Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Potty mouth

Posted August 14, 2011

Maybe my kids pick it up from the proliferation of cartoons like "Sponge Bob" where the words "stupid" and "idiot" are tossed around ad nauseam. But after one too many sneak attacks where they thought I was out of earshot, I was done with my daughters using these words towards one another as barbs when they were fighting.

"I have an announcement," I said one Sunday. "Anyone who says a bad word, which includes any word meant to be an insult to another person, must put 25 cents into the potty-mouth jar. At the end of the week, if someone has not offended, the person can take the money and buy a treat, like an ice cream."

Understandably, they looked at me like I was crazy. But I was serious. I was done with it. I was a mother on a mission. I wanted to hit them where it hurt. Maybe 25 cents doesn't seem like a lot, but I figured after continually taking it out of their piggy banks and handing it over, they might finally get the picture.

Potty mouth jar

"OK, so does that include you guys?" my oldest daughter said with her hands on her hips.

"Of course it does," I said without really thinking about it.

"So, like when you get mad at someone in traffic or stub your toe and you say --"

"OK, stop right there. I get it. Yes, we must be held to the same standard. You're absolutely right," I said thinking about whether or not I had quarters in my wallet at that moment. So, here's the rub. At the end of the first week, only two people had contributed to the jar, and it wasn't my daughters. Suddenly, they are the potty-mouth police, sneaking up on me as I engage in a heated conversation on the phone, or listening intently from the backseat as someone cuts in front of me on the highway, or watching and waiting when I hit my knee on the edge of a table and am wincing in pain.

So, I guess I have two choices-clean up my act, or go to the bank and get more change...

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.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Glass Half Full Aug 15, 2011

    It's amazing the habits you can break when you know your children are watching. I used to hate it when my parents would say "Do as I say, not as I do" so I don't go there and had to clean up my act too. It was a good clean-up though!

  • Nicsnanni Aug 15, 2011

    thanks for the smile and flash back of myself doing the same.

  • crm0942 Aug 15, 2011

    If that all she has to woory about that`s not bad

  • kittiboo Aug 15, 2011

    I had to laugh at this! If it was me, I'd be getting more change. Love the idea, though.

  • katizs Aug 15, 2011

    That is the wonderful thing about kids - they will keep you honest and aware of your own actions! They will also learn from watching you try hard to change and you will be surprised the impact you will have on them when they realize you are trying hard to change and keep your word as well

  • stacey129 Aug 14, 2011

    Yeah, Unfortunately our kids are a reflection of us!! I cleaned up my mouth and alot of my other behavior when I found out they were watching and reflecting. It is sad to say that it took seeing myself in others to make changes I should have made a long time ago. Kids do eventually bring out the very best in us-- painful as it may be!!!!