Brought To You By The Letter F

It is not the word flower that my son wrote in the inner page of his homework that got him into trouble.

Accordingly, I over-reacted. We both did. Kid is eight. What business does he have with swear words? We already freaked out once, when called younger child names. (The word used was not doll-face.) He said he heard it from older boys in school who use it all the time. Why can’t he use it, he wept. Later on, he told on his sister. She used something other than freckles ubiquitous in telling her brother to be quiet. He said she learnt it from her 12 year old friend.

Whatever your leanings on this topic, indulge me. He is 8. His sister is 7. We did not allow screen time when they were small – we don’t have a television set at home. Older, I vet their youtube watching. Why are older kids letting younger kids hang around them? I remember we were barely ok with someone a year younger. Two years younger, we think they are babies.

At about 14, I was reading my aunts’ books I was introduced to adults using bad words. Using them requires friends to be of similar vocab – I am introverted and my friends are unworldly. This was different when I turned 17 and got myself more sophisticated friends.

You call your mum a [seaside], I asked, incredulous.

All the time, replied my friend.

She let you, I asked in wonder.

It’s just a word, she said airily.

I totally fell for it.

I am now 44 and can tell it is rubbish talk. Most of all, Aunty is a church going kindergarten teacher. The probability of [seaside] being “just-a-word” is really slim. From then, I had friends to practice these cool new terms with and usage flowered. We were not using these words at work or randomly swearing at parents, strangers, parents and neighbours. Just amongst ourselves.

When we all had children, it stopped. It was hard to eradicate them but I succeeded. (Mr TCM doesn’t use any of these words. I am the potty mouth in the house.) Except for the odd occasion when I burnt myself cooking, or I had forgotten a very important work requirement. I cleaned myself up.

I have no doubt, that after a while they will know the context to use it. They will also clean up their potty mouth eventually. Yes it could be worse. They could be sarcastic and cynical. At this point, I am not ready to handle little children who maybe calling their moms, a beach.