Today, I’m sharing the first of a new series on the blog that I’m calling “Seeking Advice, Advice Found,” and I am SO EXCITED to be doing so. This is one of those random ideas I got for the blog in the middle of the night that had me running to grab something to jot it down before I forgot it, and then kept me up for an hour because I was so excited thinking about the possibilities it held.
As parents, there are so many questions we may have and for the most part, for each question, there are a million different answers. So where do you start? How do you determine what is the “right” answer? For me, the answer is research and ask around – which is what this new series is going to be for.
About once a month, I will ask a question to all of you about an aspect of parenting that is all shades of gray. I’ll ask the question(s), give my own opinion on the matter, and then leave it to all of you lovely people. My hope is that the comments section of that post will fill up with helpful, supportive comments that reflect a number of different points of view. After a week has passed, I will then compile the most helpful comments into one post called, “Advice Found: [insert topic here]”. If you are a blogger, I will include a link back to your blog so that if someone really identifies with your view on something, they can hop over and learn more about you. f you have written a post on the topic in the past, feel free to leave it with your comment – I may link it up! This post will go up on a Sunday, so the Advice Found for this post will go live on May 1. I truly hope that this series can become a resource for myself and others trying to navigate parenting (and life! I am positive I will occasionally ask non-kid related questions) and a place where we can all be honest, open, and accepting.
I also want to note – if you do not have children, THAT IS FINE! You undoubtedly have an opinion on the topic – someone raised you, and they did XYZ while doing it. What’s your opinion on it? How did you parents handle it? How do you expect others’ children to behave in regards to the topic?
That being said, any negative, rude, or hurtful comments will be deleted without notice. I want everyone to feel comfortable expressing views and opinions without feeling judged or criticized. So let’s get to it!
Seeking Advice: Kids, Bad Language, and Potty Talk.
So here’s the topic for today: How do you handle bad language and potty talk with your children?
Ryan isn’t totally verbal yet, as I’ve mentioned before, but lately, he’s been picking up words left and right which is so exciting but also terrifying. I’m not going to lie – Alex and I curse. We talk often about needing to reduce it, but when your kid doesn’t talk yet it doesn’t seem like a priority. Now, I DO find myself substituting things like “fudgesickles,” “cheese and rice,” “jeeze louise” etc, but I am far from a saint.
But it’s not just myself I need to worry about. While in an ideal world I would completely shield my child from any bad language, we definitely live in a more relaxed world these days. My Spotify doesn’t bleep out words, the teens in Chipotle don’t care that a toddler is in earshot, and reruns of our favorite shows like It’s Always Sunny or Better Call Saul use whatever colorful language the FCC will allow. (not that we sit around watching marathons of these while Ryan’s around, but an occasional episode happens.) So how does a parent proceed? Do you ignore the language? Pretend it doesn’t exist? Insist they are grown up words? Idealize it by making it a forbidden fruit?
I think that our plan is to let the boys know that it is not nice language. My parents handled the issue similarly. They were bad words. Grown ups occasionally said them when something bad happened (uh, hello unstoppable F-bomb when you stub your toe..) but we weren’t allowed to, plain and simple. Even when I was in high school, when I cursed around my dad he would not be a happy camper. He taught me it’s a respect thing, and in an ideal world that is how I will proceed with my own children.
Now, part 2 – Potty talk. I definitely think this is the harder of the two to handle. Do you forbid your kids to talk about bodily functions? Do you use the word “toot” instead of “fart”? Is poop funny?
Here’s the truth: potty talk was HUGE in my house growing up. I vividly remember my dad showing my brother and I some website he found (this was back when computers were super expensive and internet was super slow) about different types of poos. My brother’s nickname was, “Fartboy.” Bodily functions were hilarious and we talked about them all.the.time. The book Everybody Poops was a popular bedtime story. Granted, my dad grew up with a family of 5 boys, so I don’t think he knew any other way. But now I’m the same way, and so is my husband. I can’t see us not talking about these things in a light, funny manner because of how we were raised and how we are in general.
Now, I do plan on teaching the boys when it is “appropriate.” I do not want Ryan going up to his Great Grandma talking about how bad his fart smelled. There are people, places, and times when that kind of talk is acceptable, and I think it’s a boundary that we’re going to have to teach the boys. But I do think that it’s a harmful bit of fun and, to be honest, kind of unavoidable with 2 boys.
Now tell me – what’s your opinion?
Join the conversation – what’s your opinion or experience? Leave it in the comments! (or if you’d rather be more private, shoot me at email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you have a topic you’d like to see covered? Let me know either in the comments or via email!
Advice Found: Kids, Bad Language and Potty Talk
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
When we went to visit my nephew in January, he said “ca-ca” (Spanish for poo) for just about everything. His parents thought it was hilarious. My problem? It works now because he can’t say much, but I hope he grows out of it! There definitely is a fine line between funny and ok now it is getting out of hand.
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
For the potty talk, I grew up thinking it was hilarious but I learned when and where the best places to do that was. I wasn’t thinking it was okay to talk to random strangers about those things.
For language, I grew up where it was not allowed and my parents never cursed either so I think I grew up knowing I shouldnt be doing it. The only time I’ve ever heard my dad curse was when a car side swiped us on a family vacation!
Amanda @ .running with spoons. says
I honestly don’t think I picked up curse words until I was around 8 years old. I remember because it was grade 3 and I felt like such a badass doing it 😆 That being said, my parents don’t swear a tonne (I know, right?!?!) and times were kind of different when I was growing up so I’m not really sure how I’d approach it these days. I’m curious to see what everyone says!
