By Heather O.
Be careful what you wish for. In a previous post, I lamented about how I feel like we need to get involved with the neighborhood kids more, that my only child is languishing at home with only his crazy mother to entertain him. Well, spring is here, and the kids are coming out in droves. Seriously. We live on a dead-end, so from about 3 o’clock on, the street, and usually my house, is filled with children running, jumping, playing, and yelling.
Ah yes, the yelling. I don’t mind yelling when it’s “Hey, watch this!” or “Follow me!” or “Hey, I just ran over a frog!” I don’t even mind the “Hey, let go, that’s mine! MOOMMYYY! He’s trying to take my toy!” These are all the sounds of children playing, and even the grumpy, bratty sounds count.
But I do mind when the yelling turns into things like, “Hey, that’s bulls***!” “What the f*** are you doing to my bike?” “Don’t touch me, d*** it!” Yes, some of these sounds get mixed into the fray, and as my son loves to mimic stuff, I’d like to limit exposure to this kind of language as much as possible.
But I’m just not sure how to do it. When one kid in particular was yelling obscenity after obscenity, I said, “Hey, there are 3 year olds around. Can you tone down the swearing a little?” He gave me a withering, pre-teen “you are SO lame” look, and stalked off. And he wasn’t in my house, he was standing on the street, fighting with another kid, so I couldn’t just ask him to adhere to my house rules of no bad language.
So any suggestions how to yell at other people’s kids to be talk nice? I don’t really want to take it to their parents, and as DH pointed out, in at least one case the mother doesn’t speak English. She clearly can’t regulate or monitor her son’s swearing in English particularly effectively.
I also see other non-mothers lecturing kids about stuff, mostly safety stuff, or staying off their property while they ride their stunt bikes so their fathers won’t sue when they break their necks, and really, the kids roll their eyes and move on. They seemed bugged, and I can’t blame them. Yet another adult is telling them what to do. So while I don’t want to make an enemy out of these kids, I also do not want my 3 year old saying stuff like, “Dammit, that’s a bunch of bull****” either. I mean, can’t we at least wait until he’s watching something more sophisticated than “Clifford’s Big Red Movie” to introduce him to this kind of language?”
Ah, it seems that my small son has started something of a brawl with the neighbor kids that are currently in my basement, so, gotta go.
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