There has been more than one occasion where my fiance and I have heard a crude comment slip out of the kids’ mouths, and we looked at one another simultaneously with our mouths wide open and eyebrows raised, saying “Did she just say…?” We take care never to swear around the kids (ages 6, 9, 12, and 14), and on the odd occasion that we do slip up, it normally comes out like “Shiz” or “Fuuuuudge.” Very rarely will we drop an actual full-blown cuss bomb in front of the kids, but apparently they are learning to have potty mouths from another source.
Turns out, Grandpa is to blame. A (semi) retired farmer, this old man takes the kids out often to do farm chores to gain character, but that isn’t all they’re gaining. They’re gaining common phrases that include the “D” word, the “S” word, and the “H” word that they have no utter clue are unacceptable in social situations. The older children are aware, but the 6 and 9 year olds? Not a clue one, and we’re beginning to realize that we’re NOT just hearing things- these kids are actually using phrases in common conversation that should be getting their mouths washed out with soap, if they only knew what they were saying.
It’s obvious they have no idea that what they are saying is incorrect wordage. When the youngest pipes up with “That damn cat just ran right up the tree” and bursts into the laughter only innocence contains, it’s clear she has no idea she’s packing around a true potty mouth. We are so slow in correcting her (recovering from “what the…” shock at her use of choice words), that we have yet to correct her immediately and let her and her sister know that the phrases they are using are just not proper for them to be saying.
Looks like we’ll have to have a little chat with Gramps, who spends a lot of time with the children out on the old farm. He may not even realize that his grand kids are picking up on his words of choice, but he needs to be made aware that he has little copycats bringing his language home and to our home as well. Who knows what they’re saying at school?
If this isn’t an example of children learning by example, I don’t know what is. And to think, we’ve been keeping our sailor mouths to ourselves only to find out that sweet old Grandpa is peppering the kids with colorful language instead. Who would’ve thought? And we thought WE were creating the example for the kids.