Great to be back writing for you again after taking a little time away. In my other life, I am wedding entertainment ‘director’ (www.djhaymaker.com) – MC/DJ and August was a killer month with 21 events. So in my ‘down-time’, I decided it was better to BE a DAD than to write about being a Dad. But the kids are all in school now, so I am back and ready to share ideas and start conversations…
Thanks for tuning back into the DAD VIBE 🙂 I hope you find cool ideas here.
What’s a Mother F*&ker Dad?
It all started innocently enough. As a professional wedding MC and DJ, I get invited to lots of ‘pre-wedding’ festivities and this time I took my cool couple up on their kind offer, “Please bring your whole crew to our family fun BBQ and slo-pitch game!”
Why, what fun that would be, I said to myself. Fun with a capital F! Sadly, that was not the only ‘F’ word we heard that day.
I have been around a lot of redneck-tailgate-bush-keg parties in my time, and heard my fair share of cussing. But I have never heard anything like this. Obviously, it was amplified in the presence of my children, but it was f-bomb after f-bomb — a blitzkrieg of profanity.
Here is a pop culture math question to try to explain the amount of cursing we heard. Take Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” and multiple it by the movies “Casino” and “Goodfellas” and throw in a George Carlin HBO special and that would equal half the amount of cursing we heard that day.
Now as a protective father, I cringed the first time I heard the word uttered at the BBQ. I quickly looked at my son to see if it had registered with him. It did. Picture this idyllic down home scene…
Plenty of sunshine, laughs, and music in the air… We were awaiting a hot dog from the BBQ — we stood, buns at the ready, chatting, waiting for the little dogs.
The assertive woman cooking the meat, decided that all the meat should be cooked and then placed in one giant carnivorous container. She lifted the heavy container off the BBQ side table, and announced,
“Move the f*&k out of the way, this ‘MoFo’ is hot and heavy”… (sadly she did not elect to say Mofo – but rather Mother-Effer)
Another parent, saw me and my son standing there and decided to reprimand the BBQ girl with this classic line, (I swear I am not making this up), “Vanessa, watch your f*&king mouth, there are kids here!”
I was amazed and dumbfounded. The place was crawling with kids. Somebody’s kids. It was like a bad candid camera. I felt like I was getting punk’d. It was ridiculous. Almost laughable. Almost.
What do u do? Stand on a chair and announce to everyone your impressionable children are here and you would appreciate if they would choose their words more carefully and clean up their language!?
In other arenas, I would have politely said to the curser, “Can you please watch your language as my kids is here”. And the cursing would stop. But I saw the writing on the wall at this event. The cooler was packed full of 800 beers and all 40+ people were here to party (with their kids).
At that point, back on the bleachers, I had decided to leave this negative environment. This was no place for my children. I was planning my exit strategy when my son said, “Dad, these people sure swear a lot don’t they? They sound kinda silly” I looked at him and realized, in that moment, that those words are only something if we make something of them.
“You are right son. It’s just words. But words I don’t need you and your sister to hear!”
“I’ve heard F*&k before Dad, why is it a bad word?”
WTF – Did his angelic lips just say that ugly word? I didn’t want to get into the wonderful versatility of the “F word” as it is a noun, adjective, exclamation, and even an adverb. So versatile.
“I really don’t know son– it’s just something we choose not to say.”
“Why Dad? It’s just a word. It’s a bunch of letters!”
“I know son, but people may judge you as a bad person if you use it. Our family chooses not to use certain words.”
“Like the S word?”
“Yes, that one too. Besides, Grandma does not want to kiss a mouth that uses those words!”
He looked alarmed and then calm. I was waiting for him to ask about the hyphenated “mother word”, but thankfully, he did not. I had no good answer to that one. (Do you? Does anyone?).
So we stayed and enjoyed a great afternoon of fabulous family fun on the ball field. We didn’t let a few hundred bad language choices ruin our family experience..
As parents, I think our reaction to swearing is the key. If you fly off the handle, then kids may realize the power of those words. Ignore if you can, but if we just acknowledge it, say how we feel about the use of it, and then let it go, the power can be lost. React, but under-react not over.
Diffuse the f-bomb. If your child curses, you must consider the age and possible reasoning behind the swearing. Choose your reaction thoughtfully.
First, get curious about why they might be swearing – Is it attention seeking? Experimentation? To be cool? To feel grown-up?
I won’t bother interrogating about where they heard it… does it really matter? Perhaps it was a YouTube clip (or comments section), a school bus ride, or loose school yard talk, or perhaps it escaped from your own lips. The source is not as relevant and interesting as their choice to use it.
If we model clean language, then children are less likely to use. If you are ‘sailor’ like in your language, then don’t be surprised to hear your 5 year old cuss out their BFF with f-bombs. If damage is done, we can educate on the hurt caused by certain words.
In my lifetime, movies, TV, and society have become incredibly desensitized to these words. These ‘dirty’ words are more prevalent today than ever. But fear not, you are the model and filter to help your children make sense of the ugly in our world.
Those words are out there, but only contain the power we give them.
Please share your swearing stories… I want to learn from you!
Have your children heard you swear?
Have they tried their hand at cussing?
How did you handle the situation?
Thanks for your support! Until next time…
Ps. I learned “penis breath” from the movie ET. Got into lots of trouble when I debuted that beauty back in ’84 at a birthday party.