Potty Mouth

25 Mar

Letterbalm Multiple Swear BubblesDear LetterBalm: I have a 15-year-old daughter. She’s a good kid, but I’ve noticed that when she’s with her friends, they all use bad language. They call one another “bitch” and “ho” and “skank” and worse. I don’t think it’s productive to call them on their language when they’re all together because it would embarrass my daughter and just make them roll their eyes. When I mention it to her later, my daughter says they don’t mean anything by it, that everybody does it, even when they text. She says it’s just modern slang and gives me her own eyeroll. How can I make her see that this is a rude and nasty habit, even if everyone does it?

–Overreacting Mom

These days, teens hear coarse language so often the words don’t have any negative connotation. But even though it seems normal, it doesn’t make it O.K. You may not be able to change the world, but you can educate your daughter, one step at a time. Ms. L.B. says if she is able to think before she speaks, she’s helping to bring civility back to the world of high school. When you and she are together casually and she’s in a receptive mood (no cell activity would be helpful), try this:

Leah, I know you think I’m making too much of this, but I need to tell you something about bad words. Even though they’re used everywhere today, it doesn’t make it right. The word “bitch” was used in the past to keep a strong woman from expressing her opinions and seeking her rights. And “skank” and “ho” are derogatory words for women, especially prostitutes. I don’t think you intend to demean women, but that’s how it comes across. Maybe you might consider taking responsibility for what you say, even if your friends don’t. I know you won’t judge others who use bad language. If you make a private pact with yourself not to use those words you’re quietly fighting the good fight.

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