The three of us are in the car running errands and a swear word is heard on a podcast we are listening to. I can hear my son's gasp of breath from the back seat.
So, I start talking to him about swear words. We talk about why people use them, and how they aren't polite, and then I ask him if he knows any. He says he does. I tell him that he is not going to get in any trouble for saying them so we can talk about them. I ask him to tell me one word he knows.
In the smallest voice ever from the back of the car, he slowly spells it out, "effff-youuuu-see-kay."
OK. Let's start with that one then. Does he know what it means? No. Has he ever heard Mommy or Daddy say it? No. Where has he heard it? Kids at school. Would he ever say it? No.
We go through that one, as well as the three other ones that he spells out: "dick," "shit" and "hell." The last one takes a little longer to explain, because we don't really consider it an impolite word, but it can be used in an impolite way. We wrap up the conversation by reminding our son that there are lots of times that he will hear people use these words - mostly in frustration or out of meanness when someone doesn't have the right words to say. We also remind him that if he knows a lot of words to express his feelings that he can say in public.
During the discussion, I praised my son for his honesty with us, because he knows the words are "bad" even though we tried to stress impolite over forbidden. The whole conversation was a good way to remind him that he can talk to us about things in a way that won't get anyone in trouble, but would help answer any questions he has (not to mention clear up kid rumors, which abound in school).
I love that my son is still so honest with me, even about weird subjects like this one. It is funny, as a few smaller studies are showing that people who swear are more honest than people who don't. I've read that study a few times, and still think the same thing: Sometimes there is a good reason to think before you speak.
What was the first swear word you heard your child say? How did you react? Tell me in the comments.