I’m about to say something that I know will probably get me the side-eye from you: I don’t censor the world or myself around my kids.
So what do I mean by this? Well, I don’t make an effort to monitor the language used in front of my children, be it music, conversation, etc. My family does tend to primarily listen to Christian music in the car and at home. We also primarily watch kid shows together. There is not a lot to censor there.
However, I do tend to have a bit of a potty mouth at times.
I might drop an “F-Bomb” here or there, or blurt out the “s-word” when I drop something or hurt myself. Yes, I’ve done this in front of my littles. The thing is, I’m not one to quickly correct myself or apologize for saying those words.
They do understand that the words that mom may say, are for grown-ups and instead choose other phrases. They say things such as “Chicken Nuggets” or “Shoot” when they are expressing themselves. My husband and I want my boys to know self-expression and know that there are times they need to watch what they are saying. I also want them to know that there are places where they don’t need to censor themselves. I want home to be a safe place where they don’t have to watch every little thing that they say or do.
We do listen to some music that does have choice language in the lyrics. My boys tend to insert different words for adult words and move on. They know that those words are not for them.
I don’t censor the world around them by refusing to shy away from certain conversation topics.
My husband and I will talk politics and social justice in front of our children. I firmly believe that they should be exposed to those ideas, even if they don’t quite understand the magnitude of what is being said. After all, a child of color is not ever shielded from the topic of race, so I don’t feel that I should shield my children just because they are white. I want them to be aware of the injustices and hardships that happen in a greater frequency to their peers of color, as I want them to be aware of the privilege that they carry.
We openly talk about bodily functions in our home, and we name body parts by their scientific names.
There are no pet names for their privates. This is for several reasons. One reason is so that they are comfortable talking with us about their bodies. I want my children to know that I am a safe harbor and that they can always talk to me. Also, research shows that children who are able to label their privates with anatomically correct names can aid in helping prevent sexual abuse and if it is happening, allow for it to be reported at a faster rate due to anyone being able to understand exactly what they are saying when they use the anatomical terms. Plus, it empowers them when it comes to their own bodies. If they are able to label things correctly, they are better able to communicate.
I know what some are thinking.
They are just kids, let them be kids. Don’t expose them to those kinds of things.
Believe me, I get that this isn’t everyone’s preference. I do censor myself for other children I am around unless other parents are okay with my language.
Here is what I have seen though: kids are going to get exposed to all these things. Personally, I want to control what I can possibly control. Let’s face it–that isn’t a whole lot when it comes to what our children will see and hear in the world outside of our homes. I can either be the one to do it in a way that immediately places boundaries and is controlled in how much and what gets through, or I can take a chance that it will come from somewhere else.
That is why, at the end of the day, I don’t censor myself.
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