Christine (Run Plant Based) says
My nephew is going through the potty talk stage from other kids at school, he thinks it’s so funny now but I hope he grows out of it too. I was terrified to use curse words as a kid because I knew my father did not tolerate it even if I occasionally heard him say them.
Thank you for sharing this! Even though I don’t have kids yet, I’m thankful that my mom and dad were always gentle and firm about correcting us in the way we used our tongues. The tongue is such a mighty weapon for good or for evil, and I’m grateful that my parents shepherded us in using it correctly.
While I don’t have children, I do think it’s important to talk normally to them about it.
I grew up that curse words were not allowed at all and I never heard my parents use them and we weren’t allowed. I don’t know, I do think that was better.
Jessie @ The Acquired Sass says
No kids here…but I do have a dirty, filthy, sailor mouth, so I know one day I’ll be crossing this same bridge. It seems like maybe identifying that the words are “grown-up” words & that there are better alternatives might be a good idea? But then again I did love me some “forbidden fruit” & still do…
As for potty talk…I think that talking about bodily functions is necessary & will help kids be in touch with how they react to things. Both in like how their tummy feels after certain foods & how to decide if they have to poop. That being said, maybe they need to know that it’s okay to talk to you & Alex about those things, but not other people?
PS. I REALLY like this idea. And would love to see how other people set their kids up to learn about $$$ // do they get an allowance & how household chores work.
This is such a great idea! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s input each month. I grew up in a home that didn’t use curse words or potty talk. But I now have a 2 yr old boy and know that potty talk is inevitable. I think that bodily functions need to be talked about openly at home so that kids don’t feel shame about their bodies. If parents allow their kids to safely talk about these things when they are young, then they will feel comfortable talking to their parents about bigger questions about their bodies when they are older. I will definitely be teaching my son when it is appropriate and when it is not to use potty talk. As far as cursing, I we will be teaching my son that those aren’t nice words, and that sometimes people say them when they are upset. But the biggest thing that parents can do is to set the example and not curse themselves. Easier said than done!
This is a great series, thanks for thinking it up!
Here’s how my husband and I view bad words and potty talk:
Words are words. We curse a lot in our house, too, and both our kids went through phases when they repeated what they heard. Strangely, it happened when they were both about 2 1/2. At that point, they’re just emulating adults and really had no idea what they were saying. So, the way we deal with it now is that sure the ‘f’ word is a bad word but saying something like “f…..!” when you hurt yourself and something like “I hate you because you’re ugly” are two very, very different things. So yes, it’s not ideal to curse around your child and have them repeat it, they’re just words. Bullying and being hateful, on the other hand, are much more important to deal with in our house so we choose to focus on treating others with respect and the way we want to be treated rather than on bad words or potty talk.
I should add this is a MUCH different view than we previously had when we were first parents. Our son is almost 7 now, though, so our views have changed as he’s gotten older and in different social situations at school.
Kristy @ Southern In Law says
Potty talk and bad language is always a hard one and I think you really need to find what works for your family – but also be mindful that others may have different rules!
It’s weird but my sister and I almost grew up with entirely different rules. I was taught not to swear where my parents were a little more lenient with her (being the second child). Today she’s the one who swears like a sailor and I’ll say something if I hurt myself or get really cranky but that’s about it.
As far as potty talk goes, I think it’s important that kids (especially when you’re potty training) talk about how they’re feeling, however, fart jokes aren’t my thing 😛
heather jones says
My son knows that “potty talk” is only in front of me and its a private thing. Fart talk is a whole other story. He will walk up to me and say ” i have to tell you something” then fart, laugh and walk away. Ugh boys there gross hahaha i swear, but he knows better. He knows there for adults only. My son is 8 btw.
Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian says
I don’t have any kids myself, but I know that when I was growing up, I was deathly afraid to say any bad words. I don’t really know why, but I do know that my parents never said anything bad around me and my brother. I probably didn’t hear any bad words until I got to school, and then I just thought it was something the “bad” kids did.
When our kids were small we tried our best not to swear around them but somehow they still manage to hear (and use in just the right context surprisingly) swear words even when they are too young to know what they are saying. It’s really funny but very important not to laugh (easier said than done!)
Once they go to school you have lost your battle, so then I think it’s just about teaching them when it’s appropriate (with their mates) and when it’s definitely not (around grandparents, teachers, church etc)
Talking about bodily functions – well, that has always been and always will be just about the funniest thing a 5 to 8ish year old boy can talk about! They find it hilarious for reasons I think only they know. I think the best you can do is attempt to moderate it by not making too much of a thing about it. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, we grown ups are not impressed, it’s not a big deal.
My boys are 19 and 17 and they don’t still fall about laughing about farts and poop thank goodness, it passes and for that we are all thankful!
What a great idea this is!
Swearing – a tough one, but adults need to monitor themselves as best as they can and make their children understand that they are not nice or appropriate words and then model as such. Our 4 year old heard f-bombs from us (toe stubbing) and unfortunately we laughed the first time – bad idea. It became his thing to do when he wanted attention, especially when we placed him in timeout, to throw out the F bomb’s so we would come back and give more attention even though it was negative attention. We truly had to learn to just ignore it, and it has since decreased to almost no instances. It was really hard and there were several times that he would swear out in public to bring attention to himself, but the ignoring seems to have eventually worked.
As for potty talk, we use the word toot poop and pee only when we are talking about something serious, not to be silly or inappropriate. The 4 year old took to using those words for name calling at school and that was obviously no good. If you use those words to get attention in our home, he gets one warning and then it’s straight to timeout after that. This is probably going to be a long phase as well, but consistency helps. Stay strong parents, with a team effort that’s consistent kids will grow out of most phases! Also parents should always feel free to ask the child’s teachers or other educators for tips on how to curb these bad habits.