Monday, January 30, 2012


The online uproar this week regarding Twitter's new censorship policy really got me thinking. I thank God I live in America, where our freedom of speech is, for the most part, protected.

Of course, the flip side of this is that everyone's speech is protected, regardless of how venomous or hateful their intent. So those loons protesting unrelated funerals? Yeah, they can have their kids holding up stomach-churning signs in the face of parents grieving their dead children.

So at what point do we say, "Maybe we should zip the lip?"

Here's my take: I have a 5 year-old and a 2 year-old, and because I am a lover of words, I want them to have a respect, not a fear, for language. That does not mean that I freely curse around them or play my favorite Nicki Minaj songs in front of them, of course. But it does mean that I am realistic about my kids' probability of hearing/or seeing things I'd rather them not hear/or see until they're 40.

When they do hear a profanity, I explain that it's a "grown-up" word, rather than say it's a "bad" word. I'm hoping to teach them not to fear words and steer them toward more intelligent talk. I feel like words are powerful enough without the added weight of banning them. I guess that's easy to say when they're so young. We'll see how well I handle it as they grow, along with their vocabularies.


  1. Good idea. I figured out a few years ago it didn't help to flip out over hearing bad words. And now with my 7 year old, if he wants to ask about a "bad" word, it's okay. I explain it and why we don't use it, but there are also consequences if he uses it. They're too that age where you can't avoid it anymore. And I think if you make a big deal out of it, they just get more curious.

  2. Helena - right on the dot about "adult words". Help them grow with an open mind so they can make a judgement later on good and bad.