me: “Nobody has that name.”

Emilia: “How do you know?”

Me: “I just know.”

Emilia: “What if you’re wrong?”

Me: “I’m not wrong.”

Emilia: “How about, if you are wrong, and I meet someone named F***, I can call them that?”

Me: “Well, honey…”

Emilia: “Because that just makes SENSE.”

Somehow, in the end, she got me to agree that, if she did meet someone whose proper name was, in fact, ‘F***’, and was able to ascertain that ‘F***’ wasn’t just something that other people were calling that person (“but if people call someone that, isn’t that their name?”), and was certain that that person really did want to be called ‘F***’, then she could, in fact, utter the forbidden word with a clear conscience.

I don’t know if I handled that conversation the right way – I don’t know if there was a right way to handle to handle that conversation – but I do know this: if a four year old can argue me down to agreeing to let her curse under certain precise circumstances? I’m f***ed.

How do you handle this? When and if the curses come out, what do you say? How do you explain that some words just shouldn’t be spoken – by children, or by anyone, however you break that stuff down? (And no, she didn’t hear it from us. I don’t think.) What if she DOES meet someone named F***? WHY IS THIS STUFF NOT IN THE OPERATING MANUAL? F***.

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    katie | motherbumper May 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

    You just wait until she changes the argument to ‘but mom, I’m just saying ‘seal’ en Francais’. They you most definitely are f***ed.
    .-= katie | motherbumper´s last blog ..There Are Some Things About Adulthood That Really Suck. =-.

    Laura (Nahbee) May 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I don’t know how you deal with this, but I laughed my f***ing a** off at it. :snicker:

    Also, I am so glad that my 4 year old is not the only one out there having conversations like this and arguing me down to ridiculous things.

    IzzyMom May 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I tell my kids certain words are only for grown-ups and that when they are grown up they can say them as much as they want but until then, I don’t want to hear them coming out of their mouths. I may have said something about kid jail once. Jokingly. Sort of.
    .-= IzzyMom´s last blog ..Gawd Mom, That’s SO Dumb =-.

    Erin May 10, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I think you handled it fine, and also you’ve raised a daughter who won’t let anyone push her around.

    My favourite conversation around swearing have taken place with my now 13 year old son. The first one was when he was 7 or 8 and asked me what sh– meant and I told him it meant poo. His response was “THAT IS IT?!?! I thought it meant something really bad!” and the second? At one point his sister, who is 3 years older, was trying to retaliate for something, and tattled on him for swearing when he was with his friends. He would have been 11 or 12 at the time. He stood there expecting a big lecture and I turned to him and said ” don’t swear when your sister is around, she is offended by it, and watch for little old ladies too.”

    I thought I was funny.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Mom’s Day =-.

    cagey (Kelli Oliver George) May 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

    In college, I knew a guy named Fakhar (pronounced fahk-er). No joke. It was so bad that seriously, we told him “DUDE – CHANGE YOUR NAME.” I also know a little boy whose name was Parikshit, but his parents had the good sense to chop the “shit” when they emigrated to America. Also, knew a gal named Nigar who changed her name to “nina”. Ah, the list goes on (Are you sorry asked, Catherine??)

    I have a Semantics Stance of “know your audience”. When my kid says inappropriate things that are not allowed at school (I guess “hate” and “stupid” are inappropriate words now. sigh) I just point out to my kid that hey, you can use those words at home with me, but don’t use them at school.

    Because really, is that not life? Don’t we all have to mind our Ps and Qs according to where we are? You can say this HERE, but not THERE.

    And yes, I tell my kid to not drop f-bombs. He just has yet to call me out on my hypocrisy.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I’m not sorry I asked. At least I know, now, to brace myself for the very real possibility that she’s going to come back to me with evidence that those names do exist.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Also: the social appropriateness thing, and the context thing, are key, you’re right. We’ve had lots of in-depth discussions about words like stupid and hate, which are not necessarily bad in themselves, but bad when used in certain ways. It seems, though, that my early lessons on semantics are reaping discussions like the one I related above. Which isn’t a bad thing. Just, you know, COMPLICATED.

    Hi, I'm Natalie. May 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

    lol. I am very, very glad that my daughter can’t speak yet. (But with her personality, I’m betting “fuck” is going to be the least innocuous of her verbal bad habits… That kid is her mother. *deep sigh*)
    .-= Hi, I’m Natalie.´s last blog ..Parenthood Problems =-.

