When I was anxious about M starting school I was worried if he would like it, if he would make friends, if he would be bullied and if he would learn things we didn’t want him to learn about yet.
It is inevitable that attending school teaches you far more than reading and writing. There are social skills to learn, fun facts your friends teach you and thanks to one child, several swear words.
Up until quite recently M thought saying bugger, bloody and idiot was swearing. He would whisper bloody bugger under his breath and wait for one of us to react to tell him that perhaps he shouldn’t use those words as they aren’t too nice. We aren’t perfect in our house, we have uttered the odd expletive when we’ve banged a head on a cupboard door or stubbed a toe on a dining chair. But we don’t swear in conversation and don’t have family that swear regularly either.
So it was a bit of a shock when M said F*ck, followed by sh*t then F**cking. He was swiftly told not to use the words as we navigated the best way to explain why they were wrong. But fully explaining the power of the language we use is not something that can be explained in one day. It is something we must enforce continually. That words have the power to hurt and offend. Yes some people may use them frequently, but we make sure M knows he is a lovely kind boy that doesn’t need to use such harsh words to get our attention.
But it was still something I didn’t want to hear. Something I hoped we had a few years until we heard, at least. Our awesome little man who knows more about sea creatures than I could ever know, has now added three new awful words to his vocabulary. But thankfully he’s a kind thoughtful little lad that thinks about his actions and knows not to use words to hurt someone.
I just hope they are the first and last swear words he learns for quite a while.