In his defense (and my own as his parent)… I swear he is a good kid. He just aimed a little too high when trying to impress his friend.
Where did he learn this from? I suspect at school where he has classes with older kids, or on YouTube (so much for parental controls). We don’t swear in our family.
The boys were writing on the walls of their box fort in the back yard. I was actually kind of proud of myself that I’d found an “educational” activity for the boys to do during our playdate: practicing writing, being creative, not playing video games. Jpeg started with the word “poop”. Not my favorite choice, but pretty harmless. But when I saw him writing THAT word, my brain stalled and I couldn’t react fast enough. I saw him write “f” and thought surely he can’t be writing that word. By the time “c” was written I realized I was thinking too slowly and just blurted out STOP!!!!
Jpeg, his friend, and Pnut all looked at me then looked back at what he wrote. After a pause, Pnut sounded out the letters and said the word out loud: “fuc!” And he and the friend began repeating it, over, and over, and over. My head was starting to spin.
Perfect. One of my 3 year old’s first reading words was the f-bomb. And then of course the friend began the barrage of questions: What’s fuc? What does fuc mean? Why is fuc bad? Please, tell me what it means!
Oh boy. The only way I could explain it was that it was a very bad word and if other moms found out Jpeg was the kid who was teaching kids this word, he would be banished from play dates forever. I made Jpeg scribble out the word and made a meaningless threat that I would get “very mad” if he ever wrote or uttered that word again. Don’t judge me – I am the first to admit that I don’t think all that well under pressure. In any case, he got the hint and realized his error in judgement.
In my panic I began to think about how I should handle the fact that my son inadvertently ruined his friend’s innocence. Do I pray that the friend doesn’t get inquisitive and ask his mom? That would be way too risky. So I texted his mom my confession:
Thankfully she was kind enough to find the humor in it. It is kind of funny, though it is certainly a moment I will remember for a long time. And despite being the word it was, I am still kind of really proud that Pnut was able to use his phonics to put that word together. How’s that for a silver lining?
Have you ever caught your child being the bad influencer? Or been on the receiving end of it? What did you do?