Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My seven-year-old son loves potty talk. It’s poop this, fart that, butt everywhere. They are not curse words, but it still bothers and embarrasses me. He says that it makes him and his friends laugh. My husband is no help because he just weighs in with a “freedom of speech” argument. What do I do?
Dear Possibly Prudish,
Congratulations! Laughing at body parts and bodily functions is not only age appropriate for seven year-olds, it is a life skill that can be honed well into adulthood. I suspect that your husband will agree.
And let’s face it–it is cheap humor. Where else can you get such reasonable entertainment in today’s economy? For the cost of few moments of mortification, your child is laughing and happy. That’s what we call a “win-win.” Except for the whole thing about you thinking it’s offensive.
I recommend finding times and places where your son can indulge in this type of humor that is acceptable to you.
This is what I did with my kids: Influenced by the Clinton White House, I instituted the “if I don’t hear it, it doesn’t exist” rule, a close relative of the “don’t ask don’t tell.” My kids are allowed to indulge in potty talk in places that I will not have to hear it. In their rooms, for example. Or in church.
If they break that rule and tell a fart joke at the dinner table, I send them to their room to laugh it off. And while they’re gone, I eat their dessert.
As for your husband’s concerns about your son’s civil liberties being in peril, I recommend that you solve that problem by reading your entire family a modified version of the Miranda warning. Here is the text for handy reference:
You have the right not to use potty talk. If you use potty talk at the dinner table, you will be sent to your room. Using potty talk is inappropriate and will be used against you.
If it’s good enough for the U.S. Supreme Court, it should be good enough for your family.
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