Published: November 2, 2008
Bad words. This has been a topic in our household for the past few weeks. They are words that we hear everyday on tv, out in public places and even in many homes. My five-year old son has become the watchdog of people who use bad words and will emphatically point it out to me at every opportunity, how wrong it is to use them.
So what exactly are these bad words? They are most likely words you use everyday without thought and wouldn't consider bad; but if you understand the rational behind my son's offense to them, then perhaps you may change your mind.
The words stupid, dumb and idiot are at the top of his most offensive list. He strongly believes that no one should ever be called these words and that it only hurts the person you are speaking about. As well, if you use a word like "stupid" to describe something ie - "This game is stupid"- this too is offensive to him because a person could be insulting something that someone else loves.
He also feels that "hate" is a bad word. No one should feel that strongly. It is too severe a feeling to use about something or someone. It's ok to say you don't like something but when you use "hate" - he believes it puts out a bad feeling that only makes the people around you feel sad.
Other words that are categorized as bad by him include ugly, crappy, jerk, moron, loser - you get the picture. And no - we haven't even started in to the category of swear words with him. We don't swear in our household, but I know that will hold for only so long, until his little ears hear those words outside of the home.
To be honest, it has made me redefine the way I speak. I catch myself when I am upset about something and instead of saying a word like "stupid" I will say "silly". Or when I am impatient and about to say I "hate" something, I instead will say "this frustrates me" or this "makes me mad because...". We have learned in our household that instead of putting a negative word to something or someone, we use terminology that explains how we are feeling.
I have discovered that because we speak with more thought put in to our words, our language is more clear and concise. We speak with more purpose and intelligence rather than relying on words that just perpetuate ignorance and negative feelings - not only for ourselves, but for those around us who hear it.
My two-year old daughter is also offended by the bad words, because her older brother feels so strongly. She will put her hands over her mouth and then her ears, when she hears one uttered by someone.
So if children are having such a strong reaction when they hear words that are common place today - isn't there something wrong with the way we have allowed ourselves as adults to communicate?
They are at the very start of their lives but have already figured out that in order to speak and be heard effectively in the world - the "bad words" have no place in our language.
Kelley Scarsbrook is a proud Stay at Home Mom who writes bi-weekly for Black Press. Visit her websites at www.thestayathomemother.com or www.enterprisingmomsnetwork.com