Is it odd that I let my 5yo say... - Mothering Forums

Is it odd that I let my 5yo say...

Hoopin' Mama (TS)
12:38 PM Liked: 583
#1 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 3,157
Joined: Sep 2004
What the heck?

Because it seems to turn the heads of other parents occassionally. And then one parent told my son "Sometimes I like to say 'what in the world?' instead."

Also, sometimes he just exclaims "What the?" usually in an excited or silly moment. This he gets from dh who playfully says to him 'Who the? What the? 'when ds is trying to trick us or surprise us. It's very cartoonish. I think nothing of it.
mumkimum's Avatar mumkimum
12:47 PM Liked: 178
#2 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 2,863
Joined: Nov 2006
'what the heck' doesn't really spark me as something questionable. I assume people see is as the 'gateway' to the "real bad words". Doesn't have to be your battle.

Dd1 (3.5) here has said "man, the frickin sun is just shining in my eyes!" and I was ok with that.
geekgolightly's Avatar geekgolightly
12:49 PM Liked: 243
#3 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 1,673
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i don't think it's that big of a deal, but some parents are extremely uncomfortable with any word that even sounds like a curse word.
mamazee's Avatar mamazee
12:55 PM Liked: 6460
#4 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 7,246
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My dd said she hated black licorice and I had another mom tell me she doesn't let her kids say "hate". I said I wouldn't let her say that about a person but that I doubt the licorice minds. She also says "stupid", though again not about people. She has said "Oh my God!" and I said that the idea of God is very important to a lot of people and it might make them feel bad to hear her use the word like that. I didn't make her stop, but I do notice she corrects herself to say "Oh my gosh!" now and generally has replaced "God" with "gosh".

So I guess it's a mixed bag for me. I don't want to micromanage my dd's language, but on the other hand I want her to be sensitive to the feelings of others. I inform her about how specific language makes other people feel so she's aware of that, and then leave her to choose specifically how to handle it, and she seems very considerate.
One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl
01:08 PM Liked: 2767
#5 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 4,668
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We say what the heck, that something sucks or bites, and that we hate something (usually we don't say this about people though). I don't think these words are a big deal. Some people are just very sensitive.
LaLaLaLa's Avatar LaLaLaLa
01:08 PM Liked: 18
#6 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 1,615
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My kids (6 and 4) say "what the heck" on occasion. I actually prefer that to "what the" with no word filled in, as most people I know (including me!) who do that are mentally filling in an f-bomb. I'd rather not have people think my kids are even implying that sort of language. That comes from DH, who also says "son of a" without filling in the last word, which also bothers me. DH is not at ALL someone who uses swear words, which is maybe why he has this habit to begin with. I'd rather a fairly nonoffensive word be plugged in, though.

Like a PP, I also gently corrected my DD when she said "Oh my God." We are atheists, but I think we need to be sensitive to those who are not, who might take offense at us throwing around God like that. She's stopped now.
NYCVeg's Avatar NYCVeg
01:10 PM Liked: 21
#7 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 4,949
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Seriously? "Heck" is a bad word? That seems insane to me--but I don't get especially hung up about language in general. I don't particularly care what my 4 yo dd says, so long as:
1) she doesn't use any language hatefully (that goes for "swear" words and other words) and
2) she understands that what might be okay at home is not necessarily okay in other situations--e.g., at school.

She does very occasionally use a swear word, but she never does it to get a rise out of us (since she knows such words DON'T get a rise out of use), and we've never had a problem with her using "bad" language in an inappropriate place.

But all that being said, "heck" wouldn't even be on my radar.
treeoflife3's Avatar treeoflife3
01:16 PM Liked: 260
#8 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 1,484
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what the heck doesn't bother me. Nor does gosh darnit.

I don't see those as any worse than any other phrase you'd use to replace bad ones. They are all just replacers anyway. I think if someone is truly against swearing, they would just teach their children not to say anything even similar and instead use proper language eg instead of 'what in the world!' at something, 'that is so surprising/incredelous/strange etc. Otherwise, you are just using one more filler phrase that is unnecessary and replacing 'bad' words anyway..r
annethcz's Avatar annethcz
02:22 PM Liked: 24
#9 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 9,825
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I have no issue with that phrase. Then again, I'm not terribly strict when it comes to cuss words, and my kids have certainly heard ME curse on occasion.

I've noticed that as my kids have gotten older, they've become quite adept at figuring out for themselves when it is and isn't appropriate for them to use certain words.
blizzard_babe's Avatar blizzard_babe
02:30 PM Liked: 60
#10 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 4,748
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I don't think that's inappropriate, but people find all kinds of things offensive. I once read a story to my class where a character said, "What the heck?" (or maybe it was "Oh, my gosh," I can't remember) and got a nasty phone call from a parent who didn't want me exposing kids to language with such language.