    AnnOnandOn May 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

    That was too funny….you did a great job. And, if I ever meet someone named F*** I’ll let you know how I handled it. :D

    Crystal May 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I found that with my boys, explaining that there are no such thing as “bad words” but there are words that are “socially unacceptable” for children to use and that others find them offensive and inappropriate. Most of these words have completely different meanings and origins than their current uses in the American vernacular.

    If one of them hears a word from a peer, and asks me what it means, I have them look it up in the dictionary. Nothing deflates a foul-mouth child faster than an educated one that informs them that it is scientifically IMPOSSIBLE for a human male boy to also be a “female canine”. :D

    IF however, my kids feel the need to use a colorful expletive, they are encouraged to come up with something creative and original. My 8yo, for example, stubbed his toe the other day and all I heard was “monkey boogers and bologna”. :D

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

    yes, yes – I think that’s important, as I said to Cagey, above – social acceptability is the key thing. I hung myself on my own explanation when I said that f*** was ‘just bad’ because then I couldn’t explain to E why, or what I meant by that. Because, no, words aren’t inherently bad or good. Except for maybe chocolate. That’s an inherently awesome word.

    Linda May 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I knew of someone called Phuc… so, yes, it can happen.

    When my daughter first said f—ing, we ignored it. I don’t think she ever said it again. Now, at six, she chastises us for bad language.

    Shannon May 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

    My hubby and I are trying to take the approach that some words and phrases are for grown ups to use. I don’t really want to teach my kids that curses are never to be used because I believe that there are some times and circumstances when a well-placed f*** is appropriate. But kids aren’t old enough to know when is appropriate. So we try and explain what the word or phrase means and why it can be offensive and we have tried to say that it is a grown up word and when you are grown up you get to decide if you want to use it. So far it has worked. But I realize things will be different when they are a bit older. :) My goal is to teach them to think about language and what comes out of their mouth. I guess only time will tell if it works.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..A Child Like You =-.

    Jennifer Martin May 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I LMFAO!!

    Mandi Bone May 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

    We teach our daughters that there are no bad words just bad places to say those words.We teach what words could hurt. We have a strict you may never say the R word, the N word, or words that could hurt. Examples: you are stupid, you are gay. But they can say swear words at home.
    .-= Mandi Bone´s last blog ..A happy post =-.

    C May 11, 2010 at 3:40 am

    @Mandi Bone, So glad to see we’re not the only ones who have that stance!
    .-= C´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day =-.

    Shannon May 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    @Mandi Bone, Not to sound like an idiot – perhaps I’m just overtired and therefore struck stupid? But what is the R word?

    Mandi Bone May 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm


    Shannon May 16, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    @Mandi Bone, Ahhh. Yes, I must be overtired. Thank you. So far, my kids haven’t heard that one yet, for which I am grateful….

    Minnie May 10, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Mine are teens now, so it’s less of an issue, but I had to comment just to thank you for the laugh.
    .-= Minnie´s last blog ..7:43 =-.

    Linda May 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

    We labeled curse words as Daddy words. (I rarely cuss. I can still feel my mother’s disapproving glare.) We also talked about words that were outlawed at school and whether he could use them elsewhere.

    My husband was afraid that he’d get his ass kicked on the playground for saying “Gracious!” when things didn’t go his way. But everybody is trying to curtail the cussing so I guess he hasn’t stood out.

    I have to tell you that it did my heart proud to hear my three year old use the F-word correctly grammar-wise. How awesome is it that he understood the rules of language that early?

    Kat May 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I remember my then-five year-old daughter saying “Mommy I SWEAR to you it’s true!” and emphatically waving her middle finger at me. After I recovered from my fit of laughter, I ascertained that a school chum had told her that was her “swear finger” – she just didn’t know the other meaning of swear!

    Since then, my kids have grown up a bit and are more and more exposed to and tempted by swear words and also just using words to hurt each other and other kids. A favourite pejorative is “you’re a poo-splotch”. Not exactly swearing, but just as hurtful as being called “a shit”.

    My rule is that words should never be used to hurt someone, because they can be very powerful things, but I also caution my kids that while *I* know they are sweet, kind, intelligent and lovely creatures, other people will have less experience to go on when forming their opinions of them. Certain word choices may lead others to think that they are less intelligent or kind than they actually are or that their parents don’t care enough about them to correct their swearing.

