My five-year-old stopped me dead in my tracks with one single word last month. She has heard it countless times on YouTube Kids, on TV and from the mouths of her Kindergarten friends, so how bad could it be? Grave mistake, oh innocent one.
Little did she know that by uttering that fateful word, she would receive the death stare and a very firm motherly lecture. Throw a little five-year-old sass into that mix and you got yourself a doozy of a "chat" with mom. I quickly informed her that directing that single word, "whatever" at another human being was one of the most disrespectful things you can say to someone. It says, "I am totally discounting what you say and your feelings about the matter. As a matter of fact, I don't give a shit about what you think".
Until I explained my number one pet peeve to her, I realized I had never really broken it down into its full meaning before. When she asked me when it was ok to use the word, I said that she can use it toward a bully or someone who is not being nice to her, but never to a friend or someone you love and especially not your mother if you know what is good for you.
But for my readers with cognition beyond a grade schooler I want to take this one step further. Next time you are having some thoughts to yourself about a challenge in your life or even about yourself and you catch yourself saying, "whatever...", think about this: why would you disrespect yourself this way if your own mother would chew you out for talking to her like this?