Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Teacher knows best

Posted November 13, 2011

Sometimes I forget that I'm listening to satellite radio or watching cable television and a word that used to be forbidden from prime time media hits me in the face like a concrete block.

"Bad word," my youngest yells from the backseat. I quickly turn back to Radio Disney, or my personal favorite, The Coffee House.

Truth be told, my children think just about any word that is an insult or slang is a bad word. The teachers at the elementary school that my older daughter attended and my younger daughter still attends are very skillful in modeling respectful language. And now, my kids are trying to teach their parents the same lessons.

"Mommy, I have a contract for you to sign," my younger daughter announces as she affixes a piece of paper to the refrigerator with an Elvis magnet. "We can no longer say these words in our house. Mrs. Covington said so."

I look at the list and see that we have been falling terribly short of the third grade rules as a family. The list includes, "darn" and "dang" in all of their rudimentary conjugations. It also includes "yo" and "What the?" The apt title of her contract was "Words we cannot say in our house." She also put lines for us to sign the contract. We all promptly obliged.

Amanda Lamb: Words you can't say

So far, so good. My daughter is quick to point out when we fall short of the contract. She actually recently added a clause that says: "Do not sign if you are not following. It is a waste of paper."

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • Piety Nov 16, 2011

    sat123 by words are just as bad. Think about it. Like saying "the word". Be angry but sin not.

  • Piety Nov 16, 2011

    Sat123 by words are just as bad.

  • Piety Nov 16, 2011

    LOVE IT! In elementary school we listen to the Surgeon General speak about how smoking is bad for you and will kill you. I told my grandaddy and from that day he stopped cold turkey.

  • sat123 Nov 14, 2011

    Well, goodness!

    Actually, since "goodness", "gosh", and "god" (as an expression of frustration) are all sort of commingled, are you allowed to say "goodness"?

    This must be how Phil Dunphy got his start. From now on, you must express your frustration with random non-sequiturs. I suggest starting with "Aw, chicken in a biskit" because that's the only one I remember offhand.

  • Killian Nov 14, 2011

    I'm glad this works for your family. But quite frankly, I would not appreciate a teacher who doesn't know me or my family determining what vernacular is appropriate in my home. My children have exceptional vocabularies, and can write and speak quite well. But they also use their own slang or humor in casual conversation. I have absolutely no issue with them saying, "Yo" to each other, or "Darn" if they drop something, for example.

    Parents need to establish appropriate guidelines for what is considered acceptable in their homes, and I am quite cognizant of the fact that many fail to do so. But no teacher is going to tell me that I "can't" use certain words or phrases in my home.

  • andreanicole686 Nov 14, 2011

    Thats a great idea! Being a middle school teacher I wish a lot of these kids had teachers like that when they were younger. Many bad words I tell them they can't say they tell me, "well my parents say it." I think parents sometimes forget that their children are always listening to what they say!

  • snowl Nov 14, 2011

    I know what you are saying....I recently watched the edited version of a new comedy (movie) and was shocked by the language. What language was in the unedited one? Most of those "bad words" would never had been spoken in or out of our household when my kids were growing up. I like this teacher!