There's no way to speak that won't offend SOMEONE, as far as I can tell, so just stay away from the "big ones," (f-bomb, etc) and you're probably doing as best you can.
Irishmommy's Avatar Irishmommy
02:35 PM Liked: 315
#11 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 45,457
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I don't think it's the sentence itself, I think it's that it seems like heck is a replacement for hell or f***, which is what people are bothered by. I agree with the pp, others see it as a gateway word.

My kids say it, my 15yo says worse, but I remind her to watch who's around, and blaspheming is never okay (I'd rather hear "wtf" in words than "Oh my God", and I'm not hugely religious.
nolansmummy's Avatar nolansmummy
02:37 PM Liked: 12
#12 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 2,378
Joined: Apr 2005
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post
What the heck?

Because it seems to turn the heads of other parents occassionally. And then one parent told my son "Sometimes I like to say 'what in the world?' instead."

Also, sometimes he just exclaims "What the?" usually in an excited or silly moment. This he gets from dh who playfully says to him 'Who the? What the? 'when ds is trying to trick us or surprise us. It's very cartoonish. I think nothing of it.
My son does this a lot, actually one time he said "what the h*!!" and i asked him to say "heck" or just stop at "what the_" , because while i just don't really care if he cusses in private or around us, our rule is that we don't cuss at people, and we are aware of who is around us (little kids or people who might be offended) We also correct him when he says "oh my god". Like mamazee, we don't want to micromanage ds' language, we want to teach him to be considerate of other peoples feelings to the language.
Ambyrkatt's Avatar Ambyrkatt
02:41 PM Liked: 12
#13 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 430
Joined: May 2005
My DS (4.5) says "what the heck?" and I think nothing of it at all. The other day, I heard him say "frickin" and that didn't bother me either.

I work in welfare determining benefits and a few months ago, I was interviewing a client and she had her 6yo son with her. He said "what the?" and his mom freaked on him! Told him she was going to wash his mouth out with soap. It was a very uncomfortable situation, to say the least. But this mom acted like she thought she had the worst behaved child in the world when really, he was quite calm and didn't disrupt the interview at all. Some parents...
VillageMom6's Avatar VillageMom6
02:49 PM Liked: 11
#14 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 549
Joined: Dec 2008
Personally, I don't allow any of those words. But it's not really a matter of "allow" because for some reason, it's just not an issue with my children. They're just not picking it up anywhere.

The hardest part has been watching my language. I'm frequently tempted to say that something "sucks" or "What the hell?!", etc... but I force myself to come up with gentler alternatives.

It makes me cringe to hear a child pseudo-curse but I'm okay with "Oh my stars!" or "Goodness gracious!". Lately it has been "Heavens to Betsy!". I don't even know what that means.
MadiMamacita's Avatar MadiMamacita
02:56 PM Liked: 120
#15 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 3,878
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i had a preschool student tattle on another child for saying "what the". i didn't get it at first- what is there to tattle on? he skipped the tattle word.

ds is too little for this to apply, but i dont mind those words that mimic swear words.. we even have a set of them in spanish
lotusdebi's Avatar lotusdebi
03:18 PM Liked: 45
#16 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 6,302
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My 3 year old says "What the heck?" and "freakin'" all the time. He also calls people "dude." One time, in the car, he asked, "Mommy, why do you say 'Dammit' instead of 'Oh, crud'?"

He gets a lot of his language from his big brother and friends, but some comes from me as well. I'm glad he's so verbal! But, it can also be somewhat embarrassing at times because we definitely get looks.

I have a very clear memory of once saying, "Bull!" to my mom, and her freaking out over it and washing my mouth out with soap. I didn't even say a bad word, but it was enough to upset my mother. I'm much more laid back, but try to be clear with my kids that some language isn't for "polite company."
Tizzy's Avatar Tizzy
03:19 PM Liked: 30
#17 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 2,059
Joined: Mar 2007
Our kids seem to have a pretty good grasp of appropriate and inappropriate words.
I don't mind if they say "Oh my gosh" or "Darnit" or "What the heck?" or "shoot" or "frickin". But these are all things I say so I don't see why they should have a different vocabulary than DH or I. If I don't want them to say something, I shouldn't be saying it myself.

And it does make me giggle when he says something like "Ugh! This frickin slug is stuck to my belly!" How could you not laugh?

Or he once told one of the older kids on the bus "I don't say sh!t. Sh!t doesn't sound nice to say so I say shoot instead of sh!t." The kid wasn't sure how to respond!
MaerynPearl's Avatar MaerynPearl
03:42 PM Liked: 52
#18 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 14,501
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DH got a huge kick out of DS saying 'O... M... G... OH MY GOODNESS DAD!!!'

I know some parents who hate having their kids say OMG or OMFG but to DS it means oh my goodness! and oh my fantastic goodness!

