Parents Who Let Their Kids Cuss Might As Well Let Them Drink and Smoke, Too

CussingWhen my cousin was three, he was a little pistol and got away with most of his wildness because he was a boy and boys, of course, are expected to be rough and tumble and rowdy. He would climb on furniture and do these death-defying, Evel Knievel jumps off a couch arm or the part that flaps up on the La-Z-Boy recliner.

And he got a pass for that because he was just living out his little mini-manhood, even as I raised my eyebrow and tried my best to hold my tongue. His mom and dad were a little older when they had him and, like a lot of kids who are the product of mature parents, he got away with murder. One day when the family was over, we heard there was breaking news of some sort going on downtown, so we descended on the TV to change the channel. He wasn’t having any of it.

You haven’t heard crazy until you’ve heard a preschooler holler “What the f#$^*?!” when you turn from the The Backyardigans

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The chain of reactions looked like it could’ve been played out in a cartoon flip book. First, we gasped. Then, we frowned. Then we shook our heads at him, indicating that was not a nice thing to say. His father was the only one who seemed OK with it. Matter of fact, he broke out laughing, tickled at hearing such a big cuss come out of such a small person. Not coincidentally, he was also amused because, using the process of elimination, he’s the most likely adult little Kaire could’ve gleaned that word from. He should be so proud.

I don’t know why we get such a kick out of kids saying the wrong things particularly — especially — since the older they get, the less likely they are to get away with saying it. You can’t giggle and sniggle about a toddler firing off four and five-letter words because you think it’s funny and then turn around and lecture or finger wag him when he’s 10 for doing the same thing. When the little kid cuteness wears off, it’s just bad manners. Matter of fact, it always was.

A few months ago, there was a lot of hullabaloo from viewers and the notorious Parents Television Council because the little girl on Modern Family supposedly let the F-bomb fly. I’m sure there was a fleeting reduction in oxygen as ultra-conservative folks sucked down air in shock. (The little actress actually said “fudge,” not the real word, and even at that they bleeped it out.)

There are honestly bigger wars to wage in TV land, between mind-numbingly dumb content that doesn’t even begin to challenge an intelligent thought and reality show programming that garners ratings from shock value and just plain ol’ tomfoolery. So a foul-mouthed two-year-old hardly seems the rightful focus of an ethics campaign. They have bigger fish to fry. I, on the other hand, can wax opinions on the smaller stuff.

I always tell Girl Child that folks who hold Bernie-Mac-and-Andrew-Dice-Clay kind of conversations use those words because they think it emphasizes their point. I beg to differ—I think cussing actually detracts from whatever it is that they’re trying to get across. But hey, I’m all for open self-expression. For adults. Kids should get a fighting chance to not be little parrots of their mom and dad’s (or any other influencing force’s) penchant for foul language.

The bottom line is this: there’s a time and place for everything, and just like kids have to mature before they can do an assortment of other things, they need to hold off on the cussing. It’s tacky before their time.

Is it a big deal if a kid lets one fly every now and then?


Image via GranniesKitchen/Flickr

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