I'll be the first to admit that I have a pretty bad potty mouth at times, just never around my kids, because I really think they should be sheltered from that as long as possible. In all honesty, I don't know that I'd mind them knowing bad words in general, but right now they're too young to know how to use them so they're not hurtful towards others or ugly. Not that there's a good way to make a curse word "pretty" but anyway... And little kids saying naughty words is just too shocking and ugly in itself. So shelter, it is. But it's hard!
I know Aidan knows curse words, and just recently found out that Logan knows curse words as well, thanks to the bus. Apparently there was an incident at school where he told a friend how to spell a curse word (not sure which one, either hell or shit probably) because Logan refused to say it. When that got back to the teacher, he got so upset because he didn't want to know these words, but he couldn't help it because older kids on the bus were saying them.
His teachers sort of empowered him to be a "bad language monitor" so to speak, so if he heard other kids saying bad words, he could feel comfortable telling an adult (especially since his teacher said she could tell it made him so uncomfortable). Problem not really solved, but we moved on and still no bad words uttered from either of my boys' mouths under my watch, at least.
And then one of his parents (ahem, not me) dropped the f-bomb quietly, casually and completely accidentally last night, right in front of both Aidan and Logan. Oops! I gave this particular parent a serious stare-down and silently hoped that the slip went unnoticed. No such luck. Logan looked at me with eyes as big as saucers and whispered "Daddy just said the F-word!" We explained that it was a mistake, and he was sorry. But adults can and do choose to use adult language like that, and that still doesn't make it okay for kids to say those types of bad words.
Teachable moment or parenting fail? Probably both. Fortunately Logan (my overly sensitive one) didn't get upset about it. But that was definitely the first time they heard that word out of one of our mouths. I hope their innocence wasn't shattered too badly.
But even I'm guilty of exposing them to inappropriate language when I do something innocent like turn on the freakin' car radio. All of a sudden I hear Ke$ha talking about her coochie (sometimes that part is censored, sometimes not. I can never tell which version I'll get until that word pops up). I immediately changed the station to a song called "Detachable Penis." First of all, what?! And second of all, that station got changed in a hurry as well, because both boys like to read the name of each song that comes on. And then this morning, I turn the station again, and start jamming to J-Lo and Ja Rule's "I'm Real," when bam! The n-word. Seriously? Thank heavens I had already dropped Aidan and Logan off. But what happened to decency on the public airwaves or whatever? Geez! XM, get it together.
Although I guess if a few bad words is all they get out of some of those songs, I'll be lucky. Because the inappropriateness doesn't stop at bad words. I'd really rather not explain what Daft Punk and Pharrell mean by "Get Lucky" or what "Blurred Lines" Robin Thicke is singing about...
Sheltering kids is hard, man! It's a balance between protecting them from inappropriate things yet carefully exposing them to the world gradually on an age-appropriate level so they're not totally naive. And I'm not sure I've found that balance yet.
PS: for the record, and on the off chance that Adam is reading this, I wasn't mad enough to hate him forever, because it could have just as easily been me to let a bad word slip. I'm just glad it wasn't me.