The B-word, what do a 10-year-old need to know?


My older daughter came home the other day and asked me “What’s the B-word? I am the only one in the class know nothing about it”, needless to say she got laughed at.  A little background here, she WILL turn 10 in March 2012 (Yay for two digits!  Big milestone!!) and is the second youngest in her class, everyone else is 10 years old at this point.  Sure there are quite a few things she needs to catch up with but definitely not this one, which also got me thinking.

Why not? You ask. 

Well, my girls do have a list of words – the ones they know not appropriate to say in public; and if you haven’t noticed, we speak Mandarin at home so there’s little chance we’ll use any of those words.  Also, we say shoot instead of the other word, and only once had I dropped F-bomb because this dangerous drivers almost got us killed.

What’s the harm? You argue.

Yes, I understand and fully accept kids nowadays are much more exposed to the world than we were, and they are going to learn and talk those words anyway, sooner or later; this is one thing I am not in the rush for.  I do believe we parents are still the biggest influences to kids at this age, it’s also a good reminder for us, or for me personally; that the more we say it the more likely it’ll become second nature without realizing it, what’s the plus side of that, really?

My response to this curious, confused 9-year-old is “If it’s a good word your friend will tell you about it, and if not then you probably don’t need to know”.

Sure, you have sympathy for my poor girls, and I may have not prepared them well for the real world; quite possibly I am blindfolded in this issue, or being a b*tch or a b*stard, but what could I have done differently or what would you do if the world they live in is full of these sh*t?

A little help here please??

Sara Chi Written by:

Sara is a mother of two witty, wonderful teen/tween girls who she tries to embrace with girl power without exasperation. Sara asks a lot of whys, this may or may not have something to do with the girls, however, please don't ask why she does that. Sara often speaks her mind with bluntness and people think she is funny, it has happened more than she can count. As smart as she is, this remains mysterious.

  • Angela G

    I understand your desire to hide the ugly parts of the English language from her. My oldest is 8 and I’ve already heard him say “OH SH…” once.  The thing is kids want answers. Especially school aged children.  And more than wanting answers, they NEED answers. If you told her that a bitch means female dog but people use it to insault women, what harm would that do?  She would definitely know why she shouldn’t use it and she will know in the future that she really can come to you with anything and you will respect her curiosity with straight facts. Otherwise, what will happen is she will learn that mommy doesnt really like answers her tough questions and start learning from her friends and the internet. So to answer your question I would be very honest and try not to make a big deal about it, but definitely make it clear that it’s not acceptible language.  The questions are only going to get harder to answer from this point on.  My cousin once asked his mom at the age of 10 “what’s an orgasm”. The kids in school were ALREADY talking this way and it’s really just a reality of kids in school these days.  As much as I don’t like it, I do believe that as parents we need to keep lines of communication open with our children and be honest whenever possible.  If the subject matter is simply way beyond their years even saying “I understand your curiosity but we will have to talk about this one when you are X years old”. Just be careful because if you say that for every question they have they will stop asking and get the information from other sources.  I personally think this is a simple question that can be answered without too much fuss.

    • Thanks Angela for your insights, I can tell it’s from professional aspect.  I don’t necessary want to hide the ugly part of English (not that I know much of of it 🙂 ) but it’s the WHY they want to use it in the first place.  I also need to remember whenever whatever I tell her, the 8-year-old is listening too.  Not too long ago, she asked me what’s gay because (no surprise!) one of her friend was called on, we spent the whole car trip to school talking about gay/lesbian, stereotype/discrimination and we were all quite happy with it; maybe this time I was taken aback by the topic and certainly am offended if someone call me that, I couldn’t figure out the best way to respond.  You are absolutely right the kids NEED answers from us, the trusting parents; so the clarification homework will be, b*tch is for ying and b*stard is for yang and both words should never be used toward people under any circumstances.

  • Mberg

    Tell her the “B”word is any word people who don’t know any “better” use.  keep going Sarah!  To this day my kids (25 and 23) cringe when they hear people swear.  One time my son said the “f” word to me.  I asked him if he was trying to hurt me by using it because it didn’t.  I told him frankly the word “love” has hurt more people than the “f” word.  He just looked like a moron using it.  My point is – if you were to ask my kids today what was the most important lesson they learned as kids they would tell you the ban on swearing was best. 

    • Thank you Marcy, love how you put “better” to work 🙂 I understand swearing *sometimes* can be big relief for whatever emotions, I never want it to become habit and often that’s where it starts.  Blessing to your kids and kudos to mom!!