Do you cuss around your kids? #I've got a question!#big kids#lil kids#parenting choices April 27 | Guest post by Emi @offbeatfamilies runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. By: Lord Jim – CC BY 2.0 I've always thought that if I ever have a child, I will inevitably cuss around my kid(s) — I kind of cuss like a sailor. Whenever I am near other people's children, I try my best not to cuss just because I know a lot of people don't like it. But I don't personally mind it, as long as it is not used in a hateful or violent manner. I've been thinking lately that I'm not sure how I would handle the situation of cussing and my own kids. On the one hand I would not want to censor myself or my child, but on the other hand I don't want to needlessly offend others around us. I know that if I or my child cussed in earshot of others, we may be judged incredibly harshly because of that. I don't have children yet, but I want to ask how Offbeat parents how they handle cussing/cursing around their children. Have you chosen not to cuss around your children, or to just let it all flow? If you have chosen not to cuss around your children, how do you handle it when other people do? How do you approach those people and/or how do you talk to your children about these words? If you have chosen to cuss around your kids, how do you keep it from being an issue when they are out of the home? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Emi http://emimakes.wordpress.com/ PREVIOUS How will my grandchildren shock me? NEXT DIY handmade felt hats for birthdays (and other days, too) Show/Hide comments [ 163 ] We swear around my son(age 2) but we try to limit it an we never use it in a violent way. I think they are just words but that we should respect other peoples wishes that they not be said in front of them, unless they swear first 10 agree Personally, I don't find myself using that kind of language much so I haven't really thought about it for myself. I have, however been dealing with this very issue at the after school program that I run. One of the kindergarteners let off his fair share of F-bombs and in the beginning it was not affecting other kids, but lately his friends are picking it up and let me tell you, their parents are NOT happy about it. I can understand, it's shocking. I don't think it's very fair or practical to use certain words but make them off limits for kids. I don't think that as adults we need to censor our feelings or the ideas that we are trying to express, but perhaps there is a way to do our expressing without using profanities that our kids will get in trouble for using at school? 18 agree I'm the same way, not a typical cusser. Not because I find it dirty or wrong but because I'm kind of in love with funny language. It's been my experience that once cuss words enter a kid's life they quickly become some of the most frequented vocab. Why limit yourself? There are so MANY amazing phrases to take the place of a traditional curse and lighten the mood. Relevant link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSEYXWmEse8 Side-note: I'm sure it depends on how well you know your kids, but it DOES bother me when children who like to show off try and use curse words to test boundaries. I don't play those games. 5 agree I love love love your link ^^ I'm actually an English teacher abroad and just might show this video to my kids (aged 14-15) just to give them creative ways to avoid the f* word 😉 I am new to Offbeat Mama and I am absolutely loving the content! I am expecting my first baby come July! My husband and I are both Marines and we cuss so regularly that you would think F*ck and $h!t are they only descriptive words we know. I really hadn't realized how much we cuss until I became pregnant. I would prefer us not to cuss in front of our child but I also think it pretty inevitable at this point. I DO LOVE THE IDEA OF USING YOUR "GOOFY WORDS" AS A WAY TO TRANSITION FROM OUR VULGAR SLURS TO A MORE KID FRIENDLY WAY OF COMMUNICATION! Thank you for this idea! 2 agree My father cussed around me as a kid and I picked up a cussing habit early. I kinda wish he hadn't because it is just that much harder to break having started so young. 10 agree i swear around my 3.5 year old all the time. i swear so often, that i don't even realize i'm doing it, really. she has yet to really repeat anything that hasn't been… appropriate? if that makes sense? she will say "oh shit!" when she drops something and used to (and has since stopped) say "fuck fuck fuck" under her breath while cleaning or trying to do something by herself that is a little hard for her. i think it's hilarious. but we don't even comment on it. the only word she knows she's not supposed to say is "stupid" when it's about a person, because it's mean. if she ends up using swears toward people in a mean way, then we will have to discuss it. but right now, they are harmless… for now. i may change my tune when i get a letter from the preschool teacher about my daughter yelling "oh shit!" during the middle of class…. but i'm not too worried. 