I am teaching my daughter to swear. Oh not the hard core F this and F that. Hell no! I mean, you know, heck, No. But little steps like this: Piss Off! And even Don’t be a JackAss. And this week she used one or perhaps two of those phrases while at school. Public school. Tonight when she was falling asleep I told her she was one of the bravest girls I know. And I am proud of her for swearing. So proud I could cry as I type this. Now before you get all sanctimonious on me, back that train up a bit to several months ago..maybe even a couple of years ago. My beautiful and smart and really talented girl, 9, has been a soft sweet sensitive A student forever. It isn’t in her nature to hurt people. My children, both adopted, are very easily hurt and very easily saddened and much too easily reminded daily of their differences. That’s a very common theme for children who were adopted. My oldest child has been bullied on and off for a couple of years now. There is always someone who sees the soft spot, each year and zeroes right in for the target. My girl doesn’t fight back. It’s not in her nature. A well known therapist here in London who was adopted as a child, says this is typical of many. She says my daughter understands intrinsically what it is to be rejected. It is her starting point. Therefore she doesn’t reject. It is a much too hurtful thing for my sensitive and really wonderful child to do. I have always nurtured her sweet and caring side. When she was three and my best friend’s child had cancer we were there as often as possible. I have taught my kids always to ask “How can I help?” I have taught them their first reaction when someone is sad or hurt should always be: is there something I can do to help make them feel better? I have always taught both of my girls not to hit. I have also taught them to walk away from a fight if they can. And I am trying to teach them not to be victims. And yet from the start of this year, my daughter has had this one child in her class who demeaned her with words often. A first my daughter tried to walk away. The other child would yank her back by the hood of her coat. I didn’t realize why all the hoods on my daughter’s coats kept falling off until recently. A few weeks back this progressed and the child slapped my daughter. And when we spoke to the adults in the school about these things they helped sometimes for a week, maybe less. As my daughter said the other day when I told her bullying is an adult problem, “Well the adults at my school are doing a terrible job fixing this.” I would have to agree with her on that. So this week I taught her to swear. I coached her to say: “Piss off. Nobody treats me like that!” and mean it. At first she argued with me: “I can’t say that Mom. I will get in trouble.” Finally I convinced her, this week, on a week when she asked every day if she could stay home, or switch schools, or just be homeschooled, that she wouldn’t get in trouble for standing up for herself. This week, the same girl tackled my daughter and two others at recess and my daughter spent about an hour crying her eyes out when she was supposed to be in class. After all of that. And after me repeating 9,999,999 times that I will always stand up for her. This week around Thursday, my daughter stood her ground and said: “Piss off. You can’t treat me like that!” And things got better. For now. Here’s hoping she remembers how to swear on Monday.