Swearing in front of your kids

[deleted account] ( 160 moms have responded )

OK, I'm going to make my first ever conversation opener...

Do you swear in front of your kids? and what would you do if you heard them swearing? Would you care? What would you do?

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Sherri - posted on 09/10/2010

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I think you are right on Krista well I don't know about the other countries but certainly in the US.

Krista - posted on 09/10/2010

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I think you're not off-base about it being a cultural thing, Anika. If you look at the big three "adult factors" of television (language, sexuality, violence), you can see a stark contrast in some societies. From my very limited experience, in western Europe, there is more language and nudity on TV, but not much in the way of overt sexuality (it's more matter-of-fact than it is titillating), and there doesn't seem to be much violence. In Canada, language isn't as big a deal, we're not as freaked out by nudity or sexuality, but while we have violence, it's not as graphic. With American television, it seems that mild language is okay, implied sexuality is definitely in there (but actual nudity, even if non-sexual, appears to cross the line), and there are very realistic depictions of very graphic violence on television. It's interesting when you start looking at it, and I think you're right in that those cultural differences are making themselves evident in this debate.

[deleted account]

Yes, I would have to agree with you (but I don't know who you are, it's blank. Strange), it does appear to be a cultural thing. There's been a Professor of Linguistics on morning TV here lately and she has said it is a lot more common in New Zealand and Australia. Don't get me wrong, there are people here that don't like swearing but I think, on the whole, we're a lot more relaxed about it. We have swearing on free to air TV and it's bandied about a lot in general conversation. I guess a difference might be that it's not necessarily a name calling thing here. It's just a 'expression enhancer'(though of course that's not always the case). I also wonder if it's because we're a bit more secular and liberal (to a certain degree) here?

Jennifer - posted on 09/09/2010

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After reading through these posts it strikes me that there maybe a bit of culture clashing going on.

I know we are all from various countries and while it may be normal for children to drink in one it would be shocking in another. So, maybe it's the same way with children being allowed to cuss?

Krista - posted on 09/09/2010

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@Starr: one point that I wanted to make is that when I talk about not being fussed about my kids swearing, i'm talking about when they're teenagers, not toddlers. I don't swear around my kid now and I won't be swearing around him throughout his toddlerhood or early childhood. When he's a bit older, he'll be hearing those words ANYWAY from other sources, so at that point, I'll be having a discussion with him about swearing, my thoughts on it, and when it is/isn't appropriate.

I was not allowed to swear when I was a little kid, which is only sensible. When I became a teenager, the rules loosened a bit. I was allowed to say "damn" and "hell", and as I got older "shit" became tacitly acceptable, but I was not allowed to blaspheme, or drop f-bombs.

I think it's like any other "adult" privilege -- I don't believe in 100% forbidding something, and then, when they hit a certain magical age, they're 100% allowed. I think that it is better to slowly remove restrictions, one by one, in a cautious and measured fashion, as the child gets older and proves himself responsible enough to handle those privileges. So at age 6, no, my kid will not be allowed to drink or swear. At age 15, depending on his maturity, he might be allowed to say milder curse words and have half a glass of wine with dinner. At 17, he might be allowed to say some stronger curse words, as long as they're not used to hurt people, and he can have a beer with his father. And at 19, he's an adult and can do whatever he wants. I don't know -- maybe I'm weird, but I think that approach is a bit more sensible than locking all of these "adult" things away, and then when the kid is of age, suddenly it's a free-for-all.

[deleted account]

Personally I don't swear. Not often anyway. I will be strict with my children with swearing. I haven't thought too much about my kid swearing, because she hasn't heard anything worse than, "crap." I don't have a problem with other people doing it. However, there is a time and place for everything. If you are going to allow your children to swear, teach them when and where it would be appropriate. And I wouldn't ever swear in front of a toddler. They repeat everything and have no filter.

Sherri - posted on 09/08/2010

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Very very rarely and never on purpose only an occasional slip here and there.
They would be grounded for at least a week, if I hear it a second time 2 wks and etc etc.
Swearing is not allowed for any reason under any circumstances from my children. There are far to many other words to choose from rather than use vulgar inappropriate language.

