Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Watch your mouth

Eden (5 years old) is becoming quite rich. The source of her recent cash flow is her parents and older siblings. The problem, as we've come to find out, is that when teen-agers and preschoolers share the same house, the language of the older children is not always appropriate for the younger ones. This is not to say that the older kids have suddenly developed a passion for four-letter words. The culprits in our house have been words like "hate", "dumb", "stupid", and "shut up".

Understandably, there are occasions to use these types of words. When you are of a certain age, you are better able to distinguish the appropriate from the inappropriate times. For example, "I won't go on retreats because of the stupid get to know you games" is completely acceptable. "You're stupid" is not. "I hate when people leave their toys all over the house" is okay; "I hate you" is not. While I think it is fine to say, "I wish this long-winded speaker would shut up," I do not want my children telling each other to "shut up." You get the picture.

There is another word that I really do not like to hear anywhere but which the older boys in particular seem to be passionate about and that is "crap." I have tried to suggest that if you must use this word in the house, and in front of your little sisters, please use your little cousin's version and say "cwap" (actually, I think she was saying "clap" but "cwap" works well for my purposes in this situation, too). The boys looked at me as if was out of touch with reality and told me in no uncertain terms that if their friends heard them say "Oh cwap" that'd be the end of life as they know it. Hmmmm.

So, because of the foul mouths in the house, we had to come up with a plan. My philosophy is to hit 'em where it hurts most and at this age, that's the wallet. Hence the "Buck a Word" policy we have implemented. If you hear someone say a "bad" word, that person has to pay you a dollar. Everyone thought it was funny til they had to start paying up.

Funny, it was John who had to dish out the first dollar. It was also less that 24 hours since the policy had been implemented. He was a bit perturbed with a certain child one day and in the midst of his frustration, he let one of the banned words fly (to protect innocent ears I'll omit the exact word). Within seconds Eden was at my side saying, "Mommy, Daddy has to give me a dollar! He said a bad word!" She was right and he paid up.

In actuality, I think we've all paid Eden at least a dollar each since the beginning of the plan; she must have the best hearing in the house.

We have had to iron out some kinks due certain questionable practices. For example, does it count if you're repeating something someone else said as in "..and then my friend told her it was a really stupid idea." Or what happens if you're reading a book out loud and one of the banned words shows up? Do you have to pay up? And finally, if you spell the word rather than say it, do you have to pay for it? All very good questions with sometimes complicated answers.

I'm just warning you. If you visit the King house you should probably bring a few extra dollars with you - just in case Eden is listening.

1 comment:

  1. Love it!
    Did you know that in England "crap" really is a "bad word?"