As parents, we try to censor our children’s world. We control what they watch on television, what movies they see, and what music they listen to. As twenty-first century parents, we have the added burden of controlling what they view on the Internet. One thing we can’t control is the world around them.
“Mommy, there’s some bad words in here,” my youngest daughter yells from inside the gas station bathroom stall.
“Really, Sweetie, just ignore them,” I say absentmindedly.
“No, for real, Mommy. S-H-“ she begins.
“Got it!” I say reaching hurriedly for the door of the stall which she had left slightly ajar.
“F-“ she begins again.
“That’s enough,” I scream, positioning my body in between her and the wall of the stall which is covered in very large curse words written in thick black magic marker.
There are actually some words I hadn’t seen or heard in a very long time, along with graphic illustrations. I think about whether or not I am going to have my own “words” with the cashier after we exit the obscene bathroom, and then decide he probably knows about it and doesn’t care.
The moment illustrated for me that no matter how hard we try, our children will be faced from time to time with material we find offensive. Because we can’t always predict it, we need to figure out how to react to it appropriately.
“Sweetie, you know we never repeat those words, right?” I ask her as we leave the gas station, holding hands.
“I know, Mommy,” she says rolling her little eyes. “I just wanted to show you what a good reader I am.”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here every Monday.