[deleted account]

In answer to your question Starr, 1. I would gauge how the other child's parents felt about it. If they weren't ok with it, then I would tell my child not to in front of them and I would not do it myself. I am not a disrespectful person. and 2. No. I did not (and still don't) swear in front of my parents. But I can't actually remember their rule about it. My parents swear though. I remember my mum saying to my brother 'Stop fucking swearing' and I thought it was very hypocritical and probably counts towards how I feel about it today.

Starr - posted on 09/08/2010

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Questions to those of you who think swearing is appropriate for your children:
1. Do you let them swear infrom of their friends?
2. were you allowed to swear when you were young?

[deleted account]

Well, now you can go back and tell your parents they were misinformed. And I'd like to point out that there are many, MANY books that contain swear words. But I guess those authors were not educated and didn't read enough books.

Krista and Amber, I could not agree with you more.

Jennifer - posted on 09/07/2010

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I was just sharing what my parents used to tell us about swearing.
Those were not my words nor were they pointed at any particular proud potty mouths.

Krista - posted on 09/07/2010

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It shows that you don't have a large enough vocabulary to use appropriate words and you should probably read more books.

Dat's a gud tip, cuz if I sware than it definutly meens I have a bad vocabilaree.

/rolls eyes

I absolutely disagree with your assertion. I know countless people who have excellent vocabularies and who are voracious readers (myself included, all modesty aside), but who most certainly will make occasional (or even frequent) use of curse words. Perhaps they just LIKE using those words sometimes?

Barb - posted on 09/07/2010

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I've always felt it's my job as a parent to teach my child what is and isn't appropriate. To be realistic, he's going to cuss eventually as an adult in his life, so i should teach him when it is and isn't ok to cuss. I've done a good enough job of it when we were out eating one evening and i didn't even realize i had cussed until he said "Mom, can't we leave the potty mouth at home?"

Sometimes i wonder who's teaching who.

Jennifer - posted on 09/07/2010

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We were never allowed to cuss or say shut up or stupid growing up. My parents always told us it was low class and uneducated to use words like that.

It shows that you don't have a large enough vocabulary to use appropriate words and you should probably read more books.

Mary - posted on 09/07/2010

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I'm not even remotely squeamish about swearing...fuck is probably one of my favorite words...it's versatility seems immeasurable =) However, it is not a word I ever say in front of my toddler. Since she was about one, she has been a little parrot. Now, while swearing does not scathe me, I also appreciate that there are times and places when it is not appropriate - where it's use is either unprofessional, tasteless or classless - or reflects poorly on you for using it. I don't think my 22 month old saying "oh for fuck's sake" would ever be regarded as cute (maybe funny the first time, but thereafter...). So, in order to prevent this, I do modify my language in her presence. As she grows, she will be exposed to those words enough, and I have no doubt that she will use them. Hopefully, it will be a little time from now, when I can begin to explain to her that some words are not okay for little people to say - and as she ages, that discussion will evolve to how some venues are inappropriate for certain language as well. Until then, I will do my utter best to restict my usage of some words in her presence, so I can avoid her telling my dad "It's the Pirate fucking Piggies, Pop-pop!"

Amber - posted on 09/07/2010

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Krista said it perfectly! I have no problem with swearing...but I don't swear AT people.
In my house, there is also no yelling at others, name calling, or put downs. In 5 years, my SO and I have never yelled, name called, or swore at each other. We disagree, we calm down on our own, then we discuss it. That is what we are teaching our child.
Those things have absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not I say sh*t when I run into a wall or fall down the stairs (which I do at least once every week...ugh!)

Krista - posted on 09/07/2010

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I think there is a huge difference between swearing, and swearing AT someone.

When my kids are teenagers, if one of them stubs his toe or jams his finger, and goes, "OW! Oh FUCK, that hurts!", I'm not going to get upset.

If one of them tells the other to fuck off, then yes, I will get upset.