    And then I remind them that we have an incredible wealth of words in English, so why not make a better choice than poo-splotch, retard, ass, shit, fuck, etc.

    And yes, four year-olds are especially talented at reducing arguments ad absurdum!
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Mother’s Day Sucks and My New Prosthetic =-.

    Adelas May 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks Kat!! My vote for best answer. I love (and second) the points that “certain word choices may…” and “we have a…wealth”.

    I’ll admit it, I curse like a sailor, and I think I may have caught the 2 year old copying me. Oops.

    I’m trying to stop, not because I believe there is anything inherently wrong with curse words, but because the society around me has an unspoken (?) agreement about the level of aggressiveness and offense-intent that particular words convey. For instance, c*** above coochie above privates. C*** above d*** above wiener. And at the (society-determined) gentler end, damn above darn above dang above “ARGH”!

    But like Kat pointed out, is there any difference in the intent? I think the answer is no. If I shout out SHOOT or ARGH or DAGNABBIT, I’m venting the same level of frustration as when I use the more offensive words. Is it really any better to call someone a jerk instead of an a**, d*** or b****? My mom, who is particularly sensitive to societal norms, would probably say yes. I disagree; however, when I do just HAVE to vent in public, I generally choose to use the societally approved words, indicating to everyone within earshot that I choose to abide by societal rules as much as I can stand.

    Two final notes, though: I find myself using the “worst” words with the deliberate intent of expressing just how angry or disgusted I am. My husband and I started doing this in private, telling ourselves we could each “take it” and give each other a place to really “let it all out.” However, this has caused two problems:

    1) You do it enough, it becomes a habit, and is very hard to turn off. It used to be I would only let those words slip in private. Now I’ve caught myself doing it in front of my (ultraconservative) mom…. and my boss… letting the words slip before I realize they’re on my lips.

    2) Those words have lost their special sting. I don’t save them just for special occasions, but every time I’m venting to my husband now. There isn’t a set of words strong enough to convey absolute fury or disgust, because the worst words I can think of are my everyday angry words. Sometimes he has missed the amount of rage, horror, or frustration coming from me because “you call me an a**hole half the time when you’re joking – I didn’t realize you were THAT mad.”

    So, user beware. Just another to keep your kids from starting the swearing habit, at least until they’re mostly grown and can REALLY judge whether it’s appropriate to be offensive.
    .-= Adelas´s last blog ..Wordless Thursday =-.

    Leandra May 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

    LOL! I think you have a little lawyer on your hands. Oddly enough, I work with a woman whose last name is Fuchs. Of course they pronounce it “Fox.” Yeah, right. Either way, I would HATE to be their kids.
    .-= Leandra´s last blog ..How Did I Get Here? =-.

    Doc Horton May 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    In the words of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons:
    Funniest. Post. Ever.
    .-= Doc Horton´s last blog ..SLUDGE GUMP =-.

    Must Be Motherhood May 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

    We’ve been sending our 3yr old to his room where he can “say anything he wants when he’s alone” for using the F word (thanks, Daddy!) for a YEAR now. If he uses it, he’s automatically sent away from the rest of us because “no one wants to hear that word b/c it’s not nice.”

    This has kind of worked. Although now he taunts his father by saying other words that begin with “f”: “F. F. F-o-x” and also mouthing “F’ing bullsh*t” rather than saying it aloud.

    Sigh. Clever little buggers.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I feel a little better now.

    daysgoby May 10, 2010 at 11:31 am


    You FOUND your manual???

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 11:56 am

    yeah, but it’s not very good. kind of like an Ikea manual, with stupid pictures.

    Sierra Black May 10, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I just about fell over laughing. This totally reminds me the time my firstborn was just on the cusp of learning to talk and overheard Mommy’s potty-mouthed conversation with Daddy about a coworker behaving badly. Ten minutes later, from the backseat of the car, comes this sweet little toddler singsong voice “Suck it bitch…” OUCH.

    Marsha May 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

    We swear, at home. We have a rule with our 3 yr old: you can pick your nose at home, and if you must swear (we don’t encourage it, and she does it rarely), only at home and never ever ever can you swear to someone, ie it does not get used to hurt someone directly. She does try to pick her nose outside the house and we ask her not to. She hasn’t tried to swear outside the house, but when she does we’ll explain in more detail (hoping she’s older and gets the nuance a little better) that it can be offensive for other people and we need to respect shared space.
    .-= Marsha´s last blog .. =-.

