Okay parents, we’ve all been there. We’ve all had that moment where our child says or does something and there’s no denying that they learned it from us, whether we’d like to deny it or not. I had that moment recently. While I was on vacation with my kids in Michigan this past July, I was driving along with my son to meet a friend for a play date when he says from the back seat, “Mummy, it’s freakin’ hot in here!”
Cue my embarrassment. There’s no getting out of this one. He learned it from me! I do have to admit I was impressed that he used it in the correct context. On a day with a heat index of over 100 degrees, it was, in fact, freakin’ hot in there! I have a bad habit of using the word “freaking.” Regardless of how hard my parents tried to strike that word from my vocabulary, it hung on to the bitter end. I use it frequently and in all scenarios. It is my ultimate adjective for when I’m excited, angry, nervous, you name it.
Chris and I made a very conscious effort to stop saying any swear words when Jude was born so that we would be in the habit of not using them when he got to the age of repetition. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t sailors around here, but a moment of pain or aggravation might cause a not-so-nice word to slip from our lips, and the last thing we wanted was for our son to repeat that word. A word that I never even thought of, but should have, was “freaking”!
So now I have the dilemma of how to explain to Jude that this is a naughty word that he shouldn’t be saying when Mummy’s been saying it for years. I decided honesty was the best policy. I told him that that is not a nice word, please don’t say it again. I explained to him that Mummy shouldn’t have said it either. Then I hoped for the best.
My next step was to strike the word from my vocabulary. This has been difficult. I’ve replaced it with “flipping.” I know, it’s silly, but when you’re used to using a word excessively for years, it’s hard to stop using it, so I needed to give myself something else to say in its place. Another of my common “nice” words is sugar. One day, I stubbed my toe on the corner of an end table and went, “Oh sugar!!” Jude said, “Did you say sugar, Mummy?” To which I replied, “Yes, Jude, I said sugar.” Jude then asked, “What’s the matter, Mummy?”
Whatever you have to do to stop these nasty habits from repeating themselves in your children, do it! Say a silly word instead of a naughty word. Put yourself in timeout. Keep a swear jar. Or if you aren’t concerned about language, then disregard this post altogether. I just thought I’d take a moment to share a funny/embarrassing story to show that parenting is not all sunshine and rainbows. Rest assured that whatever your embarrassing parenting fail, it’s happened to somebody else!