Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The F Word

My daughter had a great time at camp yesterday! She went swimming, did archery, went paddle-boating, went rock-climbing, and groomed and fed horses. She also managed to lose her cute shorts! After swimming was finished, she forgot what shorts she was wearing, so she pulled her back-up pants out of her backpack and went on with her day. When the camp warned us to label everything, they weren't kidding! She also made a new friend, so it's good to know that she's not just hanging with the kids she already knows. All-in-all, she had a great day.

However, after my husband came home from work, our daughter went up to him and asked him what the F-word was. She went on to say that her new friend at camp told her that there was a really bad word that began with "F," and that she wasn't allowed to say it. My daughter was hoping to pry the word out of my husband since her new friend wouldn't tell her the word. "C'mon, I REALLY want to know what the word is," she pleaded with her daddy. My husband was at a loss on what to say. He didn't want to lie to her, but he didn't want to tell her the word either.

When they joined me in the kitchen, and my husband told me what was up, I wasn't much help. I think I snickered a bit. My daughter thought the F-word might have been "fart." We told her that while that was not a nice name to call somebody, it wasn't a bad word.

After my daughter left the room, my husband and I conferred. I was adamant about not telling her the F-word. I was sure she will learn it from one of her friends, but I'd rather it be from a peer than from us! I don't want to be known as the mom who tells her kids dirty words. No way, no how!

Later, when we were tucking our daughter into bed, she again expressed that she wanted to know what the F-word was. My husband handled this beautifully. First, he told her that if there was one place you could hit somebody and hurt them really badly, he wouldn't share this information with her because he would never want her to know how to hurt another person. For the same reason, he wasn't going to tell her what the F-word is because it can hurt somebody's feelings, and he would never want to be responsible for teaching her something that could hurt somebody's feelings. Our daughter understood this and hasn't brought up the subject again, thank goodness!

Ironically, she did go through a period when she did know the word and used it a lot around me! Three years ago, when she was three, we went on vacation to San Diego. People around us were dropping the F-bomb pretty often, and I must have had some kind of look on my face because she quietly noticed and was able to understand the impact of the word. A few days after we came back from vacation, I heard her start saying the F-word! She only did it around me and only in the house. At first, I tried to ignore it, but after hearing her say it a few times, I couldn't resist. I asked her what she was saying meant. She thought about it for awhile, then said, "Mama Mia!" I told her that was right, but Mama Mia was a nicer term that she should use. She continued to drop the F-bomb, so I then ignored it, and she stopped using it after a couple of weeks.

Something tells me she's going to learn it again really soon. Ya gotta love camp!


  1. Camp - and school - would be so much nicer if it weren't for the other kids! LOL Sounds like you and your husband handled it beautifully!

  2. Z hasn't learned that one yet. Luckily. His bad words have all been minor and easily explained what the word means and why it is ok in some contexts, but not others - like Hell or damn or the b word - which he learned from a show about dogs - and he had no idea it wasn't ok to use that word even if you were all pretending to be dogs. It has been working for us because we haven't made any words off limits, we just let him know that people don't like to hear those words so he doesn't use them. But I DO NOT want to have to explain what the F word means and why you don't ever use it. You all did good.

  3. I will be using your husband's approach if it ever comes up (again) with Audrey.

    "Mama Mia" is a much more polite substitute! With the additional advantage of being bilingual.

    Don't let anyone call you Princess Worster in her presence, or you'll be explaining that too!

  4. That is a really nice way to handle it...way to go! That seems to really have much more of an impact than just saying it's a bad word, i think I'll use that whenever we cross that bridge :)

  5. Wow, your husband really pulled through! What a wonderful way to explain that to her! I wish my son didn't know it, but being he's a junior, that's no where near possible. In his fits of rage I'm a "F------B----!"
    Awesome she had such a great time at camp! :D

  6. Wait. What is the F- word. Do tell.

  7. Your husband handled that one very well!

    My mom thought Chloe picked it up, but she was just saying "frog".

  8. You made the right choice in not telling her. That's what school buses are for.

  9. I loved how your husband handled this. When she does relearn it someday soon, you can remind her of that conversation to explain why it's not such a great word to use. Well played, Dad. Well played indeed.

  10. wow, your husband really handled it well. i'll keep this in mind for the day that my son would start questions like this...

  11. oh my! lol I personally haven't dealt with the F-Bomb with my kids yet.. but my best gal pal had the school call her once b/c her 7yr old son was saying the F word at school - over and over again. Now, they are Mormon.. they NEVER cuss. Her son kept explaining that it was just a nonsense word! He just made it up! You should've heard the vast conversation it took to convince him it WAS a bad word and he shouldn't say it. lol

    It sounds like she had a great time at camp! Sucks about the lost shorts!