We all are aware of those taboo words that are largely off limits in many public settings such as schools, churches, corporate workplaces, and libraries to name a few. No matter what you might call them; curse words, swear words or four-letter words, these words mean something different to everyone. There are also lesser offensive words that on the surface may not seem as impactful but still could offend or tear others down. The popular saying is “It’s not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.” Words of this nature can make many adults feel uneasy, but are we really cognizant of how our words effect our children?
I have witnessed a bevy of parenting styles in my life and from my experience, I cannot say that using bad language around children will impact them all negatively. I also refuse to say that it is beneficial or profitable to do so. The major difference is when said language is used to either put children down, embarrass them, or mentally disqualify them before they hit the real world or begin to raise their own children.
In the Black community, it is not uncommon to hear some parents refer to their children with words such as: Bastard, Mother F***er, Hoe (whore), Winch, B**ch and among others in normal conversation. There may even be other instances where the child is constantly told he/she will not amount to anything. Some parents who subscribe to these parenting techniques may feel that its necessary to speak to their kids in this fashion based on their personal view of society and how they feel the world will view their children. In their minds they feel that they must harden them in the expectation that “real life” will not be kind to them. Others are simply following the techniques that they witnessed growing up.
The danger lies in those few children who were raised in such a household and still managed to achieve a certain level of success. Those children should not be the standard; however, they are in a sense held up in a positive light. We tend to view that situation as “well they made it, so it must work”. Don’t get me wrong, I give many kudos to those who had to endure such mental abuse and still make a success of themselves, but in my opinion these are the exception and not the rule. Its even more dangerous that a child who was successfully raised in such an environment, will more than likely continue the cycle in raising their own children.
If common sense were to prevail, simply changing the way that we speak to our children, refer to them and view them will go a long way to breaking the cycle of negative speech effects. When we speak to our children in this fashion, in most cases we are setting them up for failure. The unfruitful language we use against our kids is indicative of the hardness of our own hearts and reflective of a dysfunctional upbringing in most cases. Say what you will, but cursing your children is not normal. Its comparable to playing Russian roulette with three rounds instead of one. Is it possible to do everything else right as a parent and still use bad language against them? Would it not be more beneficial to speak life and positive affirmations into our children?
The long-term effects of such terrible language can be psychologically damaging. When we send our children out into a world in which many evils and hurdles already exist, its up to the parents to at the very least NOT embed a strike against them. Words do in fact carry a lot of weight and they can hurt. It is easily understood that this is not always the case, but I feel that this is one of the major contributing factors to the detriment of the black community as it currently stands. I believe parents from all walks of life should adopt the practice of refraining from such discouraging language. The results would be a generation of youth with greater confidence in themselves who will likely pass on these same traits in relation to their own parental techniques. Thus, the beginning of the cycle being broken.
Watch your mouth and see the results.