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Lying To Our Children: What Are “Bad Words”?

It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach kids right from wrong. Of course, that includes informing them about the evils of using foul language and what “foul language” entails. Children are told that “Hell” and “damn” are only to be used in religious contexts to illustrate the anger of a chosen deity, while uttering the likes of “ass” and “bitch” would garner an instant soap-to-the-mouth experience. But sometimes, parents lie to their children! They lie to them about foul language!

Growing up in the 1990’s, many students were taught that the likes of “butt”, “zit”, “sex”, “foxy”, “swear”, “fart”, etc. were all bad words. Hearing someone utter one of these words caused the entire classroom to gasp in horror like someone had just dropped the f-bomb. If a cartoon character said any of these terms, a sense of adrenaline began rushing through you, as you quickly looked around the room to make sure your mother had not heard the utterance, lest she turn off your television for “watching filth”.

These teachings were to the extent that one time my kindergarten teacher used the phrase “No ifs, ands, or buts”, and several members of my class became upset at this tragic homonym mix-up. A little boy tried arguing with her about it, and when she said, “I said ‘buts’ not ‘butts’!” he argued that now she had said it multiple times and he would be telling his mother. One little girl actually cried that her teacher could be such a bad person.

All over the word “butt”.

You said “butt”! You’re going straight to Hell, mister!!

Similar events occurred in third grade, when one little girl decided to read the opening flap of her textbook–the part that lists the author information, copyright, and publisher–saw the word “sex” (referencing not discriminating based on sex) in the disclaimer, and was instantly upset that her arithmetic book had a bad word in it. Did she know what “sex” meant, whether in regards to biology or to intimate acts? Not in the slightest. She had just been taught that “sex was bad!” That same little girl, months later, accidentally said to her friends “I promise! I swear!” and instantly looked horrified and began praying to God, as she had been told never to swear.

She grew up and became a nun. Not even kidding.

Two decades later–I know, right?!–, many of these “nineties’ kids” are wondering why our parents lied to us. Why did they tell us that these were bad words, when by the fifth grade everyone know what the real bad words were. As my generation begins to have children of our own, many of us are reluctant to pass along these symbolic mistruths to them. We would rather teach them not to say what really constitutes as foul language, rather than nit-picking over other words that are completely fine to say in a PG-rated movie. At the same time, we don’t want our children to be known as “those foul-mouthed kids” for nonchalantly saying “My big sister has a bit zit” on the school bus one morning.

Does anyone even continue this trend, or is this just a baby-boomer faux-pas?

“We still teach the preschoolers in the school I work at that those words are ‘bad’,” admits Jillian Meinze of Louisville, Kentucky. “My reasoning behind it is that when they learn those words and what they mean, they think its funny. So they repeat it and make it into things inappropriate. For example: a little boy the other day was running around my classroom singing, ‘Booty butts, booty butts’ and slapping his butt as he did so.”

“Kids are always going to do and say inappropriate things,” counters Linda White, also of Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s part of being a kid. Take away their ability to be silly and say ‘fart’ at random times, and they’re going to find something else to take its place. That’s no reason to unfairly impact their vocabulary.”

Mommy, she has a bad word on her face!!

It’s the debate between pee and urine all over again.

But is it fair to eliminate certain connotations from our children’s minds just to “protect them” or to save our own faces? What happens when they grow up and realize that those words really aren’t bad words after all? What will they think about the other values we have taught them? Won’t they question those, too?

This is one of those tricky issues that has no concrete answer. No one likes being told how to parent their children, but odd parenting styles can negatively impact a child later on in life.

Weigh in below. Should we eschew telling our children that “butt” and “zit” are bad words?

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Worst Christmas Presents Of 2012!!

Businesses have come up with a few interesting products over the years in order to strike it big. There are always those doozies–like blankets with sleeves–that leave consumers thinking that there is not a single person on earth who would buy that. Any yet so many of us do. Here are a couple more that fall into the What-Were-They-Thinking category.

