The Swear Jar (warning, this post is Rated R!)
I love to swear. I’m not going to lie. I swear when I express many feelings. Anger-“I hate this fucking place!” Joy-“I am so fucking happy!” Amazement-“That is so fucking cool” ( i guess you know what my favorite word is)
I like to call myself a 9 to 5 swearer, with occasional evenings, weekends, and holidays. I do it with my co-workers, with my husband, and around friends. Growing up, swearing was not allowed or tolerated in my home. My dad was the only one allowed to do it, and if my mom did it when he was around she had to hear him “stop swearing in front of the fucking children!” My mom had an arsenal of weapons to destroy us if a swear slipped out of our mouths. First was the bar of soap (which I am sure many of you have feared in your day), there was also a squirt gun filled with soap and water, and then the slipper she used to take off and chase us with. To this day, I will not swear in front of my mom, aunts, uncles, mother in law, or any other person I encounter that is not in my comfort “swear” zone. Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable swearing in this post!
So, throw a 5 year old, impressionable, sponge brain little boy into the mix and things get tricky. Luckily I have the ability to turn off the swear switch, but I have a husband, who has no filter. He does not know how to shut it off. I have to say, he has gotten better, and only recently since we instituted the swear jar! And let me tell you why. My son has a Nintendo DS, which has a voice recorder. One day him and I were recording silly voices and songs. He sang the cutest version of “C is for Cookie” in his cookie monster voice. He walked out of the living room and into his bedroom, and what he was doing in his bedroom would not be discovered until later that evening. My husband and I were sitting down watching TV, while our sweet, innocent, little boy was fast asleep. I said to my husband “oh, let me show you the cute song that your son made”. What we heard made our jaws drop. It was the C is for Cookie song, but not the one I heard, it was a remix. It started off so nice, “C is for cookie, and cookie is for me….” but at the end of the song, in a faint whisper of a voice it said “mother fucker”. WHAT??? We had to play it again, and again, to make sure we heard it right. We were in such disbelief.
Now let me clarify something, we are not walking around here swearing all the time. If you are a parent, you know just as well how difficult it is to shelter your child from everything. If I could put him in a plastic bubble until he is 18 I would, but what good would that do him?
The next morning, I confronted him, with kid gloves of course. He had a complete and total meltdown about it, knew that it was wrong, and vowed to never do it again. My husband came up with the idea for a swear jar, and I knew exactly how this was going to go. He said, for every swear that mommy and daddy say, we will put a dollar in the jar. And if our son swore, he would have to put 50 cents. Well, here’s the thing, our son doesn’t swear. Only in song…on his Nintendo DS…and the money in the swear jar will be used to do fun family things….We cannot use words like, crap, poop, dummy, stupid and any other offensive words in the spectrum of swear words. Since the swear jar has been implemented, my 5 year old is all over us like a fly on shit! (i know, that’s a dollar!) I never realized how many “bad” words there are for a 5 year old. He could be two rooms away and will hear me if I say “crap!” He will run over to me, shake his finger, tilt his head to the side, and tell me “you have to put a dollar in there!”
One day, I think I tried to lie and say I didn’t say a bad word, and he said ” don’t lie mom, are we going to have to start a lying jar too?” Son of a gun, how dare he?! Who is the parent here?
Currently there is $13.00 in the jar. Mostly from my husband. Considering this was started about a month ago, we’re not doing so bad. Right? You don’t realize how much it takes to go into parenting until you have a child of your own. You make a conscious effort to change some of the behaviors you are accustomed to, because you don’t want be a poor influence to him or her. We all have such high expectations for them, but at the end of the day, they are their own person who will make their own decisions. What we can do as parents is offer guidance, teach right from wrong, love, and support them. So, in 15 years you come across a young man saying things like- Jiminy crickets! Fudge that! That’s bullcrap! or Malarky! Please be kind, because he just might be my son.