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5 Forbidden Words I Don't Let My Daughters Say

Photograph by Jill Simonian

As a mom of two girls, I'm quickly finding I'm a stickler for word choice. Choosing positive words can set a tone for good behavior, self-motivate and put everyone in a happy mood. Choosing negative words can do the exact opposite.

When my daughters say certain words over and over and over again, I tend to hit to the roof in the name of keeping their minds on the right track.

So in an effort to raise strong daughters and not hit the roof so much, I'm 1) breathing deeply more frequently and 2) banning certain words from our everyday vernacular. (And no, it's not the standard armada of go-to curse words that drive me crazy.)

Heed the newly-minted, five forbidden words thou shalt now not say under said roof:

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1. Bored, in all forms (e.g. boring)

This is possibly the word that irks me the most—maybe because of my childhood history with it involving my own mom's hatred of it. Yup, you guessed it: My sister and I were not allowed to say that word. It was a bad word growing up, and it still is. "I'm bored!" my 5-year-old will sometimes blurt out while sitting outside in front of her swing set, in the middle of her Lego creations, surrounded by colored chalk, with a doll dressed up in a princess costume and tea party setup and fairy-tale music blaring in the background. (You too?) "If you're bored," I say, "then find something to do. Find a way to not be bored. Because you have all the resources and imagination you'd ever need to not be bored." Otherwise, you can clean out your closet with me.

2. Ugly

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so choose to see the beautiful. Seeing the good and seeking the good stuff in the world and folks around you will make your life better. No more explanation needed here, I think.

3. Hate

There's just so much damn hate in the outside world that I don't feel like welcoming any more hate into my home.

"I hate it when you say no. I hate the way my sister wants to play with my dolls. I hate eating green beans." As we all know, hate is a strong word that I, well, hate. (Do as I say, not as I do, ladies). I know, we all feel what we feel, and there's value and truly nothing wrong with expressing our emotions. But lately, there's just so much damn hate in the outside world that I don't feel like welcoming any more hate into my home. I don't like hearing my girls spread the energy of hate—even if it is about eating green beans. Hate is a strong word that can be powerfully damaging, so let's just find another way to say we don't like something if we don't like something.

4. Fail

Those of you who know me well already know my longtime psychotic peeve with this word. Us parents like to joke about all our mishaps. "Mom fail!" But we forget that the more we say something (even in jest) the more we start to believe it. Words sneak into our thoughts, which then shape our self-esteem, behaviors and perception. I especially think the word fail tends to affect us women in a more concentrated way when we blurt out "I feel like I'm failing!" to ourselves. Yes, I'm guilty of having a section devoted to "fails" on my website, but quite frankly, it was a word that started with "F" that I needed to utilize for branding purposes (F-A-B). Aside from my blog's menu bar, the word fail is a bad, bad word for women. So I don't let my daughters say it.

5. Never

I laugh at some of the things I used to think about with "never" in mind: I'll never not want to put makeup on. I'll never want to just lay on the couch in pure silence. I'll never get nervous about seeing a full sink of dirty dishes. Becoming a mom has taught me many unexpected things (as I'm sure you feel the same), but one of the most valuable things I've learned with motherhood has been just how drastically perspective and priorities can unexpectedly shift when children are in the picture. Never say never, kids. Because you never know what's around the corner.

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