A few months back my daughter dropped a bomb shell that shocked the wits out of us. She was trying to stuff something inside a small box and it kept falling down. In the peak of frustration she muttered ..sh*t….There was pin drop silence in the room.Me and my husband looked at each other, our eyes wide open.
My daughter, who was barely three at that time, had just acquired the skill of speech. Her whole vocabulary could not have been more than a few words …and then she mutters a four letter word…what does it tell about her upbringing…!
Where could she have learnt it? We both started heated discussions, (and of course a small blame game)…deep down I knew it could have been from me, I sometimes use that word even after all the conscious effort I put into avoiding it!
Or she could have heard it from any of the movies that she had ‘co-watched’ with her father…else she could have learnt it from the older kids she play with or she could have even picked it up at her day care…The last two options were the most comforting ones as it allowed us to dodge the guilt..
We then jumped into action. We confronted her and tried to explain that it was a ‘BAD’ word. I told her what it meant( thank god she did not pick up unexplainable obscene words)..She nodded vigorously and told that she would not use it further.
She did use it once or twice after that.But as soon as she uttered the words ,she would look at us, smile nervously and say sorry. I did secretly confess to her teacher about the incident as I was a little worried that she might use it in the class.What if she brings home a note which says ‘your child uses bad language’ or something.Parenting, I feel, is always subjected to judgement from random people. And I was perhaps a little too concerned about my image as a mother 🙂 !
But I did not have to worry for long, for she wisely stop using the word. The ordeal soon repeated for another word -stupid, but my girl was happy to acknowledge the fact that it was a bad word and it should not be used, once a logical explanation was given. When I told her that these words have bad meaning or they might offend (of course, I used a detailed explanation with examples) people if used, she understood.
Or so I thought. Lately, she has started compiling her own list of BAD words. The other day, when she asked if she could have a cookie I said ‘NO’. She looks at me seriously and says ‘Amma, don’t say NO, because it is a bad word’. I asked her why and she says,’You said words which make other people sad are BAD. I feel sad when you said NO’
So her list of bad words have expanded to include NO,DON’T,SLEEP,EAT(if it involves anything other than junk food, my daughter loves junk food 😦 ).
Yeah, she no longer uses those dreaded ‘real bad words’ . But now, I am left with a little less number of words to deal with.