Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All right, I'm back.... Here's a freakin' blog post for ya.

"Mommy," Chickie told me yesterday, "I want an apple cut in slices."

"Okay," I replied. "You want me to cut it up?"

"Yeah," she said. "I want it in slices because I don't want to eat the freakin' core. I don't want to eat the freakin' core. Freakin' core. I like saying freakin' core. Freakin' core...."

It was at about this time that I escaped into the laundry room to let out my laughter, Chickie's "freakin' core" repetitions following me the whole way. I called The Engineer to giggle a little...and to suggest that we be a little more careful what we say around our kids.

I returned to the kitchen and had a friendly discussion with my four-year-old. "'Freakin'' just isn't a very nice word for kids to say," I told her, "and I'm sorry Mommy and Daddy have said it." I gave her "darn" as an alternative. She complied, calling it a "darn it core."

I posted the little exchange on Facebook, and it caused an interesting discussion, which I've pasted here:

Jeff (a theatre friend):
When did "freakin'" go from euphamism to "not nice word"? Perhaps not having kids I don't get these memos.

Mellodee (a friend who also happens to be a great blogger):
Nrth and Jeff: I think that what tips the scales on what words are or are not acceptable for kids is the age factor of the kid and the severity (offensiveness??) of the word NOT being said.

Many of the substitutes have become part of the common lexicon, i.e., absolutely nothing offensive about darn or gosh (originally substitutes for d*mn and God). They have become common on their own merit. Freakin', however, hasn't reached that status. It is still a substitute for the "F-word" and everybody knows it! A four year old should have absolutely no idea what that word means, connotates, or describes! That's what makes it a word you don't want to hear from kids....

Mellodee (again):

That's supposed to say Beth and Jeff! My 'freakin' fingers were on the wrong "freakin' keys!!! :)

Linda--Your explanation is freakin' brilliant. :)

And I think Nrth is acceptable as a euphemism for Beth.

So where's the line on what our kids should or shouldn't say? Well, that line needs to be drawn by parents, depending on their sensitivities, convictions, culture, the child's age, etc. For us, the line falls between "darn" and "freakin'," at least while our kids are young.

I must admit though, whatever its level of inappropriateness, Chickie's resolute statements about an apple core today were hilarious. Freakin' hilarious.

(Guess I'll have to be more careful what I type when Chickie learns to read....)


The Clines said...

LOL. Marisa has said "freakin" this or that a few times too. I've told her the same thing you told Chickie, but inwardly I was laughing!

Autumn said...

I freakin love the word freakin!! It's just so cute in my opinion!! But yeah I don't let my kids say it either, not because I think it's a bad word or want them thinking it's a bad word but because I don't want it to accidentaly offend others who may see (or hear?) it as bad.

By the way there's an award for you on my blog. :)

Unknown said...

I couldn't believe my Google Reader when I saw it!! I was like...huh? It's amazing what kiddos pick up on. My "cowboy" has picked up that word in the past too. I have to keep myself from giggling and tell him the same thing you did...all the while scolding myself for not being a better model to follow! If she's like Cowboy it's too cute though b/c it comes out like "fweakin"! ;-)

Call Me Cate said...

After being very thoroughly scolded by an elder for weighing in on a parenting issue when I'm not a parent and have absolutely no right to speak (do you see my eyes rolling out of my head?), I'd have to say it's up to a combination of what the parents are comfortable but also respecting societal boundaries.

I was once taken aback by a 3-yo I was babysitting and he had the dirtiest mouth I've ever heard on a kid. When I told him those weren't very nice words to say, his big sister said their parents were okay with it. This seemed doubtful to me so I checked with the parents. Yep, they were fine with it, not a problem! Except tell that to the parents of the other kids at swim lessons, in the store, etc.

Also, and I'm horrible about this myself, regardless of the word, I think it's about intent. And substituting a lesser word is still conveying the idea. On one hand, less offensive, on the other, the intent hasn't changed so is it really?

Interesting freakin' post, Beth. I'm going to need to figure out just which words to teach my nephew next week.

headscratching said...

Yeah, freakin' is pretty hard core for her age. Better stick to friggin' for now.

headscratching said...

Seriously, though. It is interesting to me how often I see the word "effin" in mainstream print now...although you hardly ever see "F'n" except on junior highers' MySpace pages.

Tiffany said...

Lol that's funny...but only because It came from your four year old and not mine. In all seriousness though we've had these incidents at our house to. DH language etiquette generally goes straight out the window when he's talking with guys from work on the phone or talking about work to me.

Anonymous said...

Funny! I agree freakin is a bit too close to the f-word, especially when coming out of little one's mouths.

Anonymous said...

Funny! I agree freakin is a bit too close to the f-word, especially when coming out of little one's mouths.

Unknown said...

Too funny..."Freaking" hasn't really hit the Diva household yet. However, Manimal uses "dangit" in the funniest ways. As in, "Mommy, can you give me a dangit drink?" Probably not the best thing for a four year-old to be saying, but it is funny!

Mellodee said...

Aw gee, I guess you really did like my explanation!! I'm glad!

Dani said...

What a cute kid!

I have something for you on my blog! :)

Unknown said...

My 7 year old knows the difference between bad words and words that are not nice words. (freakin, suck, crap, shutup - none of those were allowed in my mother's house and they aren't allowed in mine, even though I say them out of the house when he isn't around ha ha).
Funny story though - last night he had a toy that said "hello gorgeous!" when you push a button. He pushed it over and over quickly enough to make it say "hell-..hell-..hell-.." with a mischievous grin on his face. He was intentionally making the toy say a bad word! I was so shocked I used his full name! He said "But mom I'm not saying it, he is!" I have to admit it made me laugh but I told him he was still responsible because he was causing the toy to say it.
Wow parenting is never boring, that's for sure.
Shelley (@Shelley_2 on twitter)

Becky said...

The "f" word came out of my 4-year-old's mouth recently too. Thankfully it was the "freakin'" version and not the other one. I had a hard time not laughing, too, but I managed to keep a straight face as I said, "You know, that's a word some people don't like to hear, but you know what you can say when you get really mad...fudgesicles! He giggled over that and I haven't heard the "freakin" word since. Unfortunately, right now the words "poop" and "dumb" are very popular in our house at the moment and both kids regularly use those words at least 100 times a day each. And THOSE freakin' words they didn't learn from me but I'm sure from their daycare friends. Ugh.