Warning: This Post Contains Bad Words

I buckled my little girl in her seat and closed the van door.

“Where we going Mommy?” she asked, as I backed out of our driveway.

“We are going to wash and vacuum our stinky van!”

She didn’t answer.

I looked in the rearview mirror at her little face deep in thought.

And then she said, “Yep, it sure smells like cr*p in here.”

Y’all. I nearly had a wreck.

“What did you say?” I said s-l-o-w-l-y.

And so she said it again.

“Honey, that is a very bad word,” I said disapprovingly.

“Which one?” she asked innocently.

I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to find out where she heard it. It’s not something we normally say. I didn’t make much progress and tried to turn it into a teachable moment.

But it was also hard not to replay the moment over and over in my mind. It made me laugh every time (secretly, of course). It was just so unexpected.

Later that day, my oldest and I were alone in the car and I told her what happened. Except I said, “Your sister said a bad word today. You will never believe what she said.”

But only the next part didn’t go like I planned.

Because my nearly 12 year old said, “Did she say @!&*#?”


And I nearly had my second wreck of the day.

“Um, No, she didn’t. WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT WORD?”

She nervously laughed. I joined her. Nervously.

“Mom, I go to public school. You can try and shield us from all the bad things in the world, but we are going to be exposed to things that are worldly. We know right from wrong. I’ve never said that word. It was just a guess.”

And then we both giggled. For real this time. My child is so wise and her words were true. I tend to overreact about things like “bad words.” It was good to just chill and learn from my kids.

Later that night, my little one said, “Mom, remember when I said that word today?”

I waited.

“I can’t remember what it was,” she sighed.


“I know! Will you tell me all the bad words you know so I can remember?”

Clearly I have my work cut out.



  1. 1


    Thank you for the chuckle! We had our own “near miss” last week when we put on The Goonies, thinking it was harmless for our three year old. Of course, one of the first things that’s clearly audible is an “Oh $h!$%”. And of course, it happens to be the one word that our daughter repeats back. Except, she didn’t pronounce it correctly. We will definitely be paying closer attention to what movies we let her watch now, because clearly we were a little older than her when we saw The Goonies and didn’t remember the bad words!

  2. 2

    Melanie says

    I totally relate with this post. My 3 year old woke me up one morning saying, “good morning, mommy. You’re stupid.” I almost lost my jaw! We don’t say that word. I don’t like it. I asked her where she hear it and she replied, “the sky” while pointing to the ceiling of our new apartment (and our new upstairs neighbors). I just hope that this is the worst of it.

  3. 3

    Kimber says

    Oh Kristen, thanks for the belly laugh!!! My husband and I had Everybody Loves Raymond on one evening about a year ago (our daughter was two). Frank said, “Holy Crap!” and the studio audience busts into laughter. So of course, out of this angelic little mouth comes “HOMEY CRAP!” And … we laughed! We tried SO HARD not to … but we did. And of course, that fueled the flames. There was a fair share of homey crappin’ going on for a while. Thankfully, she is old enough now to understand which words we do and don’t say. When in doubt, she asks. Tonight, it was “Mom, can I say “Oh, hiccups?” “

    • 3.1

      Sharon says

      LOL!! That’s where our kids get it, too. It was so cute hearing my 3 year old say “Holy Crap”. Now that he’s 5, not so cute anymore, but it’s become a staple around here. I try to tell myself that there are much worse things my kids could be saying (but aren’t) but I’m not sure that is much of a consolation. We’re trying to change it to holy cow, but it’s slow going.

  4. 4


    Thank you so much for the chuckle!

    My 3 y/o daughter frequently says “I hate you”… ::sigh:: We don’t even use the word hate. The worst part though, is that she learned it from her 5 y/o brother (and I have no idea where he heard it). Trying to explain to a 3 y/o why those kind of sayings are inappropriate is interesting.

    • 4.1


      I don’t like when my kids say that “I hate you”, either. Especially to me. Totally unacceptable. My first two I used to scold greatly when they would say it and they would immediately apologize and ask for forgiveness. With child #3, however, it goes something like this: “You can hate me all you want but you have to obey me.” :) A lot of strong will there.