    Peggy Brister May 10, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I have never had to have a conversation like that with my kids. I am surprised I haven’t because I cuss. I cuss alot. I try not to cuss, but it is just who I am. My mom cussed, I cuss, and they probably will grow up to be cussers. They did ask me how old you have to be before you can cuss. I told them you have be 21 to cuss or when you can pay your own rent in your own house then you can cuss a little bit but not out in public, only to your friends when you are on the phone.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I would never look askance at anyone who cusses. I certainly cuss (although I curb it in front of the kids), as does my husband (emilia has, in the past, shouted ‘JESUS!’ when she’s dropped something because that’s what Daddy does.)

    Peggy Brister May 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

    OH and I know I will probably be nominated for mother of the year so ya’ll don’t be disappointed when you all don’t get it. My use of the F word is what won it for me! Don’t be jealous!

    Keli Maye May 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    My son was a late talker, so we went on swearing like sailors in front of him until he was a bit over two and, along with a torrent of other words and phrases, “oh sh*t” took up residence in his vocabulary. Ignoring it and watching our own tongues has mostly worked, but lately he has started to say “d*mn.” Since he’s a lot more reasonable now (he’s almost 3), I have been emphasizing that while Mama and Papa don’t mind if he says that word, a lot of other people find it upsetting. My feeling is that any language that isn’t cruel or hateful is fine at home; in the wider world, though, he’d better add “no swears” to the list of prohibitions!

    Lona May 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have a socially questionable mouth at times, but I never really paid much attention to it until one day my son knocked over some toys he was stacking, and uttered, ever so nonchalantly, “Son. Of. A. Bitch!”

    We had a serious talk about how some words are words adults can use, simply because they know when it is appropriate. Of course, my son wanted his own adult words, so there are mild words (like fart (BOYS)) that he can say in the confines of my house but not other places.

    Of course, about six months ago, he asked me when he was a grown up, if he could call people “assholes” when he was driving, and I said, “Sure, son, you definitely can! But it’s gonna be a long time until you start driving, so you better use different words in the meantime.”

    Which is to say, that I have about 12 years before my son’s vocabulary takes a nosedive into the foul. Oh well.
    .-= Lona´s last blog ..Monday Minute for Miss Monkey =-.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I can’t hear SON OF A BITCH without thinking of Sawyer from Lost. I would laugh, uncontrollably.

    Steph May 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I kind of had a similar situation on Friday except she DID hear it from me. My husband has a mouth only a sailor could appreciate and I am constantly reminding him to watch his mouth. However it’s rubbed off on me some so I have to be REALLY careful. I tend to be less careful on the phone for some reason. I’m really good around the house but I get on the phone and words slip. Friday I was on the phone with my mom and I slipped and my lovely daughter picked it up and just RAN with it. So we had a long conversation about how those words are NOT “kid appropriate”. The only difference between your conversation and mine is that mine ended with “because I said so” and “I’m a mom, I know EVERYTHING”. At least you didn’t get frustrated and resort to bad cliches!
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day =-.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I just don’t tell you guys when I resort to the bad cliches.

    Carrie May 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Well, hopfully she will never meet one of the applicants where I work. He is Asian and his name is literally “Fuc Yu”

    I dread ever having to speak to this person or address him by name…
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day! =-.

    Poppy May 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    we do not teach the concept of bad words. there is no such thing. we teach that some words are used mostly to hurt others and some words make you sound and look slovenly. so it’s very important to choose carefully where and when you speak. all words should be chosen with care. even 4 year olds understand this.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    This, though, is where this particular case gets confusing – Emilia wasn’t using the word to hurt someone; it wasn’t directed toward anyone, it was just *uttered*… so the ‘words that hurt’ argument doesn’t apply. So I was left to explain why, exactly, there was something not nice about the word, given that it wasn’t used hurtfully, and had to resort to ‘because it is.’ Trying to explain why a word *sounds* bad is no less difficult than explaining why it’s just bad.

    Bryony Boxer May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I think I would have handled it just like you did… including the “OK if it’s the person’s proper name you can use it.” :)

    red pen mama May 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry. That was HILARIOUS though. Dear me. You are in big trouble with that one.

