If you’ve never heard your kid say a bad word, there might be a problem.
If you’re any kind of a parent, there are certain words that you don’t want your small children exposed to. You don’t want them to hear these words. You don’t want them to say these words.
That needs to change.
Sooner or later, your kids are going to hear bad things. You can send them to the finest Christian school, you can make sure that they play sports only offered in church settings and you can shut them off from television, movies and music. But none of that will be enough.
It won’t be enough because, no matter how hard you try, your kids will end up spending time with other kids who are babysat by House of Cards and Kanye’s last album while mommy has her Me Time. And what those kids hear, they’re going to want to share. More and more, that sharing seems to be happening at an early age.
The kids who are molded by those babysitters I just mentioned are going to think that they are experts. To your kids, they are going to come across like they’ve got some kind of secret information on how the world really works. That’s where your job comes in. One of the most important roles of parents is to convince their children that the friends they hang out with don’t really know anything.
We have a policy at our house. We want our kids to cuss.
Don’t get me wrong. We don’t want them blurting out a line of words that would make Eminem blush whenever they come home with a bad grade. But when they come home with a new word, we want to hear it. It’s one of the most frequent questions we ask our children at the end of each day.
“Did you hear any words today that you don’t know what they mean?”
The answers can be quite hilarious. Like when your son nervously tells you that he thinks he heard a dirty word.
“Well, what was it?”
You try to hold back the laughter and explain that there’s nothing wrong with the word duty.
But other times, the answers will be disturbing. Your kid, in answering your question, just cussed at you! You’ll want to find out where he heard the word from so that you can pour soap on the kid who taught it to your son as well as the parent and/or television show and/or drug dealer who taught it to that kid. And then you’ll want to punish your kid for daring to use such a word.
Instead, as is appropriate for his age and the situation, explain to him what it means. Tell him why it’s wrong. Explain to him why words matter and that they are an extension of the heart (Mark 7:1-23; James 3:1-12).
Our goal as parents is not to merely keep our kids from the wrong words. Nor is it to inform them of what those words mean. Instead, our job is to train their hearts and minds to process information through a gospel filter. Your kids, no matter how sheltered they may be, are surrounded by a lot of information. They’re going to need to know how to differentiate between the garbage and the truth. In order to do that, they’ll need a fixed standard by which they can judge all the information that comes before them.
Mom and dad, you need to be that fixed standard.
If it’s not you, it will likely be one of your child’s peers who is frequently babysat by Kanye and House of Cards. And you won’t like the results.
So talk to your kids. Ask them questions. Create an environment where they are comfortable coming to you with the confusing information that surrounds them. But start this early. If you don’t make your self available to them when they’re nine, don’t expect them to make themselves available to you when they become teenagers.
There is something worse than a kid who uses a cuss word in front of his parents.
It’s a kid who simply absorbs as gospel truth all of the words and information around him because he’s too scared to talk to his parents about it.