Kids will say anything. From 2-year-olds, who will use words they don't understand, to teenagers, who will use them precisely because they know what it means in graphic detail! That's why I have decided to simply cut out certain words from our household-starting with me.
You're probably wondering why I'd like to ban this "magic word" that we love to teach our kids. It's because it's used so often and so loosely that it has lost its meaning. It truly is a magical word, the utterance of which is supposed to magically absolve the child of all mistakes and bad behaviour. It teaches them nothing about atonement. One minute they're apologising and the next they're repeating the offence. I want my children to show me that they are sorry and not say it. I will do that too. People need action, not empty words. And if a word is being used, it has to mean something.
Hate is a strong word and I truly believe that children must not be using it. The problem is that adults love to use this word and kids hear it a lot. So first I need to check myself. The word sends the wrong message about tolerance. I am now careful to say "dislike" instead of hate.
This is one of those words that no one ever likes to hear. The logic is simple--you can't simply want people to stop talking just because you don't like what they say. It puts the user in a superior, somewhat selfish position that says little about patience. I might want my children to allow me some peace, but asking them to shut up is not the way to do it.
We have all used this word and you could say that it's innocuous. Except that what's harmless for an adult may not be for a child. A child will use this to describe other children and will probably not be said in jest. Besides, it's judgmental and reeks of superiority.
It's just not a nice word to say, or to hear your kids repeat. Older kids may be exempt (only because by then you have to choose lesser of the evils and this one suddenly does not sound that bad anymore). For now, though, I will not use it and check my children if they do.
Please, please, please
I know. Banning this one sounds a bit too harsh. Don't worry, I am not turning into Amy Chua (of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother fame) just yet. This one comes with some conditions of use. The kids are free to use it once or twice. But when a particular decision is final (and this is the tricky part because that is really a matter of perspective) then supplication will not do. For my part, I will not use it to bargain for anything I want either.
We all want to be left alone sometimes, children included. However, saying "go away" is not the best way to achieve that aim. It sounds rude and has a propensity to hurt the other person. One of the great things about having siblings is that the children learn to share and adjust to each others' likes and dislikes. It teaches them a lot about co-living. So I've discouraged the use of this word in my house.
I used to use this word a fair amount until recently. Then one day, my 4-year-old said that she was irritated with her sister. It made me think about the word. And I decided to stop saying it for the sake of my kids. What might sound normal for adults sometimes seems excessive for little kids.
Children pick up words from parents, and parents can be critical at times in the presence of kids. Calling someone dumb is passing a judgment, which no one really has the right to do. Children must learn to look at people objectively and see them for their qualities rather than for their shortcomings.
I don't like to hear my kids commenting on anyone's physicality. Calling someone fat is being rude, even if it's true. And it hurts the person's self-esteem. I am often tempted to use that word, not for anyone else, but for myself. I am not, however, going to ask my husband if I am looking fat!
The golden rule about discouraging certain words is that you must not use it yourself. And if you think you are not doing it in the presence of the child and hence he will not know, you're mistaken. Children catch on. When you ban a word from the house, ban it from your own vocabulary too.