    *wipes tears from eyes*

    My strategy in this case is to explain that there are adult words. As in words that I better not hear you ever say, until you are an adult, and that means in this context 20 years old. We haven’t run into f*** yet (I struggle not to say at home; mileage varies), but we’ve had this discussion regarding d**n (you can’t say dam unless you’re talking about beavers) and also Jesus, as in taking the Lord’s name in vain, which I do far more often than I say f***.

    That’s all I got. Mine haven’t come up with the idea that someone’s name could be f*** or d**n or, for that matter, Jesus.
    .-= red pen mama´s last blog ..To My Mom, On Mom’s Day =-.

    Violet May 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, timely! My daughter, who’s four, was kicking the ball around with me yesterday, and missed. And said “oh Da**!” and fell down laughing. I had to tell her not to use that word, it isn’t a nice word. It didn’t go well, she thought I was mad and she was in trouble, which I wasn’t – I just don’t want my sweet baby girl cussing people out! Especially after I’ve worked so hard to stop cursing in front of her (an enormous task!)

    Ali May 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I know my almost five year old would not be able to keep a check on you can do X here, but not there so he would not be allowed to swear. He’s never sworn, the only thing I’ve had to stop him saying is “oh my God!” but that’s mainly because he goes to Catholic school. I’m not sure they’d approve of blasphemy.

    It’s funny how many people on here are ‘you can swear at home but not in public!’ because I was absolutely not allowed to swear at home, and even at 27 I wouldn’t dare say anything strong than bloody or bugger in front of my dad. At school, when I was a teenager, I had the foulest mouth of anyone I knew.

    Annie May 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    In our house, these are called “Daddy words” and he will be able to say them when he is a grown up. Like Daddy. So far, so good.

    Maureen@IslandRoar May 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Oh boy, are you in trouble. She’s good!
    I’d start saving for law school now.
    .-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..Space Monkeys? =-.

    Jeff Leiper May 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Oh wow, touched a nerve. Absolutely on the page of those who figure there are no “bad” words, and that there’s no such thing as words for adults and children. There are words that are inappropriate for a situation because they give offense, and people need to be considerate of each other, but the idea that there is a category of words that can be considered “bad” is just dangerous. It’s unthinking, arbitrary, and demonstrates a mistrust in our kids that they’ll pick up on from an early age. I don’t get worked up much about parenting, but one thing that drives me a little nuts is when we don’t recognize that our kids from birth are hard-wired to understand language as a way to relate to each other and the world. When we start shutting doors to something they’re born knowing how to do, maybe to avoid “uncomfortable” conversations, I shudder to think about the opportunities we’re losing. Frankly, language is the key to trusting our kids – entrusting them with the power to think and express themselves is critical if we’re to avoid raising unthinking, dependent automatons.

    Her Bad Mother May 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Which is why I’m always willing to let her argue her points and if I can’t come up with good responses, then so be it.

    That said, I’m not ready to be the mom whose kid teaches all the other junior kindergartners to say FUCK when they botch tying their shoelaces.

    Mrs. Flinger May 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    She will make a brilliant lawyer one day. ;)
    .-= Mrs. Flinger´s last blog ..Seattle Children’s Museum 50% off membership deal =-.

    Catherine May 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    This is my fear.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Because Partying With Chipmunks And Princesses Is EXHAUSTING =-.

    briya May 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I know a doctor who’s last name is FUCH (pronounced fyuck) but without fail whenever a new patient would call they would call him Dr. F***. LMAO.
    .-= briya´s last blog ..My Weekend (In Pictures) =-.

    Amy May 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Great story…sounds like we should pit your daughter against my son in a swear off. Or an argument using good old-fashioned logic. He claims to have learned both skills from me. You win some, you lose some. And agreed, I don’t want my son running around his religious preschool yelling, “Damn!” like he did at home last night. Not sure how to explain to a 4yo why this might be offensive to the pastor.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..A Different Kind of Mother’s Day =-.

    Ariel May 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I’m a bad mom. I laugh like hell and then tell her that’s a home word. But she’s never dropped one at school, so I guess it works.

    J from Ireland May 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Its known that we Irish swear a lot, so my kids have heard many many people swearing. They know that its what some grown ups do. They know that when they are older they can say what they like but not as children.
    I love a good curse myself, sure in Ireland we have more swear words than anywhere else!!
    I think your daughter is hilarious and very clever!!
    .-= J from Ireland´s last blog ..Ireland is in mourning. =-.

    Denise May 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    First, I think kids swearing is delightfully naughty AND hilarious.

