Roshni’s post prompts me to ponder..
Now before I start jotting down my thoughts further I need to mention that I have very low tolerance on anyone using swear words. No I have no issues about people mouthing them behind my back. Even if I do I cant do much about them because quite obviously I cannot control the words that I cant hear,right? But if someone uses them in front of me I either put my displeasure vehemently across or simply walk away from there.
Why, I even had R take back the ‘F’ word that he had uttered once barely few days into our marriage. A few eunuchs had come over to our house to ask for some gifts as a custom and R felt so agitated at their authoritative tones that he just let that word slip out in exasperation! And it was the first time I had heard someone use that word in front of me. He realized his slip of tongue and understood that I was not one to tolerate such words. I made it clear he was free to use his vocabulary in whichever manner he wanted in my absence, but he had to be extremely careful about not using swear words in my presence.
Since then, till today he has never used the F word or such strong swear words in my presence.
And ever since Namnam came into our lives we both have been extra careful and conscious that we dont utter any wrong words in front of her.
This is where Roshni’s post makes me think. Now letting her older child use swear words with friends and in front of his parents, albeit with strict warning of not using them elsewhere seems to have worked well fr her family. So much so that when the circumstance arose, her older son has even been wise enough to make his younger brother understand about the dangers of using swear words.
What I want to know is how well this strategy will work for my child. The strategy of telling her that it is ok to use swear words with friends but not with others I mean. I wonder if it will work even considering my strong reservation about using such words at home or outside. The strongest swear words that Namnam has come to hear are ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ and ‘what the hell’.
In fact I have been guilty of calling her ‘stupid’ once. She made a big howling issue of it making me take that word back and apologize to her. Frankly I felt awfully miserable myself at having lost my cool that day.
Now I know for a fact that she is growing up, growing up real fast and with each passing day and year, she is going to be introduced to more strong words, sometimes by her friends, sometimes by the shows that she watches, or at times by the books she reads. And not all times is it necessary that I will be there to police her, stop her from picking them up. In which case I wonder what is the way to go.
I agree words like,’ what the hell’ or what the heck are not so strong as to be made such a big deal out of. But what if your child picks up a more dangerous ‘F’ word or Ass.H or such words? Would you still say its ok to use them? I get really perturbed when I hear small children mouthing such dynamites so liberally these days. Really I do. Sometimes I wonder if the kids even understand the meaning of those words before mouthing them. Why words, I get taken aback by some of their actions even. I have seen kids as small as 7 or 8 year old showing finger as a mark of dissent! I mean do they even know what that means?
And this is where I feel concerned as a parent. How do I address it if my child, someday picks it up and starts using them? Do I admonish her sternly and forbid her from using those words, in which case she might get more rebellious and drawn towards using them even more? Or, do I tell her the literal meaning of those words and then let her decide whether she wants to swear or no?
How far do I go really?