Yes, I know I am a word prude and don’t so much engage in the cussing. Though I will say that when I am around those who do indulge more than I – mainly church members and certain family members – I do join in. Apparently I lower my voice when I do cuss, but still, no judgment here.
Still, this AM I heard an exchange that would rank pretty low on the "Best Practices of Effective Parenting" scale. This took place in the car next to me as I was parking my car.
Dad to Son, "That is total bulls**t! Don’t f*****g talk to me that way, I will not take this s**t!"
How sweet, maybe this is the way this particular father expresses his love and affection. I wonder what set the dad off? I can only imagine . . .
"Dad, could you please stop f****g swearing at me?"
Now I am the last person to say that getting frustrated and outraged with your kids is something that we should not acknowledge or express, nor do I know anything about this particular situation. Still, it does make me reflect on some of the practices that I hope to embody as a parent . . . and I mean hope.
Be prepared for the results of one’s parenting. While much of our kid’s behavior is outside of our control, we still have some impact on how they treat others, how they interact in society, etc. If my parenting style consists of mostly put-downs, wall-punching, destruction and/or the spewing of hateful and hurtful words, I have no right to get frustrated when that is turned right back at me or causes problems for them when they do the same to others.
Model Positive Expressions of Anger, Frustration and Forgiveness. Again, we will all get frustrated, we will all want to yell, we all have those moments that we just feel like we are going to snap. Any parent that says that they NEVER get frustrated and have to make choices about the way that they express outrage is a LIAR! Now physical/emotional abuse is something totally different, but I know that there are times where we let our anger get the best of us . . . especially around the words we use. I would NEVER say that one should always bottle up those emotions, BUT one should help to model a healthy way of expressing anger and frustration and when unable to, should have a healthy way of expressing the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Being a parent does mean sometimes having to say, "I’m sorry."
Again, we all get frustrated, all get angry and we all feel like we are supposed to be perfect. Every parents knows what an effing lie that is. The grace is that perfection is never demanded of us from God, only that we acknowledge our brokenness and allow our lives and actions to be transformed by God forgiveness. Whew . . .