Speak On It: I Let My 8-Year-Old Drop F-Bombs

Do understand that the title of this Speak On It post does not refer to my own actions but to the title of the article I am discussing. Because although my children are not 8 years old, or even close to it, I will not be allowing them to curse. Period. Also understand I do not curse. I have many friends who do but I do not. And I normally do not take offense to cursing (unless it is clear the speaker is more concerned with squeezing as many profanities as humanly possible into a sentence rather than actually engaging in conversation).

The author of an article posted to the website Your Tango does allow his child to curse, on occasion apparently. The author, Tom Burns, describes how his daughter had been having a particularly difficult time and allowing her to curse seemed to help her to feel better. “I let her mark particularly bad or frustrating occasions with particularly colorful words. And it makes a difference.” I didn’t realize curse words are the only way to speak colorfully. I’ve seen this excuse used a lot to justify the use of inappropriate language. Seems rather limiting to me. It doesn’t say much for the English language if the most colorful way to express negative emotions is only with a four letter word.

Letting my daughter say “f*ck” when she’s in pain is the equivalent of taking a sad friend to a bar, buying them a drink, and sitting next to them in silence just so they know you’re there for them.” Um…but we are talking about a child and not a friend, right? Kids need parents to be role models, guides, protectors, teachers, providers, all that good stuff and more. And children are still growing up, still learning, still pushing boundaries…still maturing. Can we get back to the times when parents were parents and their children were their children and not simply friends?

Right now my oldest child gets corrected for saying “stupid” or “shut up”. Call me old school if you want, but rather than allowing him to get away with using such off-the-cuff language, I encourage him to be thoughtful, descriptive, and clear in what he is trying to say. “It was silly to me when he said that” or “talking about this bothers me” are just a couple of examples of what he is encouraged to say. As he gets older and as his language gets more and more sophisticated I will help him to use the full breadth of his language base to express himself. Because I’m not sitting at a bar with a with an old friend. I’m raising a child to know how to express and cope with feelings in an appropriate way.

Speak On It: Parents Shaming Their Kids on the Internet

shameOh, the internet. When used for the forces of good, it has brought us closer together by allowing us to converse with people literally half way around the world. But then there are the times it is used for the forces of evil.

For some reason some parents feel like the internet is a great place to post video of themselves “disciplining” their children. I can’t even stomach these videos. When I see them being shared by others I do not click through. In my opinion, it is bullying and not discipline. It is well-known the frontal lobes (area of the brain responsible for executive function, or coordinated planning and decision making) are not fully developed until the early 20s. Why some parents feel that putting a child’s mistakes on blast for the whole world to see is beyond me. I’m pretty sure those same parents would never want for their past childhood mistakes to go viral for everyone to see, garnering thousands upon thousands of likes. This article provides a great discussion of parental use of the internet to shame their children.

Please remember, our job as parents is to protect, educate, and love our children. Not to humiliate them.

Speak On It: Stomp Three Times on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Introducing a new segment on my blog I’d like to call, “Speak On It”. This is where I will briefly voice my thoughts on a topic, website, article, video, research study, or anything else really, that catches my attention (read: I can’t keep my opinion to myself on it and feel compelled to vent publicly).

I’d like to take a few moments to speak on this video. It confuses me as a parent. It confuses me even more as a therapist. I get that the point is to encourage the child to get his/her feelings out in an appropriate way. I just don’t think that stomping on the ground–a behavior often associated with tantrumming–is an appropriate coping mechanism. I would much rather see this video direct children to do isometrics or progressive muscle relaxation. This allows the child to get some of the frustration out physically without engaging in tantrum-like behavior. Of course, deep breathing should be used along with these relaxation techniques. Followed up with some good ol’ fashioned high quality labeled praise to let the child know he/she did a good job in controlling his or her frustration.

I do like Daniel Tiger’s take on potty training: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: When You Have To Go Potty

See an article or video about a topic and you want to know my opinion? Submit it below so I can Speak On It!!