If you follow me online, you’ve probably noticed I’m not one to swear anywhere in social media. (I don’t think WTF really counts.) However, if you know me in real life, you’ve heard me drop the F-bomb and a few other choice words.
I’ve never been that mom to curb her cursing in front of her kid. And for as much as I curse, it’s a bit of shock that my 7-year-old son, Norrin, hasn’t picked up any of my potty mouth language. A big shock, actually, considering Norrin is a kid who scripts constantly.
But this isn’t really about cursing in front of my kid. It’s about setting an example for him.
We keep a list of “House Rules” taped to the wall of Norrin’s room. Rule #2 is to “Speak Nicely”, and we encourage Norrin to use nice words like excuse me instead of move.
While I’ve been lucky that Norrin hasn’t adopted my foul mouth, he is rather fond of telling people to “shut up” when they are making too much noise or saying something that upsets him. And when I hear Norrin say it, I march him over to The Rules. We talk about it. He apologizes. Sometimes – depending on the situation – I take something away as a punishment.
When I ask him if it’s nice to say “shut up”, sometimes he says no, sometimes he says yes. And I’m uncertain whether or not he knows the difference between right and wrong.
The other day, I was on the phone gossiping with my best girlfriend. After telling me something that happened at work, I burst out laughing and yelled “shut up!”
Before I could giggle again, Norrin taps me on the shoulder, “That is not nice, Mommy. Use your nice words.” He stared at me until he heard me apologize to my friend.
For a literal thinking kid like Norrin, he doesn’t know that I’m kidding around. He just knows that it’s wrong and that I broke one of The Rules. It’s nice to know that the lessons I’m trying to teach him are sinking in.
And the lesson I learned? If I break a rule in front of my kid, he’s going to call me out on it.
What rules do you find yourself breaking in front of the kids?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.