words I did not expect my 3 year old to say

“Mommy Mommy, look at all my superheros I put in a line….they are playing but soon they will all died”  UMM you can only imagine the look in my eye when I heard my 3 year old son say the word died.  Even though it wasn’t the right tense, I think I know what he was trying to say.   Later that day he goes on about how he is using a shooter to shoot things like the superheros do.  I asked him what he meant when the superheros died and he said they were going away.  I am not sure what he meant by that but I just let it be.  I was definitely not ready to ask him what he meant by “shooting.”

I had to take a minute to process all this information.  My 3 year old son had said the words shoot and died all within two hours of play time.  Where did the little boy who sang nursery rhymes and played blocks go?  My first reaction..where was he learning this?  Who at school was teaching him this…then I had to take off my overly protective mommy hat off and first realize it’s not the school’s fault.  I came to the conclusion that kids are going to learn good and bad things in any environment you put them in but it’s up to the parents to really guide them in the right direction.


My husband and I really had to sit down and talk about how we wanted to handle this.  We either try and shelter him from all superhero related things and tell him it is bad or expose him to everything super hero related and not shelter him at all but neither option really made us feel comfortable. We also realised where he picked up those words from and we were upset with ourselves as it was our fault. A friend of ours had been out walking and was shot in the head by a stray bullet, for days it was touch and go to begin with we thought they were going to pull through and suffer a traumatic brain injury but still be a live with some normal function so there were a lot of phone calls to brain injury law firms as we thought it was the least we could do to help, but unfortunately they succumbed to their injury and we lost him and it was during our conversations and phone calls that our son had picked up these new words. So we came to a conclusion to really try to expose him as much as possible at home within reason so that at school he will know what is appropriate and not appropriate. Here are some things we tried out and they seem to really be helping:


  • Don’t ignore them when they use a word that shocks you, instead ask them what it means:  You will be amazed 9 times out of 10 they really don’t know what it means but “Sam” from school is saying it so they feel like they need to say it.  Then try to explain to them what the word really means in a nicer way.  For example my son came home saying stupid the other day (another shocker for me) but I explained to him that was a word that hurts people’s feelings and we don’t use that in our house.
  • Sit with them when they watch those shows:   I am not saying every time, but try to join them during a superhero or girly show so you can explain to them the positives like teamwork, friendship, how they take care of themselves and are good people.
  • Don’t shelter them:  The more you shelter them, the more they are going to want to know and copy what others say and do.  At this age they are all about doing what their friends do so try and control it the best you can.  Let them watch some shows, (NOT ALL) so they can understand what is going on.
  • Teach them to worry about themselves:  Explain to them that just because their friend at school says certain words it does not make it okay for your kid.  We explained to Ayven that there are certain things we don’t like saying in our family and we should follow what our own family does.  It’s ok if “Sam” says it because maybe his family is OK with it, but we are not.  Don’t bring in negativity that “Sam” is doing something bad, just that your family does not like to say it.
  • Turn those superheros into role models:  We tell Ayven Hulk eats lots of green veggies and that’s why he is so strong and can help good people and he has been making more of an effort to eat green veggies.  Your kids look up to these superheros so take the good and run with it 🙂  I promise it works because that is their world right now!  We have had a totally clean plate on the dinner table for a whole week now just because Captain America never “wastes food.”

Make sure you and your significant other are on the same page of what your child can and can’t watch or say.  I hope this helps because I tell you hearing died and shoot in the same day from a 3 year old really blew me away but now that he understands what he is watching and what words he can and can’t use, I am so much more at ease!


  • Bhakti Patel

    The last one is so true! Xavi watched the dinosaurs on Dinosaur Train eat plants so I give him spinach and we pretend we are dinosaurs eating plants. While he is eating I tell him to take “big T-rex” bites or “big Superman bites” and then gasp in astonishment after he has done so to reinforce how cool that is. He loves it and totally gets in character. For a kid who ate nothing (literally nothing)…that is a major accomplishment.

    • Neesha

      I totally agree! It’s amazing what they will do just because a super hero does it. I got Ayven to eat butternut squash last night just because it’s what “Yellow” wolverine eats and he finished his breakfast in record time because I told him superheros eat fast so they can start their missions for the day 🙂

  • Nirupama

    Super heroes aren’t the only pitfalls with this! My two year old daughter started asking us if cinderlla died. We explained that she was just a story and didn’t die. She quickly retorted, “Bella’s cat died!” and then did her best flailing arms, cat falling out of a window impression. She turns three in March and we were not prepared for this at all.

    • Neesha

      Hey Niru, all kids will go through this but just remember to be open with them and explain to them how to process the information 🙂 It is just amazing what their little minds pick up! Thanks for sharing your story!

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