What To Do When Your Kids Say Bad Words
I had a hard time accepting the reality today that my oldest child just learned to say a bad word. As a parent, I know in my heart that in the next few years, my precious child will encounter and will want to say a few more bad words. This is something I have no control over, but it is something I can only hope to curb. Nip it in the bud early, so they say.
Today, my beautiful six-year-old wanted more play time than was allowed. The nanny had to force her to come home for lunch. That was when my seemingly angelic-faced, innocent-looking little doll spat out the word, “bitch!” She said the word with as much strength as her little body could muster, directing it at her nanny. I wasn’t there to hear her say it. Which I think is a good thing because God knows what I would have done in the heat of the moment. I only heard a good portion of the story from the nanny herself, who got inside the house looking worn out and hurt. The little rascal went home just a few more minutes after her nanny did looking like all was well and good in the world.
I was still reeling from the shock of knowing how such a gentle soul could say something so crushing and hurtful. So the moment she got inside the house, I immediately pulled her to a corner, shooting dagger looks at her. Thankfully I was able to force myself to calm down a little bit before starting the word war with her. It didn’t go well, at first. But I’m glad to say that we were able to settle it like two mature, grown women. Here’s what I did:
- Counting 1 – 10 before talking to the child.
It was mid-morning, the sun was hot outside and it was humid inside the house. Sweat was plastered all over me from tinkering around the house and I was halfway to exhaustion. I knew I wasn’t in the right state of mind then and had to remind myself that I was the adult and about five times the age of my daughter. So I gathered my wits about me and started counting from 1 to 10. This way, I didn’t come on too strong to her and sounded calm but firm.
So I then asked her about why it took her longer than was allowed to get home and found a way to ask about what happened. This I did with as much patience as possible despite the fact that I was ready to burst out and bomb her with unnecessary words. She confessed to the crime right away.
- Allow your child to explain.
When asked about why she said what she said, the little girl was clearly already scared out of her wits. The child knew what was coming but she used the chance I gave her to explain why what happened, happened. It was heartbreaking to hear her tiny voice squeak with fear but I’m mighty proud of how she handled herself. She reasoned that she’s been trying so hard to avoid saying bad words every time she felt like saying them but that this time she just couldn’t help herself. She then promised to do better next time.
So then when it was my turn to talk, I told her that she is the most important thing in the world to me. I then added that as her mom, I didn’t want her to go to the dark side. Saying a bad word is a sure way to go there, I told her. This mama then went on about how she wasn’t her mistake. And that it was okay to make mistakes as long as one learns from it and never does it again.
- Show her love.
She was crying by this time. I was just about to let all my guards down to let her know it was all okay. Except that it wasn’t all okay. I hugged her tightly, letting her know what she did didn’t change the fact that she’s loved. I showered her with kisses, letting her know that I was proud of her for owning up to her mistakes. And then I asked to say sorry to whoever she hurt by saying a bad word.
It was a difficult conversation but one that needed to be done. I am an advocate of being honest, outright and straight. I am also not a fan of people who resort to saying bad words when put in difficult situations. So I try my very best to pass this on to my daughter. It is my hope that those who will find my article will have learned a few things from me.