Edible Deodorant: A Belgium-based company recently released its perfume candy line called Deo. This candy claims to take away body odor from the inside out. The website claims that “science and nature have come together to make a functional food that leaves your skin with a beautiful rose fragrance.

“Oh man, I just love putting on deodorant! Maybe I’ll try a little bite…”

Scientists, however, aren’t sure if this is a true statement. It is believed that if one eats a large amount of food with overpowering scents, such as curry or garlic, it could work its way into sweat gland and be released through the skin. The problem is no one has tested this before, because why would they?

As of now, these deodorizing candies can be found in the United States only online. If it seems like too much of a hassle, perhaps we should all stick to regular deodorant.

The Baby Mop: The Baby Mop is a way to have babies help with the housework. Here’s how the product markets: it’s hard to keep the house clean, and you can’t stop babies from crawling, so kill two birds with one stone. The Baby Mop is full-length onesie with mop-like tassels on the arms and legs. As the kids crawl around on the floor, they clean it.

Oppa Mopping Style??

The price of pawning chores onto your newborn is only $40, so it isn’t surprising that the creators, BetterThanPants.com, have seen a steady sale of 60 a day. They expect to see an increase over the holidays.

Preventing That Freshman 15! (Or The Sophomore 20)

No one ever said staying fit in col­lege is easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard. By remembering simple and easy tips like snacking right, tak­ing the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking all the way to the salad bar instead of opting for microwave mac-n-cheese, you can turn the Freshman 15 (or the Sophomore 20, or the Junior Jiggle, or the Senior Saddlebags) into the Freshman Fit! (or the Sophomore Sexy…you get the picture.)

Tip 1: Work Out!

Go to the gym. They typically have fun fit­ness classes including Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and more. If the idea of Downward Dog or Shimmy­ing in public scares the sweatband right off of you, don’t fret! You can always “rent” a basketball or ten­nis rackets for a pick-up game. If you aren’t coordinated or like to fly solo on your fit journey, start off on the Stationary bike, the rowing machine, the elliptical, or even the free weights. If you want to escape the confines of a building, head to a park and walk the track. A brisk walk will get your heart rate up, and you can go off the grid for a while. Besides, if you wind up somewhere where you don’t get cell service, you can’t possibly be expected to do your homework, right? (Disclaimer: Otaku Antics hasn’t tested this theory with profes­sors—use sparingly).

Tip 2: Snack Smart!

Did you have a Coke with you at all times in high school? Did you eat a Personal Pan Pizza, Breadsticks, and a cookie for every meal? One of the main reasons college students gain so much weight their fresh­man year is because no one is monitor­ing what they eat anymore. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but having three carb-laden meals a day helps no one. Also, M&M’s aren’t a snack. They’re candy. Stock up on fruit for snacks instead of greasy Potato Chips or calorie-heavy candy. During meals, especially at dinner, try to eat a piece of fruit or a salad before you go to the main course. You will be sure to get your healthy component in rather than reaching for the three extra cookies.

Tip 3: Sleep!

I am not naïve enough to sug­gest you get eight hours of sleep per night. If you have time to sleep that much, please give me a ring because I could use a personal assistant and you could be the perfect candidate! But I digress; try to at least set a set schedule. Studies show that sleeping in makes you more tired on the days you do get up early, so try to keep it consistent. If nothing else, you can try to carve out some time for an afternoon nap. If you haven’t experienced the joys of napping yet, you’re welcome. Trust me. You’re welcome.

Tip 4: Stress Less!

While this is much easier said than done, pay attention to your stress levels and know when to take some time off. Studying 24/7 from the first week of school to the last day of finals is going to lead to a crash-n-burn. It’s perfectly all right to spend time with your friends and go see a non-educational film. To contradict my last point, if you wake up so consis­tently your friends use you as their alarm clock, go to bed without set­ting an alarm. It’s very wacky when you wake up all on your own, but you’ll feel like you’re cheating the system. It’s pretty sublime. Or if you watch what you eat or count calories, declare a calorie-free day and just indulge. I’m almost positive that calories don’t count on your birthday, and I could probably be persuaded that they don’t count during mid­terms, finals, or directly following any major test. Research to follow.