“A child’s mind is like a sponge and absorbs whatever it hears in the environment it is in.” Having three growing inquisitive children, all the things they hear, good or bad are in truth, beyond my control. This is real. Even the things that you hear from the movies, TV shows, or some You Tube videos intended for kids are sadly, not safe for kids. Profanity is unavoidable. I am guilty of saying bad words too. The first time I heard my kid say “damn it,” I was embarrassed and shocked because he said it in front of our friends. To make the long story short, I did not beat my child, but I warned him that it should be the first and the last swear words I’ll hear.
Just this weekend, I heard those words again but this time around, my other child had said it. “Damn it.” Okay. I missed something. I forgot to explain MORE to them why that word was considered a bad one. I confronted them, and veered right away. Placing myself in their shoes, I know it is so tempting to say these words because we hear it everywhere. And just like what I said earlier, kids absorb whatever they hear. And when you tell them to stop, the more they will ask you WHY. You see, they need a sound explanation too.
So this got me thinking…
- Be a good example in front of them. We are not perfect. But when you feel like cursing…
- Find some substitute words. It is okay to be angry, let it out, but choose a more subtle language when you are around with your kids.
- There are times that you cannot deliberately keep them away from being exposed to profanity. So if this happens, point out the words right away. Tell them not to use them because these words will make them look bad.
A few weeks ago, Sofie shared with me a simple yet meaningful activity from her Form Teacher and Guidance Period Class (Mr Idris of Yumin Primary School). This made his students realized how it is important not to tolerate saying bad words.
According to my daughter, here’s what they did:
- Their form teacher asked them if they knew some bad words that they are aware of. (and yes, he allowed the kids to say these words)
- The teacher wrote it down on a piece of paper. So while writing, he made these children realized how strong these words were (some children were throwing non-vulgar words, but considered as bad ones too. I was embarrassed to know that my daughter threw one of the strongest words in the history of “childrenkind” )
- He then explained the effects of saying these harsh words to friends. “People will not like you if you say these words… You will be a bully… You will hurt other people’s feelings when you say this… You will lose friends…”
- After writing it down, he made a meaningful act as he crumpled the paper while saying “Let’s throw the bad words in the rubbish bin.”
A simple activity yet my daughter remembered every detail of it, she had learned a lot without being reprimanded.
She is now our language police.