    • 4.2

      Lexa says

      We don’t like our girls to use the word ‘hate,’ either. I explained it this way to our now 6-year-old when she said she hated me a year or two ago … “When you hate someone or something, you are saying you want that person to be dead. Forever. Gone. Do you really hate Mommy? I think you are frustrated with me and you don’t like what I said to you [I told her she couldn’t watch a tv show before dinner …], but I think you love Mommy very much and need some time to think about what words you can use instead.” Now she when she’s reading and comes upon the word ‘hate’ she pauses and changes it to ‘doesn’t like’ – for example, earlier this week she was reading a book called ‘The Girl Who Hated Ponies’ and she felt compelled to tell me every. single. time. the text said ‘hate.’

      We also don’t let our girls (ages 6, 3, and 1) use the word ‘starving.’ I’m not big into hyperbole and exaggeration, in case you couldn’t tell. :) When one of our girls says they are starving, we remind them that they are hungry, and maybe even very hungry, but they are NOT starving. They have food to eat at any time, access to grocery stores, fast food, restaurants, etc. There are people around the world and even in our country and our city that truly are starving; my children are not.

  5. 5


    My daughter carved, yes CARVED, the word hell in our kitchen table.

    Cr*p doesn’t rank as a “very bad word” here. LOL.

    Um, I nearly fell out of my seat when my nice, good girl, never causes me heart ache 11 year old asked for permission to flip someone off.

  6. 6


    Hahaha! My 8yr old has been saying that C-word a lot. Because, well…..her mother uses that word a lot. Since becoming a Christian over 14 yrs ago, it’s the only word that I kept. The only word that doesn’t give me that “parental slap upside the back of my head feeling” if it slips out. I struggle with the kids because of what they hear at school, like your daughter pointed out. And today? Well, lets just say I found out what all ELSE my 14yr old has learned in public school. Oy.

    • 6.1


      cr*p isn’t a really bad word here in either. 😉 And other more serious offenses slip out once in a while from this momma’s mouth you know, when really crummy rotten things happen- like dumping a fully cooked meatloaf on the floor or slipping down the stairs and bruising my tailbone while carrying a laundry basket of full clean folded clothes.

      I remember the summer before our twin girls started kindergarten, and their older brother (by 4 years) came to us very seriously one day and said “Mom, Dad, are you sure you want to put the girlies on the bus? I have heard every bad word there is on the bus.” So sweet he wanted to protect them. Mostly, we try not to make a big deal out of it, we know they will hear them all at school, on the bus, and on TV, and in everyday conversation standing in Wal-mart (yikes!) and will address each one as it comes. We will never condone the use of bad language, but also don’t want to make a big deal out of it either.

  7. 7

    Alisha says

    My six year old recently learned the word that we refer to as “The Mother of All Bad Words.” :o) We were at the park, and being the budding little reader that he is, he read what someone had etched into a slide. He read it perfectly, and in doing so, taught it to his five year old friend. I told him that he now knew “The Mother of All Bad Words” and that he was never to use it…not even to tell his brother, who is 2 years older.

    This episode came up again just recently, and he couldn’t remember the word. Yay! Of course, all he has to do is go to the park and see it again, but since it’s not a word he hears, (at least not around here!) he doesn’t even remember it.

  8. 12


    Wow! Hilarious in a sad sort of way. It is strange how those words creep into our children’s minds. Satan knows how to get in there. Once they are there, they are there forever.

  9. 16

    tiabennett says

    I am right there with you! Mine say ” We do ride the bus, Mom!” Ugh, praying God guards their hearts, eyes, and ears everyday.

  10. 17


    too funny! I almost stroked when my 3 year old said something about “boyfriend/girlfriend” when pretend playing with her baby dolls last week… but luckily, she hasn’t said it again… or else I’ll probably be putting her under lock and key tomorrow!

  11. 18

    Sara Z. says

    Kristen, your children are so precious! My 6 year old likes to use the expression “Oh Phooey” or better yet, “Oh Phooey Cakes!”. Can’t help but laugh at her, but I wish I could shelter her forever from the other influences out there that will eventually infiltrate her little world.

  12. 20

    Carolyn says

    When my son was about 3, I had bought a new flavor of pop tarts. When he walked in the kitchen, he looked at them on the counter at eye level with him and said…. “What the H*LL is that??” I almost DIED!!!!!! He had NEVER heard us say that!! I still have no idea where he heard it!!!

  13. 21

    Heather says

    She is something else. Reminds me of my three year old, who is known for randomly shouting out lines from “King of the Hill”. I have taught my girls that just because you here it in the world or on tv doesn’t mean you say it as we choose to please God. Usually they only say it, whatever it is once.

