Say what?!

05Nov2013

The CRUNCH:
Say what?!

CRUNCH deets:
When your darling baby first learned to speak, it was SO sweet. Softly spoken repetitions of ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘baba’ tugged at your heartstrings and made you swell with pride. And then you blinked, a few years passed, and now those sweet nothings are nowhere near as sweet. Or as innocent. In fact, that potty mouth has become downright dirty. It’s almost comical… almost.

The Fix:
The old talk/nip combo.

Fix deets:
We’ve noticed Jack’s vocab has recently been exploding. And while some of it is both impressive and entertaining (“superfralicagalisticpinkyalidocious”), certain new faves are decidedly NOT. He’s been using some undesirables (idiot/fart/shut-up) a little too frequently, and he’s also added in some no-nos of the H-E-double-hockey-stick variety. In our house, the backtalk/slang/physical aggression REALLY amps up in the fall. The reason? You got it peeps: back-to-school. Different families have different tolerance levels and it all comes out on the playground. So before it gets out of control we have The Chat. Followed by The Consequences. Here’s how it goes down.

The Chat is where we talk it out… duh. We both have to be in the mood, which means I strategically start the conversation when he’s happy/calm/talkative and not grumpy/hyper/tired. For us this is usually in the car (sans radio) or before bed (if we’ve started our night routine early enough to spare the time). I open by expressing my observations, as in “You’ve been talking a lot about {fill-in-the-blank} lately.” Then I ask if he understands the meaning and proper usage. There’s nothing harsh about this convo, I’m simply explaining to make sure he gets it. We talk about other things he could say instead, and I close out the discussion with something along the lines of “That’s a mean/rude/grown-up word, and we don’t use hurtful/inappropriate language.” Alternatively, it could sound something like “It’s okay to talk about poo when you’re in the bathroom. But no one wants to hear about it at dinner because it’s gross.” He usually knows this already, he’s only saying it for the shock/silliness factor. But I reiterate so he also knows that instead of being surprised/entertained I will henceforth be laying down the law.

The Consequences can be any/all of:

  • The cleaning jar. My absolute fave, as I shared with you back here. The funniest thing is that Jack actually loves doing whatever chore he picks (seriously!) but somehow it still deters him.
  • A timeout. An oldie but a goodie IF it’s done properly. More about that over here.
  • Limiting exposure. I know which of Jack’s friends are more likely to talk smack so the threat of a cancelled playdate puts him into super-polite-hyperdrive. And he’s had to skip a Clone Wars episode or three when he just could. not. stop finishing those “What the…” ambiguities. Effing Annikin Skywalker.

That’s all we’ve ever needed in our bag-o-tricks. When he’s toeing the line he gets one warning and if he crosses it: BAM. Consider it nipped – no humiliating mouth-washing required.

One final point is that it always helps to practice what you preach. A few days ago, Jack was quick to point out that “It’s really mean to say Rob Ford is an idiot,” and he was proud to give me a cleaning jar warning. My bad… but I was proud too.

Remember this:
Bad words don’t really matter, but bad intentions do. If they know the rules and know they’re breaking them, it’s probably a diss and it’s probably to push your buttons. If you respond by losing your cool, you’re asking for a repeat. Merde.

Email us or leave a comment below if you have anything to add or ask!

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