There has been a worrying development at Sutton HQ.
As regular readers will know, Dexter is now ten years old and, overall, a really good boy. He’s polite, well-behaved and good fun to be around. I’d say I was lucky … and I am, but I also like to think I may have had a hand in how lovely he is.
However, there are definite signs that he is in the midst of pre-adolescence. Suffice to say, if he dares to slam his bedroom door once more he will have to get used to living in the shed. Fact.
Thankfully, the one thing he would never dream of doing, at least in front of me, and at least for now, is swear.
I’m well aware he knows most swear words. It’s difficult to completely avoid them and he probably learnt a few of them from me when I’ve suffered from a major case of road rage (no F’s or C’s though, don’t worry) … and I also know some of his school friends say the occasional swear word. The friends I never invite round for tea that is.
He’s at the age where hearing a swear word is not just funny, it’s absolutely hysterical and I totally get that. He’s ten, of course it’s funny, so as long as he knows not to say anything like that to me (or to anyone else for that matter), we’re good.
But one thing has been troubling me, and a good friend of mine.
There are certain words that both of our boys have mentioned recently that have us, as mothers, not only concerned, but a little unsure how to deal with.
The most notable questions were, ‘What does rape mean?’ and ‘What’s a pedo?’
I know right?
As far as they’re concerned, they’re just innocent questions aren’t they? I mean, they have no understanding at all as to quite what they’ve said but inside I’m feeling a mixture of sadness and horror.
With most subjects, I tend to employ the same approach that my Mum did, which is … however cringe worthy and embarrassing you might find it, be honest and upfront about what you tell your kids, and always try to keep a straight face. This tends to relate primarily to any questions about sex … don’t forget, I’ve been doing this parenting lark for nearly 20 years now!
But when it comes to subjects like ‘rape’ and ‘pedophiles’, I know that ten years old is way too young to be told the truth.
I have to wonder where on earth they pick up these words because I still believe Dexter is too young to be subjected to most things in the news, so I always turn it off if he’s around, but no doubt they are terms that kids have picked up along the way and ‘helpfully’ shared in the playground.
I hated doing it but I just explained it was something very horrible but that he was too young to be told what it was. I think he could tell from my face not to push the subject and, no doubt, we’ll end up having the same conversation in a few months time.
But for now, when he gets annoyed, the worst I’ve heard him shout is ‘flip’ and ‘fudge’ … how long that will last, I’m not sure.
Has anyone else had to deal with really awkward questions like this?