I had to explain that to my aunt the first time DS said OMFG... that to him the F is not a swearword at all!
Magali's Avatar Magali
03:52 PM Liked: 176
#19 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 2,297
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Heck, heck,, not a problem at all. Hell wouldn't be a problem either. Nor would "oh my Gawd!".
broodymama's Avatar broodymama
04:13 PM Liked: 43
#20 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 7,286
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4 year old DD1 has started saying "What the...!!" all the time. I'm just not really commenting on it, and watching my language so they don't pick up anything really objectionable. Initially it bothered me, but I know that if I make a big deal out of it then it will escalate. And I know there are worse things she could have picked up.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife
05:38 PM Liked: 83
#21 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 5,083
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My mother was big on "gateway words" even when I was a teen. I would say "Freakin'" or "friggin" and she would get upset...

Me? Heck doesn't bother me. With the way DH and I talk frequently (we sound like sailors) "heck" would be a welcome thing to have him pick up.
pauletoy's Avatar pauletoy
05:55 PM Liked: 18
#22 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 1,085
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It wouldn't bother me at all. I don't really care much about so called "gateway words". Most children don't even know what the actual phrase is or at least my kids wouldn't. And also, I don't really care what other people think about what my children are allowed to say.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6
06:05 PM Liked: 619
#23 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 12,446
Joined: Mar 2005
His vocab is a heck of a lot cleaner than mine!

When I was 5, I was really mad at my sister when she was babysitting me. I wrote a note saying "Sh*t you, K! Love, Lynn". When my parents came home, they talked to me about it. According to my mom, she said that wasn't a very nice word to use. I responded, "I could have written a word that starts with F and rhymes with stuck."

I wouldn't bat an eye over 'what the heck!' I probably wouldn't bat an eye over the 'swear word' version either. My kids are 'allowed' to swear as long as they do it in pragmatically appropriate places. If we break something, 'darn' just isn't going to cover it. 'Dammit' does nicely.

We do talk about how some people are offended by those words, and we should probably keep them for home or times of extreme emotion (in 6 and 9 year old terms, obviously).
eclipse's Avatar eclipse
06:06 PM Liked: 211
#24 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 7,440
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My kids say "What the hell?"
lonegirl's Avatar lonegirl
06:22 PM Liked: 59
#25 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 1,604
Joined: Oct 2008
My son's fave right now is "Oh snargety-snarg" (He heard Oh Sh** and hubby told him that instead) He also uses "what the huh?"
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife
06:36 PM Liked: 424
#26 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 11,487
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"What the heck?" is quite tame, IMO, but then I have to really censor myself when speaking within earshot of people in public, certain relatives/acquaintances/etc.

It doesn't bother me a bit when my kids say it (and various phrases), but they, too, have learned there is a time and place for certain words (well, not so much the younger two, yet ). So they are more aware of what comes out of their mouth in front of say, grandma or their teacher.
mrspineau's Avatar mrspineau
08:31 PM Liked: 23
#27 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 558
Joined: Jan 2008
I wouldn't think anything of it, honestly. lol my sister has a huge problem with the fact that I let my son say "boobies". I find that hilarious. I have a problem with real curse words, but not things like, heck, frig, darn, etc. Although, he doesnt say those things, yet anyways. we dont say them really i guess though so he doesnt really hear them.
phathui5's Avatar phathui5
10:18 PM Liked: 5886
#28 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 17,019
Joined: Jan 2002
We don't allow our children to use regular curse words or "replacement cussing." It's just easier to have it be something they don't do at all than to have to explain when it's ok and when it isn't when they're little.

Lately, I've been glad that we don't let them do it. One of the neighbor kids was at out other neighbor's house and said "frickin'". Now that dad doesn't want him at their house. My kids like playing there, so I'm glad they're not the ones who said it.
girlzmommy00's Avatar girlzmommy00
10:27 PM Liked: 10
#29 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 688
Joined: May 2003
Personally, I see nothing wrong with it. I think it may depend on your family & where you live (I'm in NJ & have had 85 year old ladies curse me out on more than 1 occation LOL). In our home or even at school, no one would bat an eye.

There are some words that I'm not okay with but for the most part, if you can say it on TV with out a beep sound over it, you can say it here. The only thing I'm not okay with is "fricken" For my girls who are 7 and 10, I feel like that's too close to the real thing. I'm not a fan of "oh my God" but there are worse things to be said.
f&p'smama's Avatar f&p'smama
10:30 PM Liked: 10
#30 of 58
07-18-2010 | Posts: 906
Joined: Sep 2006
It wouldn't thrill me if my kids said that, i just don't think it sounds nice out of a young child's mouth, but I certainly would not correct someone else's kid. I probably wouldn't correct my own, actually, as they'd probably then think it was super funny to say. My kids have not been in any kind of school or daycare and I'm very careful with how I talk around them, so they don't know any words like that. They're starting school in the fall, so I'm sure they'll pick up some charming vocabulary words then.

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