Our 9 year old son came home from school today. We were standing at the kitchen counter chatting while he had his “Mya” snack. He calls it this as he has something to munch on before or after he walks his dog Mya after school. He looks up and asks “Is ‘sexy’ a bad word?”
Whoa! Readjust. A small voice whispers quietly inside my head “Careful…no opinion.”
Best defense for a parent to buy time to formulate an answer to any question…respond with a question of your own. “Do you know what the word ‘sexy’ means?” “No” he answered. Phew! I let out my breath. No wait! I still haven’t dealt with his question have I?
Allow! Allow! Deep breath…jump!
“Well…sexy is an adult word for attractive. Mommy thinks daddy is attractive so I think he is sexy. Daddy thinks mommy is attractive so daddy thinks I’m sexy. That’s one of the reasons we got married. But it is not a word kids use – it’s a word adults use.”
Hope this works…. “Do you think you should use it?” “No”. “So, the use of the word by you and your friends could be considered ‘bad’ but just so you understand, the word itself is not.” He’s nodding his head looking at me attentively I search for a 9 year old connection. I remind him of the joke he made up for school the previous year: What did the screw say to the magnet? You are very attractive.
OK – I think I hit my objective: To walk the fine line of delivering facts while giving only enough age related detail AND to avoid setting up unreasonable beliefs which could be considered contradictory later on.
Turns out he was goofing around in the school yard singing “Eh, sexy lady” from Gangnam Style. And since the only words everyone seems to know include ‘sexy’ – it appears someone from his peer group pointed out he had used the ‘s’ word which is a ‘bad’ word. I reiterated that every family has different consideration for what is and is not a ‘bad’ word. Just like we believe ‘hate’ is a strong, negative word and avoid use of it, his friend’s family believe ‘sexy’ is a bad word and they should not be using it.
I suggested he may wish to choose to no offend his friends by singing this at school – but if he wants to be silly at home and sing while he dances – this would be allowable in our household. No further questions from my little man at this time. Yeah!
Would love your feedback on this one. Any other questions you know they will ask that you have a great suggestion for us in advance. I welcome others opinions.
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Blessings to all those who have survived parenthood – the legal ability to form another human being without instruction manuals. Ours did it with us. Ours will do it with theirs.