  14. 22

    Amber K says

    Aw, Kristen…that is too funny! And sweet…Unfortunately, we’re not that good. Cr*p isn’t a really bad word at our house, either…but we’re working on it! Hey, never stop improving, right? :)

    I do have a funny to share…when I was five, Santa came to visit at my Great Grandma’s. My family had me, the first grandchild, go open the front door. The house was so still and quiet…I looked up and saw this really horrible looking Santa-eyebrow falling off, beard crooked, Santa all short and stuff…and the house heard a tiny voice whiper “What the h#ll is that?” And they all erupted with laughter. So not appropriate but I think it’s the innocence of it being said that threw them for a loop!
    It happens to us all but we just strive to be better all the time! :)

  15. 23


    I did something like this in 1st grade;0! My poor mother was SHOCKED! I recently said to her, “Hey mom do you remember when I got in the car and said….” I didn’t even finish and she yelled “YES!” ;).

  16. 24


    Love it! Out of the mouth of babes! I had to send my 4 year old son to his room for a time out. When I went in there to discuss his actions he looked at me with huge tears in his eyes and said “it just breaks my heart when you send me to my room!”

  17. 25


    Funny. Our house is the opposite. When the red Costco sized juice fell off the fridge onto the floor, walls, table and chairs, I said, “Dang it”. My three year old son reprimanded me and said, “Mom, we don’t say words like that. You can say goodness gravy instead.”

  18. 26


    oh funny! a few months ago my mom had my niece with her shopping. they were checking out and out of the blue my niece says “we don’t say s**t, do we much?” oh my gosh my mom almost died. the cashier still remembers it and brings it up every time my mom comes in the store. kids are funny.

  19. 27


    That’s too funny. Our latest one…”shut up.” I’m not sure where she gets this. But the other night she used it and correctly, I might add. My SIL was talking and we were all thinking those words, but not saying them when my two year old daughter says them for us. She was so into telling her story, she didn’t notice a two year old just told her what to do. Thanks for making me laugh. I needed that.

  20. 28


    Last week we were at a field trip with our christian homeschool group, which we are very new to when my 6 year old screamed out, “D-mnit-” because she dropped her chips. Then she laughed and smiled. I wanted to crawl under the bench and hide. She does not know what it means but she had heard her grandfather say it and thought it was a funny word. I know this and we’ve talked about it but it was just one of those moments that you wish you had a time machine for.

  21. 29


    The “bad” words around here are “stupid” and “hate.” My six-year-old won’t even read them if she comes across them in a book! My husband is of the dad-gummit and dog-gonnit variety. We also rely on the “oh rats!” response a lot. Whew! Kids always seem to pick up on the words we don’t want them to remember, and forget the good words like “please” and “thank you!”

  22. 30


    My kids are in public school too, and I really don’t like to think about what they hear every day (they are older–middle school and high school). Thankfully they’ve never wanted to emulate the people who talk that way. Still, as much as I love public school, thinking about them battling with words like that every day makes me sad.

    We have never allowed words like “hate,” “stupid,” or (the big one for me) “shut up.”

    • 30.1

      Jen L. says

      My niece goes to a private Christian school and she has heard bad words there too. I don’t think it is just public school. It is the parents and kids that make up those schools.

  23. 32


    That was so funny. But good to know they know right from wrong. My oldest is four and a half and we (Surprisingly to me actually. Sometimes Pappy doesn’t have the best word choices. ) haven’t had any of those moments.

  24. 34


    This morning I had an unbelievable conversation with my 3 year old. Out of nowhere, my son asked me if I knew that bad people put Jesus on the cross. I said yes and waited to see where this was going. He then told me that if it had been him on the cross, he would have told them they were all “lying cr*p.” I was about as rocked as you were. Where on earth would he have heard that. I still don’t know but it was a great opportunity to talk about how Jesus responded.

  25. 35


    I friend of mine said that for her it’s a little different–if her child says a bad word, everyone knows the child learned it from mom–because they are homeschooled!

    And since I homeschool too, I know where the word comes from if my children say something!

  26. 36


    No doubt my day is coming! I’m sure mine uses all the above words, I just can’t understand them yet!

    Warmest regards,
    Pardon My Poppet ~ Pip Squeaks from the Mummy-verse!

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