Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
It’s been cold this winter. Really cold. So when I went to grab my husband’s soda, the diaper bag, my toddler, my car keys, and my cell phone, I was very surprised when I tripped over some snow and poured half the soda on the outside of our car. It froze almost instantly. “Shit!” was my response, and Hallie agreed. She looked at the mess, looked at me, and said “shit!”, too. Sigh. I couldn’t even be mad. I cleaned it up as best I could with some snow, and looked at Hallie as if, yup, she was totally right.
To curse or not to curse.
We are at a crossroads with our toddler’s development. We can either choose to censor ourselves, or choose to reprimand her saying what she hears. The first is not likely, because Louis and I are not saints. Even with the best of intentions, “bad words” are going to slip out. And the second just sounds hypocritical. I can say it but Hallie can’t?
What’s the real problem here?
The real problem is society has already told Hallie what she’s allowed to say. Who she’s allowed to be. How she’s supposed to dress. It may only be a few words, but it’s the beginning of the foundation that I choose to lay for her. What battle am I going to fight with her? When it comes to all of the challenges that we are going to face, whether Hallie says “shit” or not, is definitely not a priority.
Teaching respect is more important.
Of course, I do discourage Hallie from using profanity. I do use the hypocritical statement that only mommy or daddy or whatever adult can say those words. That those words aren’t for babies, because really, they aren’t. But once Hallie gets older, I might not be too concerned. What I will be concerned about, is how respectful my daughter is. In comfortable spaces, I want Hallie to feel like she can express herself however she chooses, and that includes the language she wants to use. However, in mixed company or at the grocery store, Hallie will need to understand that she can’t be dropping F-bombs. Hallie will also learn that I will let her tell me what a dick someone is being at school, but that she will never, ever, be allowed to refer to a member of family in a disrespectful tone or phrase.
I want Hallie to know strong language.
I’m raising a daughter, which unfortunately, means Hallie needs to be on the defensive. I want Hallie to know that if someone approaches her that makes her uncomfortable, she can tell them to fuck off. I want Hallie to know that sometimes strong language will be necessary to get her point across, because people won’t take her seriously otherwise. Being a well-behaved, kindhearted, respectful person does not have anything to do with whether Hallie uses profanity.
Hallie is young still, so I’m not saying much about her use of “bad words”. We say a gentle “no-no”, only because Hallie isn’t old enough to refrain from saying those things at school. When she is older, we will have a better conversation about her language, but it still won’t be as important as other talks we’ll end up having. In the midst of raising a daughter, “shit” is just a small blip on the radar of motherhood.