My general house rule will be that you are not allowed to say nasty things to each other, whether that involves swearing or not. My kids will get in serious trouble if they call each other stupid, or ugly, or anything like that.

Swear words used as exclamatory phrases or as non-human descriptors? Doesn't bug me. Swear words, or ANY words, used to hurt and insult another person? No. Not cool. Not going to happen.

Charlie - posted on 09/07/2010

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I never swore in front of my mum either but i swore everywhere else LOL

[deleted account]

See, I don't use them in a mean, vengeful way (usually). I want those exact same things for my children. I don't see how using those words would cause them to not be those things. You seem very intense and strict (4 hours homework a night! Wow). Maybe I'm more of an airy fairy hippie than I thought :) Oh and can I clarify? At your children's school, if they're heard swearing at all they're suspended? Even if its not directed at anyone. Even if they just said "Man, I had a shit sleep last night"?

Sherri - posted on 09/06/2010

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No but they don't have much TV time due to school. Off bus at 4pm around 4 hrs of homework a night, dinner and then get ready for bed by 9pm. So the shows that are concerning I find are typically on after that time.
They are just not nice words that they tend to use vengefully against one another. F*ck, sh*t, bastard, bitch aren't acceptable to use where we live.
Really my reasoning I just want them to be kind, loving and happy. Those words are mean, nasty and spiteful and against everything I am trying to teach my kids.

[deleted account]

WOW Sherri. I advise you never come to New Zealand then. You won't be able to cope. I'd love to hear your reasons for not using those words. And I'm not trying to be a smart arse. I'm genuinely interested. Do you also monitor what your children watch on tv and the music they listen too?

Sherri - posted on 09/06/2010

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House swear words: Idiot, Stupid, Shut Up, Jerk, Sh*t, F*ck, Damn, Friggin, Fricken, Asshole, Bastard, Bitch, Pissed.

They are not allowed to use these words AT all for any reason. If we hear them it is an automatic grounding of 1 week. So they are usually pretty conscious of not using these words.
We tend to say if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. If we see the tones changing into arguments we quickly remind them of this. We have taught them instead of saying something mean that you can't take back walk away and leave the situation. They are getting much better about it. Always a work in progress as is everything.

Sherri - posted on 09/06/2010

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Well see I always am around. They go to school away from me and other than that I am with them almost every minute of every day. So yes I am pretty darn confident they don't swear. In our schools if anyone hears them swear it is an automatic suspension from school. So the kids just aren't swearing in the schools for fear of the punishments.

[deleted account]

And I must point out that I NEVER swore in front of my parents as a child/teenager and I rarely do now as an adult.

[deleted account]

I'd love to hear what these 'more educated' words are. Please elaborate. And I think its a bit naive to think your teenagers never swear when you're not around and that they haven't heard swear words because you don't swear.

Sherri - posted on 09/06/2010

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No not all teenagers swear mine certainly doesn't he won't even dare say OMG he still says oh my gosh. However, we don't often swear and so my kids have never been exposed to it. So they choose more appropriate, educated words to use. As do there father and I. We only swear very occasionally hmmm not actually sure when it is, my husband tends to if he is working on the cars that is never good so I just keep the kids in the house so they don't hear any of it.

[deleted account]

Krista and Carol. I so agree.
Words, swear words included, are dynamic. Their meanings constantly change. It used to be offensive to say "Cripes" or "Drat". I think we'd all agree that these are not offensive anymore. Swear words are based on taboo subjects. It used to be based on blasphemy, now it's based on sex and its moving towards 'isms' like sexism and racism. I feel by using these words, it helps them to lose their taboo and therefore their power. Do I swear? Yes. Is every second word a swear word? No. Do I swear at people? No. Do I swear loudly out in public? Not often. For me, swearing just isn't a big deal. I can't see why people can get so worked up about it. You're just buying into the taboo when really we should be trying to talk openly and honestly about all subjects. It's more healthy. I will teach my children that swearing is just a form of expression. There is a time and a place because some people are oversensitive. At home, its fine. In certain other situations, its not. And kids, especially teens, are going to swear. And the kids who are going to swear the most when they're away from their parents, are going to be the kids who think they're rebelling by swearing. Lots of children swear to rebel or seem more grown up. If I'm allowing my children to swear in certain contexts, then why would they bother to swear all the time?

