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Every culture and every area has its own peculiar way of looking at things and of stating those things. Some of the phrases and words sound rather “rough” to some societies and some sound silly to others.

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I knew a man who held his pinkie out when he was eating. It was not an affectation; it was because of an injury. At one time, that would have been seen as the mark of a “gentleman,” but now, as societies become more relaxed as a whole, it’s seen as the mark of a silly person.

As your children mature, they will see things and say things differently, too. “I have to go pee,” becomes “I have to go to the bathroom,” then it’s the “restroom,” and for the females, it sometimes becomes the powder room. It’s all the same thing, but in genteel society, it somehow becomes more acceptable to call a basic necessity by another name.

When kids start school or go to daycare, their vocabularies sometimes expand in just the opposite direction and there seems to be little we can do about it.

If you find yourself in that situation, don’t go down without a fight. Make a game of using the right words and phrases and at least some of it will stick. When your child uses a word or phrase that you find offensive or coarse, ask for three other words that mean the same thing. Do it quickly and think fast so you can come up with alternatives in case your child can’t.

If your child can’t think of three words (or two or however many you ask for) that mean the same thing, he loses and you win. Claim your prize by giving him a chore. If he wins, you do something for him.

Be sure to keep the chores and other prizes very small, because it won’t be long until you will be losing most of the time!

This simple, entertaining game becomes a win-win game for both you and your child, but you can take it to another level. When an appropriate word or term is found for an inappropriate one, challenge your child to use it at least three times instead of the other. Make it fun. Laugh when he forgets and cheer when he remembers.

Do it yourself, too. When we make our kids aware that some words and phrases are more acceptable than others, they will begin to listen and speak with more discernment.

A game like this cannot take the place of a more serious approach when needed, but it could help stop your child from getting to that stage.

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