Thursday, 4 October 2012

Oh S***! My Kid Just Swore

My name is Claire Jones-Hughes and I have a potty mouth. At some point in my twenties and after endless viewings of Tarantino movies, I developed a habit I just can't kick: swearing. It's like a smoking addiction with far less risks to my health. I try to give up but lack willpower (which is, incidentally, a recurring theme in this blog!). It wasn't a surprise then, when my eldest daughter one day innocently blurted out a few words. And that's just the start of our foul-mouthed problems. 

The first instance was when she was two. She dropped her beloved 'bunny bunny' on the floor and exclaimed 'bollocks!'. It's all very sweet until they won't stop saying it. We then had a discussion with nursery where I had to 'fess up' to being the potty mouth and that we were 'sorting it'. They told me she was saying two other words and curiously, in context. More alarmingly they were two completely different words to 'bollocks!'. Mortification does not explain my facial expression during that conversation.

With my tail between my legs I set off to change my ways and coach her out of the habit. With my new vocabulary and a steady routine of playing down her usage of bad language, we managed to eliminate it altogether. Until last month. She used 'bollocks' in context again. 

Honestly, it was me again. I can't really remember when I lost control of the situation. But now, at nearly four years old she has increased awareness of language and what it means. On one occasion, she swore in the presence of my sister, declaring 'Mummy says it. And she says shit.' Not only had she repeated the word but was happy to shift the blame and drop me in it! She's even dropped hints that she may be teaching her friends at nursery to say the words but this hasn't been corroborated by the staff - thankfully. 
Bother That Cat!

Back to me to change my ways. So this time, instead of suppressing the sentiment, I've come up with some words in their place. 'Bother' being my favourite. Not only do I sound frightfully posh, we have a book Meg The Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr, where the protagonists regularly say, 'bother that cat!' So we have context.

Ultimately, I don't have a problem with some light, politically correct swearing but obviously not from 4 year old who doesn't understand the real meaning of the words. The whole situation has forced me not only to think about the words I use but why I am swearing at myself in frustration. That is a behaviour I am not happy at displaying either. It's useless to get so angry because you dropped something! So now it's 'bother' the swearing, deep breath and smile. 


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