Defusing the F-bomb

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I have a young, innocent, kindergarten-age daughter, who just told her older brothers, “Shut the (blank) up.”

“Stupid” is supposed to be a bad word in our house.

I got a swear jar and charge them a dollar every time they say something offensive. Then my son thought it was funny to call a girl a “slut.” The boys laughed, until I charged them $10.

My family left a movie because it had so much obscenity. My sons protested, loudly.

I was a teacher when my boys were in elementary school. My friend is still a teacher and said I should get over it. She said kids swear all day long and they can’t police it.

There has to be a better answer.

Disgusted Teacher

Dear Teacher,

We understand your feelings. We go into schools to speak, and kids are swearing with every worst word or phrase that exists.

The bigger problem is:

How do we help our kids know who, what, when, where, why and how and to express their feelings appropriately and with civility, when popular culture is upside-down, regarding right and wrong?

Being polite is out of style. The new norm means rude and offensive is funny. Too many adults think it’s hilarious to watch foul movies and TV shows, or adopt a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do attitude.

Parents have taken to YouTube to post their babies saying bad words for their 15 minutes of fame.

Your 5-year-old child is innocent and probably doesn’t know what the word means. She probably wanted to express her angry feelings to her brothers. If her brothers laughed, it got her negative attention.

Our world is hungry for attention; however, we need to make it the right kind of attention.

Calmly take your daughter aside and ask her if she knows what the word means. Tell her you love her, but she’s using an awful word that’s unacceptable in your home. Shut down bad entertainment. This might not be popular, but do it, anyway.

We need to teach the following:

“Not in our home — not today — rudeness isn’t OK,” and mean it. Be consistent.

Ask your friend, the teacher, “If you had a hundred cockroaches running around in your classroom, would you say, ‘There’s too many, we can’t do anything.’”

Of course not, you’d get an army of pest controllers and get to it.

Ask to speak to her class and the principal. Be the example.

Bad words are ruining our vocabulary, which ruins our communication, which ruins our chances of expressing ourselves and having healthy relationships. Having healthy relationships matters the most.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri