Parenting help!

Some times I wonder if I am a minority.

A minority who feels that as a parent we need to guide our children and stop them when they do the wrong things. Ok, most parents would be with me on that. Let me try and put it better. The guidelines deciding what is wrong and what is acceptable seems to be the problem area. Foul language, for instance. I came across a 10-11 year old using ‘WTF’ very easily. Not once, but three times. I moved away from there after that, but she said it so casually, it certainly did not look like she was saying it for the first time. It shocked me, to say the least.

How do you guys handle bad language? I discussed with a few parents here and they seemed quite relaxed about it. And that, alarmed me, to be honest.

Is it alright to just ignore it because we cannot ‘control it’ or ‘control the children’? Or because if we stop them, they might use it more to just annoy us? Or they would use it anyway, when we are not around, so why even bother?

I was flabbergasted by these responses… How can we as parents look the other way? And why is it thought of as controlling? Surely children will understand if we explain to them, rather than getting cross at them? Surely we don’t need to ‘control’ so much as we need to guide. And surely are we not assuming the worst of our children and not giving them the chance to be better people?

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55 thoughts on “Parenting help!

    • I wonder too, TGND. Because I cannot believe that we can pretend that such things don’t happen… or that it will happen no matter what you do, so lets not do anything.

  1. I guess some parents these days think saying all bad words in english is a trend and it shows that their kids know english..But honestly I am shocked to know that parents are so cool about it.Also I have noticed kids talking openly about girlfriends/boyfriends/kiss and all such stuff 😦

    • Bad words in all languages seem to be fine 😦 And I don’t understand why? I mean, are we not guilty of guiding our children? Or am I being dense, I don’t know…

  2. It is a very strict and big NO, and I won’t hesitate to give them a sound whack where it hurts them the most!!
    It is not a matter of whether they will do it when we are not there, it is plainly instilling a sense of what is right and wrong. None of us are saints, we have also crossed the limits several times, what is important is we knew the limits and that is what matters the most.

    I could go on and on πŸ˜›

  3. All I know is a couple of experiences in public places have got me in the habit of refraining myself from talking/advising to the kids/ children in the building garden because of their rude behaviour and use of fowl language. Their attitude of answering back upsets me to no bounds. And the saddening fact is atleast in north India some parents just don’t care in fact they take pride considering their kids to be street smart.

    Whenever I become a parent polite is what I want my kid to be, no matter what.

    • OHW, I think that is common across the country. I see parents looking the other way and ignoring bad behaviour. Unless the parents define good and bad behaviour, how on earth are the children supposed to pick all this up!

  4. I’m completely with you on this Smitha. It shocks me to hear the F word spoken so casually. As for my kids even ‘Shit’ is out of bounds. (I have to confess i had to practice hard to get it out of my vocabulary and I’ve done so very successfully:-)). Till recently they were in the ‘aap’ phase. Of late i hear the ‘tum’ and the ‘tu’. They certainly will have another vocabulary for their friends and another one for their parents/teachers/grownups and I’m okay with that. But I won’t stop correcting them ever and I hope that’ll ensure they never get confortable with the real bad words. The important thing is for them to KNOW what is right and what is wrong.,, what is acceptable and what is absolutely not.

    • I couldn’t agree more, OM! The important thing is for them to know what’s wrong and unacceptable. They might still experiment when we are not around, but I’d like to believe that they will not cross the limits if they understand what’s right and wrong.

    • Thats the thing, isn’t it? Knowing their limits. If we don’t take the effort to let them know their limits, they wouldn’t even know if they cross them, right?

  5. I guess the moment you hear some of such words you stop them… one day I was playing with junior and his school buddy and I heard him call him Harami ! and I was raged ! I reacted instantly by holding him with his ear and asked him to apologise… when I got my senses back at night we talked about how he must not use bad language… that how to speak with love and respect… etc… We can’t just leave it at that can we ?!

    • Exactly my point. We need to stop them at the first instance and explain to them why its not right. I am sure that they will understand if we try in the right way. I’m sure your son, now understands why it is inappropriate.

    • Hitchy, another thing is parental involvement. I’m not sure if its an apartment thing, but I feel that parental involvement is far lesser in such environments where the parents feel that the children are safe to be let loose… Or maybe its just me reading too much into it.

    • Haha, no wait! I really don’t understand this about parents, lol! You talk about teaching them to treat people with love and respect, and you hold his ear and force him to apologize to someone? That’s nor respect either, is it? It’s just forcing your opinion on him.

      Sorry, I don’t mean to offend you. I’m not a parent and I know it must be a tough job. Just don’t see the logic in some things parents do. I’m not questioning the intentions, just the methods.

      • If you read Hitchy’s comment, you will see that it was an instantaneous reaction. Later he spoke to his child and explained why it was wrong. And it was certainly not ‘ forcing his opinion’. I as a parent would not want my child using language like that either. Is that my opinion? I would call it my parenting principle. Some things that, I as a parent, hold dear.

        • That’s what I’m trying to say, Smitha. I am not passing a judgement on your reader. I’m only asking, if we are not able to control our impulses and think before we show physical aggression on our children to make them understand our point (or principle if you prefer), how can we expect them to think before using verbal aggression (bad words)? We cannot have such high expectations of little children who have so much less experience of life than we do.

          Another one of your readers did (rather proudly, it seemed to me) say that she would not hesitate to ‘give a whack where it hurts the most’. I can understand her intention may be the best – to teach the kid what’s right. But again, I am only questioning the method. Is physical aggression the way to teach someone to stop verbal aggression? Isn’t there a better way? More in my comment below.

          • We could differ on techinques. Each of us has parenting techniques which we may or may not always agree with. Just because we are parents, we are not perfect, are we? We make mistakes, just as much as our children do. And my principle is that if I do make a mistake, I have no problems apologizing to my child. Physical aggression is not my way, but there are times when I lose my cool. because we are human too.

      • @Suthewriter – I understand what you say… Yes to react by holding his ear and making him apologise there and then was a bit too impulsive and kinda naive… I could have explained him then and there… I do not believe in beating up children… I have my own opinion that when a parent hits a child… probably the parent lost out on patience… but either ways… I am human not perfect… and yet… i must try and strive that my child becomes perfect.. no he won’t perhaps… but we can’t stop striving can we for idealism !?

        • Hitchy, I truly appreciate your understanding of what I’m trying to say; it’s coming as quite a relief to me actually. πŸ™‚ It’s very mature of you to accept your action as impulsive, not many I’ve seen are able to do that. I think it’s fantastic that you say you strive for it, but know full well that your child perhaps will not be perfect. πŸ™‚ I think our acceptance of children help them grow better rather than our expectations of them. πŸ™‚ Just my perspective. Nice to hear from you. πŸ™‚

  6. No…R is not allowed to use ANY BAD WORDS…I am trying to stop saying ‘Shit’ in front of her and honestly I think there is some improvement, but a long way to go πŸ™‚ I will definitely scold or infact even whack R if I hear her say bad words..after she is 18 let her do what she wants, but till then, I dont think I am comfortable with children using any kind of foul words..

    • RM, I don’t use shit or damn or any profanity in front of her, or rather, even otherwise, as far as I can. Sometimes an ‘idiot’ comes out of my mouth when people drive rashly, especially, and daughter, if she is around is quick to take me to task. And I do apologize, because I have to do what I preach, don’t I? And I believe in zero tolerance to bad words/bad behaviour too.. Do you think, it’s ‘controlling’ children? Because I find it hard to think of setting boundaries as ‘control’. But from what I’ve gleaned from some people here, it’s the same as controlling. Sigh!

      • I am doing my best, and I do apologise immediately since R gives me ‘THE LOOK’…yes, there is a very very thin boundary which i am yet to figuure out myself! but honestly, not letting kids use bad words is definitely not controlling..its just instilling the right qualities in them!

  7. I feel we should make them understand what they are saying is bad and may be telling them what it means (of course a toned down version) and how awful it is weill help. Also we need to mind our own language! Because we cannot be two faced can we?

  8. Until the child reaches a certain age (atleast late teens), the parent should definitely be around to guide the child on which words to use and which not to. Unless the child is guided, how would he/she know? He/she will just pick up from peers, who might be just as misguided as he/she is. This is something I am clear about, and I am not even a parent!

    ‘He/she will just pick up from peers, who might be just as misguided as he/she is’ – Exactly! And once they know what is right and wrong, they might experiment, but I believe that eventually, they will figure it out for themselves that certain sort of behaviour is not on.

    Most of the kids in today’s generation do not know right from wrong (or rather, their boundaries) simply because they are not taught the same by the parents who sometimes are shockingly indifferent. I truly do not understand why. 😐

    A lot of parents do seem to be indifferent, shockingly so. And in more ways than one…

    • Ashwathy, your comment so reminded me of my parents πŸ™‚ They too thought kids of our generation did not know how to tell right from wrong. I think we turned out okay, and so will the next generation. πŸ˜‰

        • No Ashwathy, I was merely questioning the basis behind your statement, ‘Most of the kids in today’s generation do not know right from wrong simply because they are not taught the same by the parents’. I see that plenty of parents are able to guide children of this generation just as well as ours did for us. And hence, just as ‘we’ turned out okay, so will the next generation. How can you dismiss an entire generation, is what I was pointing out.

          I was only talking from my perspective, as I can see that you were from yours. Let’s just leave it at that now. πŸ™‚

    • @Smitha
      Exactly! And once they know what is right and wrong, they might experiment, but I believe that eventually, they will figure it out for themselves that certain sort of behaviour is not on.
      Fair enough. They might experiment….and eventually choose themselves. By guidance, I did not mean restrictions on which path they should choose… just a balanced view on this is how things are. πŸ™‚

  9. Completely understand where you’re coming from. But I always wonder this as well: how come we tolerate it in adults, but not in children? If it was an adult that had said WTF once or twice, would you have moved away from them as well? I don’t think I would have; it might not even have registered. Kids just copy what the adults around them do, no?

    I think a word is just a word, it’s our minds that give it meaning. I’m no parent so I don’t know, but I’m guessing nothing should be taboo as such? We got to show kids what’s out there and then teach them to decide the appropriate place and time for everything…

    • Well, there is so much to reply to..

      ‘how come we tolerate it in adults, but not in children?’ – Well, we tolerate a lot in adults for a variety of reasons, would that make it alright for my child to do the same? For instance, I come across people who throw a fit in shops, harrass shop assistants, littering the roads – and there might be nothing I can do, at that point in time. Does that mean if my child does things like that, I should tolerate it, because I would, if it were some unknown adult doing it? I don’t quite get that logic.

      ‘I think a word is just a word, it’s our minds that give it meaning’ Err, no. I thought languages had specific meanings assigned to words, right? And there are rude words, which I would not want my child to use. They are bound to come across inappropriate words, and we, as parents, need to let them know what is acceptable and what is not. With those parameters, hopefully, even when we are not around, they will have the good sense to discern good from bad.

      • πŸ™‚ So much to reply to, yes. Again, please take this in the spirit of the debate on the issue. Nothing personal, no disrespect intended. I just find the topic you’ve raised very interesting.

        “Well, we tolerate a lot in adults for a variety of reasons, would that make it alright for my child to do the same?” – No of course you would not think it’s all right for your child. I guess I did not explain my point of view well. I meant children in general. In general if a random child used a rude word, we are scandalized, but if an adult used one we hardly even notice anymore, or avoid bringing it up.

        “languages had specific meanings assigned to words, right” – yes, exactly, they do. But when we swear at someone, or use a bad word at someone, we are not using the language per se, it is the malice of our minds that we are making use of. When we call someone an idiot, for instance, what we are trying to convey is the intolerance we have towards them. Otherwise, the English word ‘idiot’ only refers to a ‘mentally handicapped person’. It is the prejudice of our minds that has made the word take on a lot more connotations than originally intended. There are many other such ‘rude’ words we could discuss as examples.

        The point I’m trying to make is that with teaching children about mere words, we are only scratching the surface. We are only telling them our opinions, (yes, opinions) of which words are good and which are bad. But the real issue goes deeper than that. Isn’t it a better approach to spend less time worrying about what words they are using, and spend more time in making sure they are nurturing the right intentions? If our minds were free of prejudice and intolerance, ‘bad’ words would never have existed in the first place, right?

        • ‘In general if a random child used a rude word, we are scandalized, but if an adult used one we hardly even notice anymore, or avoid bringing it up. ‘ – Actually, we do notice it. There have been times, I was quite uncomfortable with expletives used in a particular office I worked in. Yes, we do notice, and a lot of us do think that it is bad manners, even if it were adults who were using it. aving said that, it shocks me even more when a child uses it, because I find it difficult to understand where the child would come across it in the first place.

          ‘When we call someone an idiot, for instance, what we are trying to convey is the intolerance we have towards them’ – Yes, that is correct. And that usage is the problem. I would hate for daughter to pick that up from me, so I would try and not use it in that manner in front of her. Rude words have become rude words over time, so today we might consider something rude that was not rude earlier, and some things that were considered rude earlier, might have become common usage. But, that is not the debate here.

          ‘ Isn’t it a better approach to spend less time worrying about what words they are using, and spend more time in making sure they are nurturing the right intentions?’ – Yes. What makes you think that we are just bothered about the words and not the intentions? What makes you think that we are that shallow that we do not understand that? Rude words, in my opinion, are just a part of bad behaviour that indicates the general attitude of a person and maybe even their background. Most people who I am comfortable with, would not be lacing their sentences with expletives. Right intentions are what we are trying to nurture. And for me it includes not using rude words. It might be my prejudiced mind that balks at such words, but I would rather that my child learns that it is nicer to not use rude words.

          • Oh no, I do not think, nor did I mean to imply that any of you are shallow. No, that really didn’t cross my mind. I was only saying that if we worked on the intentions, the words part might be taken care of automatically. I’m talking from a very philosophical angle, I have no practical experience in this matter. πŸ™‚

            I suspect both of us hold similar stances on the topic, we’re just using different words to express. Oh well, food for thought. πŸ™‚

            • I guess the fact that you do not have kids yet would explain it a lot. This is a topic that many of us parents are touchy about. And some of the phrases that we use are more figurative than literal.
              To each, her own. We have rebelled against our parents, thought they knew nothing and that we were much more mature and wordly wise than them. Then we grew up and had kids of our own and realized values remained the same generation after generation. And we believe strongly and staunchly that there are some things that should remain unchanged. We also know that our kids will question us soon, in fact they have started it already. We realize they will have their own definition of what is right and wrong. We are ok with that too. The fact remains that however old we are, for our parents we are their kids and the same sentiments will run through with our kids as well. We will still continue to correct them, because that is our version of right.
              Finally, all of this boils down to what we believe in.

              You asked very rightly are words that important? I believe yes, it is on the spur f the moment words that come out of mouths that most hurt than some random whack here and there.
              And if you think I proudly whack my kids, I can only say that you are welcome to meet my poor, tormented kids anyday. You might get some freshly baked cup cakes too in the bargain!

              • Maybe you are right Bindu, perhaps I will understand more if/when I have kids too. For now, I think I’m still in that mode where I think from the kid’s perspective. In the meantime, those cupcakes sound extremely interesting! πŸ˜€

  10. I have often heard parents say that their kids are not in their control. When a parent says they “can’t control” their child’s behavior, it is only that they don’t want to or don’t think it is important… or probably such language is fashionable to them.

      • Parents should not have to control their child – that’s when it goes all wrong in society. then adults want to control adults.
        if we teach our kids reasoning from a younger age children understand. and they understand very well.

        • That’s what I meant, Ann. Not controlling in that sense. I’ve seen it with my daughter. Reasoning and explaining things work really well. Because she understands why some things are not acceptable. Even if it is acceptable to others. ‘Out of control’ is a common terminology used here, quite often in connection with children who misbehave. And more often than not, its just the parents who refuse to discipline them.

  11. I would tell my child that “WTF ” is a rude word and cannot be used at any time.
    Even if other children use it casually, they know that it is wrong and people do wrong things many times , but that is a rude word.A child who understands reasonings does understand this, but when parents look away at this , i find the behavior of the parents appalling.

    It is a rude , incorrect and unpolite phrase used in society at any age and considered very improper in situations when used. it is most often used when one do not know how to handle oneself .
    Societies grow up and cultures spring because of audacious behavior adults. – This is a seed of abuse, violence and it slowly progresses from here

  12. After reading your post and the comments and your responses, I had a lot to say. I agree with somethings, and disagree with some. I’ll do a post of my own and link back.

  13. Pingback: Monster Mom | Wanderlust at home

  14. My attitude to this is kind of in between. I know that I cannot control their behaviour when they are away from me. So, I have to accept that they may say it to their friends in my absence. However, I have told them that on no account will I tolerate them saying those words in my presence and if I get a report back from their teachers or from other parents about their using that language, then they will pay a severe penalty. That’s what I can do and I’m comfortable that they may still use it in secret with their friends!

    • Yes, I agree – I can’t control their behaviour when they are away from me, but that will not stop me from correcting them if they do behave badly in front of me, or if I get reports of bad behaviour. I just find it difficult to understand when parents refuse to discipline just because they are convinced that it doesn’t help…

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