I do not consider myself a strict parent. I am not above bribing my daughters with cookies to have them get their shoes on and into the car with minimal dilly-dallying. I am fine with staying up a little later than normal if they are finishing a movie or having fun playing with neighbors. In my opinion, puddles were made to jump in no matter what you are wearing. Life is short and you are only a kid once.
However, there is one area where I draw the line: language. Certain words are not allowed in our family and earn an immediate time out if they are spoken. These might not be the four-letter words that probably popped into your mind, although those are also banned. The words I am talking about include “butt,” “hate,” and “stupid.”
I have encountered some people who think I am a little overboard by banning these words, and I get that. But hear me out. First off, my daughters are five and two. They are little and innocent and in a brief stage of their lives where most things are pure. They aren’t getting bullied on social media. They aren’t killing people in video games. They still whole-heartedly believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.
As their Mom, I am working my bum bum (that’s what they say instead of butt) off to make sure they understand the importance of being polite, being kind and understanding how powerful words are. They are powerful when you’re five, and they are powerful when you’re 85. They can change the direction of a conversation in an instant and can make someone extremely happy or sad on the turn of a dime. Words can make others your friend or your enemy. Words can make you seem crass or eloquent. They can express gratitude or hate.
It is a choice we all make every day with every word we speak. Frankly, it is something that is always a work in progress and something I focus on for myself, as well.
My daughters have plenty of time use their words however they choose in the future, but in these formative years, I’m going to do all I can to make sure they think twice about what they say and how it can impact others in good and bad ways.