    I am not a big swearer, but both of my girls’ first curses came in a situation in which they repeated a word I had just uttered in a moment of frustration. Both times I had to stifle the giggles to explain to them that I should not have said that word in front of them and they shouldn’t say it either. It hasn’t been a problem. Yet. When I slip and say one, I just acknowledge that that word was a bad choice for the situation. By doing so, I hope that I am demonstrating that we should take responsibility for the words we use.
    .-= Denise´s last blog ..Facebook and iPhone may be the death of this blog. =-.

    Amy May 10, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I knew a kid named Phuc. He was from Vietnam, so it wasn’t supposed to be pronounced like the f word, but that’s how all the lily-white suburban Pennsylvania kids said it. If I remember correctly, it was actually pronounced “puke”, which isn’t much better.

    Deb May 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    F***ing hilarious. We teach our kids to avoid bad words, but we are also total believers in giving them credit when they find loopholes in our rules. It hasn’t happened with swearing yet, but I respect your daughter’s logic. I’m thinking if she meets someone named F***, you should be thankful your daughter is awesome enough to attract interesting friends. But maybe stay away from the parents. They sound like bitter, hateful people.

    Amanda May 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I have to say that was an amazing post! I think that kids don’t grasp the concept of bad words, and some times adults just laugh when kids say them instead of trying to correct them.

    I agree with one of the above comments that said you should tell them there are certain words that only grown ups should say….but then when she said what if someone is named F*** I couldn’t help but laugh!

    Edwin Perello May 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Fudge. The word is fudge. Not f**k.

    And I’ve personally known people named Phuk and it was quite uncomfortable.

    Her Bad Mother May 12, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I’ve always found ‘fudge’ a little more disturbing as a cuss.

    Grumble Girl May 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Oh, wow… she’s too smart. I hate to break it to you, but you’re in a whack of trouble, lady. Heh.
    .-= Grumble Girl´s last blog ..My Littlest Little =-.

    kittenpie May 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    It’s not uncommon to meet vietnamese people with the name Phuc, though… (I also once met one with the full name Yu Phat Ho – not a word of a lie.)

    Fortunately, ours is still telling me that “shut up,” “stupid,” “hate,” and “what the heck” are bad words. Hilariously, she doesn’t seem to get that “what the hell” is an issue. Heh.

    But I think that saying that they are words that should be used only when you are old enough to understand what the word means, its full impact, and the circumstances under which it may be or not be appropriate makes sense. i mean, we tell them about adult drinks, right? so maybe those are adult words?
    .-= kittenpie´s last blog ..I *promise* this won’t become The Bun’s Sleep Log Blog, but… =-.

    Her Bad Mother May 12, 2010 at 8:21 am

    We have long discussions about ‘stupid’ and ‘hate’, etc, which make more sense to her, because they can more obviously provoke hurt. ‘F***’ is a little more vague. Unless, of course, it’s someone’s name.

    Andrea May 10, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    When the curse words have come out of my children, what do I do? I blush… cos I know exactly where they got them!!

    F*** isn’t exactly a word that kids make up, ya know? And it’s not a word that they hear one time & then forever repeat. They gotta hear it more than once in order for it to stick… and for them to repeat it.

    So blush, mommy… just get it over with! :-D

    Love~ Andrea

    Jessica May 11, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Excellent. Most excellent.

    When my sister was about three, she was watching my father change the oil in our car and he jammed his finger which resulted in a lound and resounding “Shit.”

    To which my sister responded: “Daddy, shit’s a bad word. You really shouldn’t say shit. Mommy doesn’t say shit, Jessica doesn’t say shit, Grandma and Grandpa don’t say shit. You know why? Because shit’s a bad word…” and on and on and on.

    The family is waiting for my daughter to come up with something to rival the litany of shit because we all know it’s just a matter of time…
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls — A Review =-.

    Her Bad Mother May 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

    “Mommy doesn’t say shit.” I would totally get that on a t-shirt. And not wear it around the kids, of course, but still.

    kayak woman May 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

    That was a hilarious conversation and I think you handled it very well. I don’t remember exactly how I handled this issue with my daughters (who are now 20-something) except that it was never a big issue. One summer, when my younger one was about seven, she decided to “fine” everyone a dollar each time they swore. I think my brother ended up owing about $400.

    Her Bad Mother May 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

    That’s awesome. Who got to keep the money?

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