When our son was 3 or 4, it worked well enough to curb the poop talk by making him go to the bathroom whenever he talked potty talk. Not that he needed to use the bathroom, but he had to go sit there – then he could say all the potty words he wanted. Poopy, pee-pee, doo-doo, ka-ka, whatever. Knock yourself out, kiddo! Sure, these words aren’t on the FCC’s banned list, but we’ve got to have some sense of what’s unacceptable conversation.
I realize that forbidding something makes it more attractive, but no crude talk at mealtime seems reasonable.
But what about here and there around the house? Or playing outside in the yard? Or when his friends are around? Or now that he’s 7?
Why does it annoy me when he says “I smacked myself in the booty?” It’s not totally disrespectful, but it’s crass. Plus, a neighbor kid, who’s not my favorite, says it a lot. Same thing with butt, which seems a couple notches ruder.
I tell him to use other, more creative words. Then I list some. Toosh. Tooshie. Behind. Bottom. Fanny. Derriere. Hiney. Bum. And don’t forget tuchus. All of these seem completely acceptable to me. They’re words I would say in front of my own mother and even my mother-in-law.
I tell myself that I’m laying the groundwork for the years from now when he’ll want to try out swearing. I’ll need to channel my Lovely Bride – the smart one among us when it comes to big-picture parenting decisions – and tell him that an educated person knows better ways to express himself than to use common swear words. Not &#$@head but imbecile, moron, nitwit, nimrod or even pinhead. All wonderful, descriptive words, right?
It’s gotten a little better now that he’s old enough to show a little judgment. I think I’m making some headway in explaining that some kinds of talk are generally okay around his second-grade friends. Possible/questionable around Daddy. Not okay around Mommy or other grownups. Absolutely forbidden around grandparents. Seems reasonable, right?
The other day, another of my son’s buddies demonstrated his new skill: the hand-in-the-underarm fart noise trick. Charming. Maybe I’m jealous that I never learned to do that. (And now as a grownup, can I not make that noise because I have underarm hair?) I asked if his parents liked him doing this, and he said they didn’t mind. My eyebrows went up.
Enforcement on this one could be a real challenge. My rules don’t really apply to other kids when outside of my house.
“Just don’t do it around me,” I said. “It’s rude.”
Maybe if my son is old enough to learn the armpit-fart trick, he’s old enough to judge when he can do it or not.
Now what to do about my 4-year-old daughter? When we send her to the bathroom for potty talk, she giggles. She happily tromps off to the bathroom and then shouts out the window to the kids across the street.