When your kid learns a bad word

“Hey Mom, I know the ‘F’ word!”

The first time he claimed to know it, he didn’t. He blanked when I asked him and couldn’t remember it.

“Was it … fudge?”



“I don’t think so.”

“Fart?” (In my mind, this is the actual ‘F’ word.)

“No … I can’t remember.”

That was a couple of months ago. This time? He proudly told me he knew the ‘F’ word and, again, I invited him to tell me. He squared his shoulders and grinned.

“WHAT THE F**K!” he said brazenly, with exactly the right emphasis.

Oh, he knew it all right. Did I mention he is six years old?

“Where did you hear that?!” I choked, my eyes bugging out of my head. I knew, with confidence, he had not heard it from me. I’m pretty good about swearing quietly (or mentally) if the kids are around just to avoid situations like this.

“On the bus.”

The elementary school bus where the oldest kids are in Grade 5, so they’re all about 10 years old?! Yeesh.

I recovered from the shock, steadied myself and began my usual Mommy Inquisition.

Who said it? Was it a Grade 5 student? Did they get in trouble? Have you said it in front of other kids? You didn’t TEACH it to anyone, did you?!

I didn’t get a lot of information out of him. He claimed to have forgotten who taught it to him, but his eyes were flickering around in that I’m-not-being-truthful way. Fine, I get it. He doesn’t want to get this particular kid in trouble. Snitches get stitches or whatever.

So he knew the ‘F’ word — not only knew it, but knew the proper inflection and everything. Now it was one of those parenting moments that had to be handled immediately, and handled well …

How did I handle it? Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …

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