Monday, May 31, 2010

Do they make 'bad word' flash cards?

Why didn't George Carlin write "7 Words You Can't Say on the Playground?" Wouldn't that be great for parents? Maybe the Wiggles could sing them in a song. Dora could teach the Spanish versions of them. A whole Hannah Montana episode could focus around them...something. Otherwise, how am I going to teach my kid "bad words?"

Am I supposed to make bad word flash cards for her now that she can read? That's not a horrible idea but I embarrass rather easily and don't know that I could write them. Does Hasbro or Mattel sell something like that?

I didn't know how little Syd has heard until she repeated a story to me this morning. She was watching "Everybody Hates Chris" on Nick Jr and said that every time something went wrong, the mom said, "Bamn."



I was relieved at first to know that she didn't hear it right. It's hard to notice a word you've never heard before. Then it hit me. Maybe I've protected her too much from TV approved profanity.

I first saw Carlin's list of 7 words when I was 19 years old and working at a small radio station in college. I didn't know what two of the 7 were. One was a compound word and by breaking them apart and assuming, I figured it out. But there was a one syllable word I'd simply never heard before. I pointed to the word and asked my cousin who also worked there, "What's that?" His face turned red. Another coworker asked what we were doing. He couldn't believe there was a word on the list I didn't know. I pointed to it and he couldn't bring himself to tell me either. They went to our boss. "Ronna doesn't know one of the words on the list," they said. He was amused. He would tell me. I showed him the word and he simply walked away with a bright red face. It was like I was actually living the "Zots" story we told as an epic joke when I was a kid. It took me about six months to track down a nursing student with a medical dictionary to help me figure out that word.

So now my kid is the same way. True, she's only 7. But by her age, I'd heard just about all the common profanities (including a few from Carlin's list) because I grew up in a neighborhood full of older boys. And 5 uncles -- two of which were teens when I was young and impressionable. I don't remember anyone ever saying them intentionally when I was around, but I overheard a lot as a kid. And I knew if I was overhearing it, I probably shouldn't repeat it.

I had the bad word talk with Syd when she started watching the older shows on Nick Jr. I explained that the shows used some language that we simply don't say, words that would get her in trouble if she said them at school or around friends. If she had any question as to what a word means, she is to ask us.

Lucky for me she knows exactly what "Bamn!" means.


  1. Found your blog from MBC! My son is 5 & wants to watch Nick Jr. or the "big kid shows". I didn't some of those bamn shows used those bamn words. That makes me so bamn mad! No more of that bamn Nick Jr. for him, bamn it! :) -Kelley @

  2. Hi! Visiting from MBC. Love your blog.

    Have a nice day!