Starr - posted on 09/06/2010

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swear: To use profane oaths; curse.
profane: vulgar, coarse, or blasphemous profane language
vulgar: Offensively excessive in self-display or expenditure; ill-mannered
Words aren't just words. They have definition and swear words are called swearing for a reason. They are not appropriate. I can understand how you may not want to not let your kids do something that you do. But, maybe you/we shouldn't swear either.

Johnny - posted on 09/06/2010

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Until the Victorian era, 'bawdy' language was regularly employed in literature and even in high society for strong effect or to set a certain scene. The popularity of prudery in the late 19th century lead to the opinion that in "good company" particularly amongst the gentler sex, swearing & bawdy language was indicative of low intelligence, low morals, and/or low class. Bawdy language, swearing, and rude words still have a place in our language, even on a regular basis, and serve a purpose, well outlined by Krista. Do I think it's great to swear a blue streak in any company or any scene? No. But it is just silly puritanism to suggest that swearing never has a time or place. Sometimes it is simply the best word to express one's feelings, and especially, to get one's point across.

Bernadette - posted on 09/06/2010

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my daughter started talking very early so she is not old enough to reason with yet. I can't explain to her that there are certain words that only adults should use, as most of the words she says she has just learned from hearing them - she doesn't really understand them. She knows when to use them, but not really the right context - like when I have bumped her in the past and said sorry, now she bumps into things and because it hurts, she says sorry to herself. She doesn't understand that you only have to say it if you hurt someone else. So there would be absolutely no chance of explaining to her yet that it's ok when Daddy swears as he's a grown up, but she can't do it. She just says what she hears.

Rosie - posted on 09/06/2010

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and i can understand that bernadette, i can. some kids will just parrot whatever they hear. i'm not sure how i would feel about swearing in front of them if it were a problem that they were to repeat it. maybe i've been blessed that way, me and my swearing ways, lol ;)

Rosie - posted on 09/06/2010

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i didn't see the last part of your thread earlier. yes, part of it is to get a rise out of you all. it irritates me to no end how judgemental some people can be, so to get a little even yeah, i'll throw in a swear word. not as bad as insulting someones mother, or questioning their intelligence, but....

Bernadette - posted on 09/06/2010

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well then that's good, but it's a lot harder with younger kids. My daughter is only 17 months and repeats everything she hears. This is why I'm having such a hard time trying to get my husband to stop. I started making a conscious effort as soon as I found out I was pregnant (not that I was big on it o begin with) and found that by the time she was born I had completely stopped. By not doing it at all in front of her, I find this is the easiest way to ensure she doesn't do it either.

Rosie - posted on 09/06/2010

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but i have already explained that they DON'Tswear. they know it's something that adults only do. my 2 oldest boys have sworn once, and then they learned that it's something adults use. my oldest is 10, and the worst word i have heard from him is"weiner".

Bernadette - posted on 09/06/2010

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yes, but the problem with swearing in your own home is that your children learn that it's ok - but they don't realise yet that it's not ok to swear in public. And that's when people start to question your parenting. What about the amount of swearing you are doing here? This could be considered public, and you KNOW for a fact that there are a lot of people here who find it offensive (enough people have said so themselves) and yet you are intentionally swearing...what, in order to offend them? That's how it seems...

Rosie - posted on 09/06/2010

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ok, well notice how i said in my home? you all are talking about out in public, which i agree with to a certain extent. i do attempt to hold off on the profanities while around people who have their panties in a bunch and would get offended. it's not like i would go around everywhere just swearing up a storm, its in my house, or around my friends that this would be happening.

and i completely disagree that it makes you sound unintelligent. it really irks me that people compare the use of swear words to how my mother raised me. she is a fan-FUCKING-tastic mother. she taught me not to judge a book by it's cover....

