K.E. asks from Phoenix, AZ on December 22, 2007
Family and Foul Language
The holidays are approaching and I have a bit of an issue. I was raised in a household that did not use foul language so the children learned by example that bad words were not appropriate. My husband and I are trying to do the same for our 6 month old son. My problem is his family members don't sensor themselves at all. We haven't discussed this with them yet but are getting together with them soon and I would like to make it be known that I want them to watch their mouths. Any thoughts on how to bring this up and/or a way to ask them to be respectful of our wishes?
M.A. answers from Denver on December 23, 2007
Sometimes my husbands friends can be a bit crass. We just approach it with humor to them when they slip up around our kids. I don't know if you have seen the movie Old School, but "earmuffs" is what they said around kids. Anyway, if his friends say something we don't want the kids to say my husband says, "all you have to say is earmuffs." (this means kids cover your ears). Anyway the guys always laugh and apologize for their behavior. Then they get it from then on that we don't like that kind of language around our kids. If that particular line doesn't work you could say something tounge and cheek like, "that will be interesting when little Johnny repeates that on the playground". Hopefully they will get it. No one wants to be told what to do so I find humor is a good way to tackfully approach things. Good Luck!
1 mom found this helpful
C.S. answers from Las Vegas on December 23, 2007
I feel ya on this one. Although my FIL does not use bad words in front of our little one, he is a very negative person and a rather free spirit...he says what he wants. When the baby was very little, he started saying things to her about her "No good Grandmother" and not to listen to her mean mother. I corrected him and he got very upset and asked what was wrong with that because he was joking and he could joke if he wanted to. I tried to reason with him, but he didn't want to hear it.
He started out with a lot of visits, but with my strong personality and his do as you please personality, it is not working. He no longer visits on a regular basis. I really wanted my little one to have a good relationship with him, but I feel there is enough negativity in the world without it being taught in the home. I tried to tell him I would never teach her anything negative about him, however again, he didn't want to hear it.
I also ran into a problem in the preschool parking lot. A mom was yelling at her kid telling her to sit on her @$$ and shut the #&!! up. I kind of yelped and said, "Hey I have a little one out here" but she kepted yelling at the poor kid (probably a 6 year old). So I mentioned she might watch her mouth around other peoples kids and she yelled at me too. I could care less that she yelled at me, but atleast she goes straight to her car now without all the garbage coming out of her mouth.
It is your child and if you have to, I would just cut the visit short. They may not even realize it is something that bothers you and a simple reminder is all you need. As well, many people think that at 6 months old children don't know anything...how wrong they are.
Best of luck.
S.W. answers from Phoenix on December 23, 2007
This is what I told my family when my son was that age: "You can say all the bad language now, but in a few months you're going to have to watch what you say."
That seemed to work and I would give friendly reminders about a baby in the house who likes to repeat words. They got the hint without me having to be rude.
At 6 months old, you're at the perfect stage to let everyone know your thoughts on foul language and give them time to adjust.
Hope that helps.
D.D. answers from Phoenix on December 22, 2007
I can totally empathize! I was raised in a family that also did not use offensive language. Unfortunately, those words are a regular part of my husband's vocabulary (we've been working on it!) and also of his family's. What we did is tell his family (and anyone else) that our son is a sponge and has a tendency to repeat anything he hears, and we'd really rather not have him using any offensive language. His family was pretty receptive to that. However, we did have to ask one brother to be better about watching his mouth or leave our home once. We're not terribly concerned with offending any of them by asking them to stop using offensive language, because we feel it's so important that our son not use it. So we set a very clear boundary without making any apologies or letting it slide. You'll have to do it in a way that makes you comfortable, but my advice is to be as direct and clear as possible. Coming right out and saying, "Please watch your mouths around my son because he is a sponge who can and will repeat anything he hears," seems perfectly respectful to me.
J.D. answers from Las Vegas on December 22, 2007
Our family also have a "no cussing" policy in our home. However I have a friend who really can get quite loose with her language (as can her children now, sadly) and I've found that even though she tries to abide by our wishes when shes around us, she does occasionally 'slip up', which, even one time, can be pretty harmful if our children are around. So we decided that if this goes on, even once, our family removes ourselves from the situation. We go home if we're at someones home, or we ask our friend to leave. In a polite way, "We have something to do," or, "Nap time". The horrid thing about cussing is these words seem to stick on kids like glue! So I would be really REALLY clear that this is MY house, therefore MY rules. And those rules DO NOT bend at all. If they can't stop, I would suggest not having any gathering in your home. Maybe theres someone elses house where you can "gather"? So that if cussing becomes part of the conversation, you can leave. HTH :)
C.W. answers from Santa Fe on December 25, 2007
Honestly, Your child will pay most attention to you and your husband, and how you speak, more so than other people. Keep an attitude of kindness, and non judgment, and you and your family will be just fine. As much as we want to keep our children sheltered from many unacceptable things in life, they will learn from you what is good and what is not so good.
Wishing you Peace, Health, Courage, and Inspiration.
M.M. answers from Tucson on December 23, 2007
I was raised in household that did use foul language, but my mom always tols me that those words were "grown-up words." If you call them "bad words" that leaves room for cunfusion about whether those family members who use the words are bad too. Calling them grown-up words helps the child understand that kids don't use those words, but adults can choose to or not to use them.
If possible, ask your husband to remind his family that your little guy will be talking soon and you don't want him hearing that language. Maybe you can slip a little cuss word into your conversation, then catch yourself and make a big deal about it..."Oh, I better be careful, I don't want the baby to learn that word!" Maybe they will get the hint. :) Good luck!
L.W. answers from Tucson on December 24, 2007
Hi there! We also have a no cussing rule in our household...and when one of our children say a "dirty word", they get their mouth washed out with soap. (Actually, I just put a tiny bit of soap in their mouth with the reminder that dirty words need to be cleaned out...)
But, unfortunately, you can't do that with other people...They have their own guidelines.
Something interesting that my kids and I have stumbled across is this link about a kid that started a "No Cussing" club. The rap song is catchy and it gets the message across nicely. My kids have taken to singing the song whenever they hear cussing.
As to what to do with relatives and other people around your young child, a simple and polite reminder is good. You cannot guarantee that they will abide by your wishes, but at least make them known...It can be awquard (sp) at first when you request that they do not cuss around your child, but they will respect your wishes or at least know that you are sincere about it and will try not to cuss around them...
Just remember, you cannot keep foul language away from your child, they will eventually hear it all...but you can limit it's impact and frequency by the words you choose and by letting your friends and family know your expectations...
Hope this helps.