First things first: I am an only child who went to all-girls’ school for 13 years. So to say I am out of my element raising two boys in 2022 is a tragic understatement. But here I find myself: raising a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old in the age of YouTube and TikTok and everything else. And I am stunned at not only their knowledge of completely gross language, but also at my inability to cope with it.
It wasn’t always like this, of course. My older son entered into third grade a (relatively) sweet, (relatively) innocent kid, who’d spent the better part of two years learning from his bedroom and hanging out with me. Fast forward to the end of this school year and his vocabulary has grown in the grossest of ways; he’s now a bro. He has a handshake with his brother, he fancies himself a chain-wearer, and the word “balls” regularly comes out of his mouth. He heard “Welcome to the Jungle” — which admittedly is a classic — and now makes that Axel Rose “ughhh” sound every five seconds, much to my great chagrin. Third grade is just a microcosm of everything that comes next.
Sure, he’s growing up — and fast — but I’m not OK with many of the words coming out of his mouth. Thing is he and his friends don’t really even know what they’re saying. They talk about 69 and giggle, but if you ask him what it means, he just says, “I think sex.” He would be mortified to know what it really is.
Which leads me to my next assignment: explaining to him exactly what he’s saying. I’m convinced if I tell him what 69 means, he’ll want to wash his own mouth out with soap. We have yet to have the sex talk with him, but I now plan on being as explicit as possible. Ok, friend, let me give you the 411. Oh, you want “chopped nuts” on your ice cream? Sure, I’ll give that to you (yay, protein!) but also I’ll tell you exactly what your nuts are for. Do I think this is completely sound parenting? Not really. Do I think the parenting experts would say this is a colossal mistake? Absolutely.
It will be uncomfortable. I will hate every minute of it. But I also can’t take it anymore. My little kid is now a big kid and with that growth comes the added responsibility to better understand the world around him. It’s worth it so at least his kindergartener brother doesn’t become the most hated playmate around. It’s worth it so then at least the next two years won’t be spent in the principal’s office. Godspeed to all of us. Goodbye to all that, indeed.
Kate is the Editor-in-Chief at Scary Mommy, helping to bring the stories you know and love to you daily. Before joining BDG, Kate spent 11 years at HuffPost, most recently serving as the Senior Editor for Parenting and Culture, overseeing all parenting and streaming coverage. She has also worked at WSJ. Magazine, House & Garden and InStyle. She’s a native New Yorker and a graduate of Davidson College. She’s the mom of two delightfully rambunctious boys, whom she shares with her husband. They don’t have pets yet, but it’s likely in their future.