Bernadette - posted on 09/06/2010

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I agree Sherri. You can have all the uni degrees in the world, but still sound unintelligent depending on the way you compose yourself in public. Being book-smart is not the same as intelligence. You also need to have manners and respect for other people. Being smart doesn't mean much if you can't also show you were brought up well.

Krista - posted on 09/06/2010

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There are a million other words you could use rather than those few that aren't socially acceptable.



Perhaps, but none quite so SATISFYING.



There's something to be said for finding le mot juste for the situation -- and sometimes, "fuck" is definitely le mot juste.



Mind you, I do agree that there are some people out there who are just incapable of turning it off, particularly in public, and every second word that comes out of their mouth is a profanity -- those people DO tend to come across as somewhat trashy. However, for your average, intelligent woman, who has a good vocabulary, the odd "fuck" added for emphasis can add a very piquant flavour to the old word-stew.

Sherri - posted on 09/06/2010

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Because swearing all the time and even worse in front of children and then those children repeating that lovely language come across as low class. When you know better you do better. There are a million other words you could use rather than those few that aren't socially acceptable.
Here if a child is heard saying such words in school they will be suspended.

Rosie - posted on 09/06/2010

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yeah, i'd like to know why if you curse you are considered unintelligent as well. i swear around my kids all i want, i'm an adult, i can do it and they know that. i'll occasionally have a drink in front of my kids as well, does that mean that i'm gonna let my kids go off an enjoy a nice cold one? FUCK no. (sorry had to do it). i'm the adult, if they want to do adult things they can move out, but until then i will say what i want to say in my own house, thank you very much.

[deleted account]

We don't really agree with swearing around children. I never heard my parents swearing whereas Steven always did. My two sisters-in-law who are 10 and 12 are foul-mouthed and to be honest I don't want Logan going around talking the way they do when he's older. There's a time and place for swearing, and obviously at such a young age I don't think it's appropriate and others shouldn't have to hear it!

Amber - posted on 09/06/2010

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I don't understand why cursing is considered unintelligent..can somebody explain that one to me?
I know several people who have numerous college degrees and curse. Our circle of friends includes several doctors and a few accountants, I can only think of 1 who doesn't curse at times.
I don't think that it dimishes your intelligence. I could understand if they only used curse words and were unable to communicate with normal words; however, the simple act of using a certain word cannot put you into a box with a big label on it.

[deleted account]

I think it goes both ways Kristen. I don't like her throwing toys inside so I don't either, even though I know that I can control the force and direction. I don't want her to hit so I don't hit. etc etc. Sure there are things she can't do because she's not physically or legally able or its not safe. If she can't do something, there is a reason. And I don't think 'because I said so', is a good enough reason.

K. - posted on 09/05/2010

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What else do you let your children do because you, the adult, allow yourself to do Anika?

Christina - posted on 09/05/2010

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I hope to never swear in front of my kids. My parents never cussed in front of me. My boyfriend has 3 kids and him and his mother have no problems cussing in front of them, I'm sure this is going to cause some fights because they will not swear in front of my baby

[deleted account]

Words are just words. They're what you make of them. I don't see why some people get so up tight about a few specific words. I agree, the intent in which you use the words can be offensive, but not the words themselves. I do not condon anyone calling anyone anything offensive. But I don't see why, if I stub my toe, I can't say FUCK that really hurt! And I can't see why, if I can say that, then my child can't either. And I'd love to know what an 'intelligent' response to that kind of situation would be. "Gee willikers. That really smarts" just doesn't do it for me.

Bernadette - posted on 09/05/2010

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words are not "just words" - words have meanings, and not all of them are nice. If you think that words are just words, and it doesn't really matter, then does that mean you don't mind if your child says something offensive to someone?

[deleted account]

Kristen, I wish! The little neighbor boy (about 4-5 now) that lives in the complex behind us is actually where my now 8.5 year olds first heard the term 'little f'er' cuz HE called them that and threatened to beat them up. Wonder where he heard that kind of language from...... ;)

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