Is Frickin’ a Bad Word, Mom?

My three-year-old asked me this the other night before bed.

You see, my husband and I have a blended family with four sons. Our oldest is 19 and off to college in the fall. Our second child is 17 and heading into his senior year of high school. Then we have our eight-year-old who will be in third grade and our three-year-old who will be in preschool.

So our “little ones” hear bad words sometimes, and sometimes, I admit, they’re said by the parents. They also hear words substituted for bad words, words used as substitutes only in their presence, like “frickin’,” for example.

So, when our eight-year-old was four, he called three people a bitch, as in “You’re such a bitch,” within one week. The first, a four-year-old girl who had never heard such a word, assumed that he’d called her a “witch,” but he was still punished. Unaffected, he called his best friend a bitch on the playground on the first day of preschool, then called me a bitch later on in the week.

He’s also asked me questions such as, “Mom, what is a douche?” In this case, when I asked where he heard the word, he told me that his older brothers always say to each other, “You’re such a douche. You’re such a douche.”

So I knew that all of this was coming with my three-year-old. I just didn’t expect it until he was four. But, apparently he’s advanced in his recognition of inappropriate behavior.

When he asked me if “frickin’” was a bad word, I told him it was. And I do think it is, because if he or my eight-year-old goes around the neighborhood saying “frickin’,” everyone will think of the word they’re replacing.

And that word is completely inappropriate for little ones, including the ones in our potty-mouthed house.

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