We have all been told by our parents, neighbors, and teachers, if you don't have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all. This has been a pretty easy rule to abide by. Most of us have filters that tend to help out when unnecessary or unwanted words want to slip out of our mouths. Let me tell you though, this rule sucks when you have kids.
The other day, my almost 3-year-old took it upon herself to take a bright red crayon to our pale gray walls. That's right, red crayon on a gray wall. It stuck out like a sore thumb and was at least five feet long on one wall. That's when everything went downhill. My filter took a vacation and before I had a chance to catch it, I called her a name I wished I hadn't. I called her a butt hole.
I’m crazy, but not that crazy. This really is a big deal. Kids are very intuitive and they learn things quicker than you could imagine. Right now is the prime time to work on letters, colors, shapes and numbers. There's a reason why Dora is such an influential show. Kids at this age can learn and adapt to foreign languages pretty easily. Kids go from not knowing a single word to knowing every word you don’t want them to know, in a matter of days. So, I called my toddler a butt hole. I'm waiting for it to come back and bite me. She’s going to repeat it and it’s only a matter of time. I’m waiting for the church teacher to pull me aside, in a few weeks, and give me a guilt trip about this particular word. After all, more than likely, my kid’s filter probably won’t stop the word from coming out in Sunday school.
In the few minutes after the “bad word” came out, I didn’t feel any remorse. In fact, no emotion of the sort came until after I was already in bed for the night. It hit me like a ton of bricks crashing over me like waves. I genuinely felt bad. She didn’t understand what butt hole meant. She still doesn’t understand. She understood when I said it, that it was a new word, and that the new word meant something bad.
She’s recovered. There won’t be any therapy sessions or social workers at our house. She isn’t going to be traumatized. There will be no nightmares over this whole fiasco. Hopefully, she’s already forgotten the whole incident. My luck, she really is going to repeat it at the most inopportune moment. When it happens, I’m not sure if I will laugh or if I will be mortified. Of course I have beaten myself silly over the word. Butt hole- it’s only letters long yet I am offended by all eight letters.
As soon as I said out loud that I was mad at myself for calling her a name, I realized how incredibly ridiculous that sounded. Did I mean to call her that? Yes. Could I have picked a better word? Absolutely. Yet, why are we all so offended to tell the truth? Everyone is offended by everything. Don’t dare go on Facebook and post a different opinion about something. You’ll be blasted, get death threats and will possibly not feel safe walking outside your home.
I want my kids to know when I’m mad. I want them to know where the line is. There is no reason parents should walk on egg shells to not offend their kids. I’m not justifying that you can drop a few four and five letter words every time you’re mad at your 3-year-old, I’m saying if your kid is being a butt hole, let them know. Maybe even try the gentle parenting approach, and say, “Hey, I really don’t appreciate how you’re acting right now, maybe take it down a notch.” However, if it doesn’t work, and you accidentally call your kid a butt hole, you’re going to be okay.
So when you have nothing nice to say, maybe it’s because there really isn’t a nice way to say what you’re thinking. It’s not going to kill you to call your kid a butt hole. It’s not going to kill you to sit down and realize that your 3-year-old might just be the devil. If calling your kid a not so nice name is the worst thing that happens to you today, you should chalk that up to being a great day.