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Does Preschool Frown Upon 4 Year Olds Who Curse?

Photo by: iStock

My daughter turned four last week but has been speaking like a thirty-five year old since she was two. She is full of ‘IT’, whatever ‘it’ is, and she knows it.

She walked pretty early, she talked very early, and she rolled over early. The only thing she didn’t do early was potty train, and that was mostly because I was unmotivated and not averse to changing poop diapers. Anything she does pretty much makes her brother look like an uncoordinated, giggling potato, because she is an advanced know-it-all, and he is, well, kind of a potato.

Her latest milestone happened today. It had to do with using words in context. She’s great at that. She heard Kwazi say ‘What in the seven seas?!?!’ on Octonauts last year and used it in context Christmas morning to express her surprise at a gift. She heard me tell her brother ‘I liked the way you asked!’ and then said it to him in a sickeningly sweet, yet passively condescending, way. She is a master of context.

As I got out of the shower this morning I heard her having a fit downstairs and when she came into the bathroom where I was getting ready, I asked her about it. She said that Daddy got mad because she’d said a bad word. I didn’t ask her because I was wet and tired, and didn’t feel equipped to deal with a lone ‘shit’ or ‘asshole’ at that moment.

When I got downstairs I asked my husband and he said that she was pretending to be late for a tea party and said ‘damn’ and ‘Jesus’ in pretend frustration. Does a pretend Jesus really even qualify as bad language? Probably. Damn.

After a quick play-by-play, we assigned responsibility for ‘damn’ to my husband and I copped to ‘Jesus’ (and pretend Jesus). Neither of us is a horrible curser in general, but we mumble certain things or say them when we think the kids are not listening, and apparently they pick them up.

We agreed that this wasn’t going to go down well at Episcopal preschool in the fall and I told him I would take the conferences as long as I could place the blame on him in his absence. He agreed to this win/win situation, and we both decided to curb our language and be firm with her about it now to try and nip it in the bud.

Off we went to a fun day of cleaning our old house for new renters, while both kids stayed with Grammy and Grampy for the day (also known as: a date for people with kids). Apparently the kids were ass clowns and monsters all day and my parents skidaddled as quickly as they could when we got home. We got only a quick recap of the worst of it as they dashed for the door.

Later I got an email from my mom letting me know that my daughter had said “Oh, God, this scab on my knee is killing me.” My mother appreciated that this might not be the best language for a four year old, and gave her some alternatives such as: “oh, gosh”, “oh, golly” or “oh, goodness”. Liana considered the options and said “Oh, Jesus, this scab on my knee is killing me” instead.

Well, it’s good to know that she is willing to try alternatives.

I think I need a good dose of “gee whilikers” and “aww shucks” thrown into my vocabulary to try and derail this soon-to-be-preschool-train-wreck ASAP. I have to do something to stop real or pretend Jesus from showing up at 4 year old preschool when my daughter is frustrated about a recess delay or an underwhelming snack.

We’ll start by curbing our own language and some time outs won’t hurt either. I’ll replace my exclamations with “Golly, gee whiz’s” and “Holy moley’s”. My exasperation will come out as “Nuts!”, “Fudge!” and “Fiddlesticks!”. I’ll have her sounding like Beaver Cleaver by preschool if it’s the last thing I do -damnit- DARN it.

Susan blogs at Pecked To Death By Chickens, her humor blog, though occasionally she’ll author a poignant post revealing her soft underbelly (a euphemism AND a literal description). Susan also helps other bloggers get featured on the websites they aspire to, via her blog resource site Beyond Your Blog. You can find Susan wandering aimlessly on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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