So Is This How 6-Year-Olds Talk These Days?

Photo: Corbis
Photo: Corbis

I’m going to skip the wind up here and just get to it: Over lunch yesterday, my 6-year-old son said, "Mom, is D-O-O-S-H a bad word?" I resisted my knee-jerk reaction — to say, “OMG! Yes! Who said that to you?! WTF! (By the way, bud, you spelled it wrong …”) — and played it cool so I could get more info out of him. “Um, yes it is, bud,” I replied, “and you shouldn’t say it … but where did you hear that word?” I didn’t want to put him on the defensive so we chatted a bit and when he dodged the question, I didn’t push. I was basically trying to avoid being Ralphie’s mom from A Christmas Story (read: I didn’t want him to make up an answer just to get me off his back or protect the guilty). Finally, he said:

 “At camp today Nate* (you don't know him mom) called Max (you don’t know him either, mom) a "D-O-O-S-H-B-A-G..."

Wow, so now it’s D-O-O-S-H-B-A-G?! That’s even worse. And a kid calling another kid this? Call me naïve but … ack! The kid in question is going into 4th grade so I suppose it’s not as bad as a 6-year-old dishing out the D word but still, it was in front of a bunch of little kids and it’s a pretty awful thing to say, right? I am so not a prude and my kids have heard — and repeated — their share of bad words but this one takes the cake. So far, anyway. When I told my parents and sisters last night they laughed (it’s definitely one for the “is-it-cocktail-hour-yet?” files) and were a little shocked but mostly they felt like this was par for the course. Is it? Is this just how kids talk these days?

I know there’s no sheltering our children from the bad things others are going to say (and, again, they’ve heard plenty in their own house — but certainly not the D word). I know they’ll be exposed to all sorts of salty language on the back of the bus and there are always going to be older kids around to corrupt the innocent. I get that it’s our job to help them distinguish right from wrong, including language. But I didn’t think we’d have so many little you-know-whats working against us so soon. I kind of thought we’d have more time with “stupid” and “idiot” being the worst things our kids said. Six years old feels awfully young to be hearing D-O-O-S-H-B-A-G, no? Aren’t they supposed to be learning silly songs at camp? Am I just being naïve?

When I picked him up today he put his pointer finger and thumb into the L sign, held it up to his forehead and said, “Mom, what does this mean?” Guess I’m doomed, huh?

*name changed to protect the guilty