Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saying the Bad Words

We don't let the girls say certain words.  At this age, the big two on the list are hate and stupid.  It's actually pretty easy to keep them from saying those words in regular conversation.  They tend to catch themselves before they say one of the bad words and switch to a word that won't get them in trouble. 

Yes, I know those are words they hear every day from other people, but I really want to teach them that words choice matters.  Some words are harmful and some are helpful.  It's easy to fall into the trap of saying something just because other people say it.  It's a lot harder to use another, more descriptive word. 

Instead of saying, "I hate this stuff."  I make them think about what they don't like and explain it that way.  The other day the brunete twin started to say, "I hate green beans."  As she started to say it, I gave her a look that stopped her cold.  I said, "Do you want to rephrase that?"  She thought about it for a moment and said, "I don't like the way the green beans squish in my teeth."  I smiled and told her she did a good job.  She beamed.

We've run into new problems when they start singing their favorite songs.  It's amazing to me how many children's songs include the words hate and stupid.  I guess I never really listened to the lyrics of children's songs until the girls started singing them. 

Now that they are moving to older music, it's even harder.  I don't let them listen to anything too old -- after all they are only six.  They are -- of course -- obsessed with Taylor Swift.  She writes pretty sweet and innocent songs.  Still, in her songs, she says hate and stupid many times.  It's perfectly appropriate for her to do so at her age, but it creates a conflict for the girls.

They LOVE to sing Taylor Swift songs.  Now, each time they are about to sing a song with the "bad words" they ask.  Whenever we're driving and they are singing, they ask if they can sing "the bad words."  

I always want to laugh because they are so serious when they ask.  It's like a solemn responsibility.  If they have been good, I let them sing the bad words.  If they have not, I tell them no and explain why.

When I do let them sing the bad words, they just giggle.  They think they are really getting away with something.  I try not to giggle with them because they are so innocent about all of it. 

I'm sure the list of bad words will grow as they get older.  I'm sure I'll have less and less control over what they say as they get older.  What I hope is the lessons we teach them now will stay with them so they understand the important of using the right words.  


Noelle said...

What a great way of handling the green bean situation. I've noticed my four (almost five!) year old really hesitating and rethinking when it comes to using the word "hate". I cringe when I hear other preschoolers and kindergardeners in her little circle of friends say that word. I don't always stop myself from saying it (and others much worse!) but I always try to talk to her and tell her why it was wrong for me to say it.

As for the music...sigh...how much longer do you think I can keep her singing the WonderPets theme song?!

Paula said...

I'm happy that my four year old knows what words he's not allowed to say but it can still be frustrating when I hear others say it in front of him. :(
I hope we can shield them from bad words forever but I guess we'll just have to rely on our teaching them and hoping they'll make the right choices.
You have a nice blog here, Shari. I added you to my blogroll. Here's the link. http://www.happythoughtshappytot.com/blogroll-2
Hope you can add me too. :)

Nicki said...

Little Bear and Pufferfish are the same way... but they hear much "older" music with their big brother and teenage aunties. I have to sometimes warn them before playdates what songs they have to try not to sing out loud!!!
On a side note, at one playdate a mom mentioned that her 3-year-old had started saying "shut up" all the time, even though she and her husband never said that word in their conversation, let alone in front of him! The mom at first thought maybe he'd overheard the word on adult TV when her husband was watching it. But then she asked her son where he heard it, and he told her, "From Shrek! Shrek says, 'Shut up, donkey!'" Its pretty hard to keep little kids from hearing negative things when its even in kid movies!

Missy said...

Stupid is considered a bad word at our house too, as is shut up. My girls will say that someone said the "s" word, and I always have to remember that to them that means stupid or shut up as opposed to the s-word most of us are familiar with.