May 25, 2012

Kids and Swearing 2: The Taco Bell Sauce Analogy

Do you remember when we were talking about kids and swearing? I stumbled upon an analogy that worked well to explain some things to 1st-grader Edward. It requires the children to be familiar with Taco Bell, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. (It also helps that in our family there's a pretty clear correlation between increased age and increased liking of hot sauces.)

It started because he asked if he could use the f-word to say one funny thing, and I said no, he couldn't. (I first established that we were talking about "the one that rhymes with duck," because in the past there have been misunderstandings where I later discovered that, for example, "the s-word" was "stupid" or "snot.")

This led to a conversation where I was trying to discuss the difference between "mild" swears and "strong" swears---but also trying not to imply that strength (often a positive attribute) was necessarily positive in this case. It was when he asked what "mild" meant that I thought of the taco sauce he likes. So then it was a quick jump to the idea that although he likes one packet of mild sauce on a taco, it wouldn't be a good plan to use ten packets of fire sauce. And although fire sauce is "stronger" than mild sauce, that doesn't mean it's better, it means you need to be more careful with it and make sure it's what you want in that situation. And that someone might put mild sauce on tacos and nachos, and might work up to fire sauce with time and practice, but still not use any sauce at all on the cinnamon twists or in the strawberry slushie or on the table or in our eyes. And that using too much sauce, or putting the sauce in an inappropriate place, RUINS things.

This got across to him some concepts that I was having a little trouble getting across before: that just because it's okay to use something sometimes, doesn't mean you should use it constantly and in all situations; that the differences between levels of swears is a difference in intensity and danger; that just because something is okay in a mild form doesn't mean it's okay in a stronger form; that being allowed to use something doesn't mean you'll want to or that you SHOULD.

24 comments:

DomestiKook said...

Good analogy, never thought of it that way. Sometimes my mouth runs away with me, I'll try to remember that sauce in the eyes thing though, because...ouch. No seriously. That is actually fairly brilliant.

M.Amanda said...

Brilliant!

andreaunplugged said...

This is awesome! Not only is it an effective analogy for kids, but also one for adults too. :)

Nowheymama said...

Genius!

G said...

This is such an excellent analogy, I now want to make sure all my kids have Taco Bell more often so that I can steal it.

Wendi said...

I *love* that analogy, and I bet he will remember it well, too!

I'm (happily) past this now with my son almost 22 (and moved out) and my daughter almost 18. The funny thing is, my daughter very rarely swears in front of us -- she said it makes her uncomfortable, like she's disrespecting us. She still says "b word" and that sort of thing. Cracks me up!

heidi davis said...

I bow to your brilliance!

Slauditory said...

This post makes me want Taco Bell. But, seriously, this analogy makes sense because you're using something he can observe with his senses and translate in his mind. Genius!

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

That is genius! (Although now I am craving a taco with hot sauce.)

I'm glad it helped, too. Sometimes I feel like I come up with a PERFECT analogy for a situation, and it STILL doesn't get through to the other person and that is SO MADDENING.

Perhaps I have greatly trumped up my analogy-making skills, though. I have not yet reached Swistle Level.

Carmen said...

This is so clever. I've bookmarked it for later.

Although I'll have to think of a different sauce-like item/condiment, as my kids wouldn't go within 938472 yards of any hot sauce, mild or otherwise.

liz said...

I love it!!

Leigh said...

This is absolute genius. Seriously, so brilliant. I only wish I could teach it to my coworkers . . . some of them use WAY too much fire sauce, LOL.

Lippy said...

You are a genius. I might start using fire sauce to replace the f word.

Misty said...

This is supremely clever. I am impressed.

Lindsay said...

Edward has me intrigued - I kind of want to hear the funny story with the f word in it....

j/k, good analogy, and cute how he asks what mild means.

velocibadgergirl said...

This is absolutely brilliant! Totally bookmarking for future use.

cakeburnette said...

Perfect! You are brilliant!

Jessica said...

I love this - especially "that just because something is okay in a mild form doesn't mean it's okay in a stronger form." The taco sauce is a great analogy to get that concept across.

Anonymous said...

Freaking brilliant!

(and now you must tackle the use of non-swear words used in a swear-word fashion... a youngin' saying "That's freakin' ridiculous!")

Anonymous said...

Great analogy!

Unrelated question - a while back you posted about your oldest son and his female best friend wanting to have a sleepover. I'm just curious what happened with that?

Swistle said...

Anonymous- They never brought it up again, so we haven't had to deal with it.

brzeski said...

You're an absolute GENIUS. Really, remarkable. I will be using this TONIGHT.

twisterfish said...

Very clever!

Rachael Heiner said...

This is totally awesome. Thank you for making this up!