41 agree Hell yes. I agree. They are only words. My parents never cussed around me when I was growing up, (my mom swears that *I* am the one who got her cussing), and I have a FILTHY mouth. I try to sensor what I say, because my mom has a shit fit if my 3yo even *sounds* like he said shit. Or dammit. Although, when i was working at an after school program, there was a little boy who came back on a Monday after saying c**k sucker in the middle of his church service. He learned that from a little boy whose daddy didn't censor himself. LOL. 2 agree Hello! I have a 9 month old son, and this is already a pretty big issue between his dad and I. I cuss A LOT, and I grew up in a house where that was par for the course. He cusses a fair amount himself, but it was definitely not allowed in his house growing up. His only concern is that when our son gets to school and he's still not old enough to understand that some words that Mommy says shouldn't be said at school, we might be setting him up to get into trouble. To which my reply was, "If the teacher calls to complain about his language, I'll just tell her that I don't fucking care!" Just kidding. I do feel strongly that cuss words are just words, and I think that to go out of our way to label them as "bad" just makes them more appealing to kids. However, if people aren't allowed to cuss, they are forced to come up with more colorful adjectives, which seems like a pretty cool thing, too. As it stands, we are both still cussing around our son. I know that my parents cussed around my brother and I, and neither of us ever got in trouble at school for cussing. 3 agree My parents NEVER cussed around me and I DID get in trouble at school for cussing. Just goes to show. 12 agree I have two children, one twenty who is a musician traveling the gamut, and a ten month old. I am not claiming to be the world's best parent, but by this point in my life I have gained insight raising one; and watching many and now starting all over again. I believe strongly, that parents teach by example..so if you naturally use curse words; well then they will pick them up! Is this bad? No, I think it is natural they could pick it up from strangers and culture anyway. It is how you REACT to your children saying a "curse word" that is more important. Explaining to your older child that some words will get you in trouble in the workplace and at school should be explained. As for the LITTLE child? Well, if you do not laugh, or over react…they probably will not repeat it much…and they too once old enough can be told there are "adult" words that you do not say in mixed company. But words, are words…and you are the parent. The bottom line is HOW do you feel about cussing? If your husband does not agree, that needs to be worked out ASAP because the parents dissension on child raising will bite you later on down the road. 11 agree I have 3 girls, 4 and under, and we have made an effort to trim the excessive curse words, while still maintaining the way we talk. Interestingly my 4 year old does not ever curse. Ever. And my 2 year old's first phrase was, "oh shit, wooka dis mess" when the dog tore up the trash, and hasn't cursed (yet) in front of anyone we wouldn't curse in front of. 20 agree you made me lol! 6 agree Same here…. My first son NEVER cussed ever and my second sons first phrase was "Awww Shit" and got no reaction after the initial shock from me and has not since cussed… I cuss like a sailor! My Daddy is a tattoo artist and I spent many nights in the shop and my step-dad is a Harley Davidson Mechanic from Rhode Island and spent a lot of time around drunk bikers lol. My boys are 12.5, 9 years and 18 months old. They do not cuss… and i get to the point where telling them the same thing nicely 50x and no change to "WHAT THE FUCK" and they straighten up real quick! My husband always says "Hunny?!" When I am blunt about something and I just feel that being open and honest with them (age appropriately of course) keeps them open and honest. Fuck, shit, crap, ass, ect are just words…. Yes they have meaning as all words do but just like any other words, you have to give them negative/positive meaning… If that makes sense. 2 agree Anecdote #1: Ten years ago at a dinner party, I swore in front of an acquittance's toddler. The acquittance gave me a sharp talking to, and I apologized. 10 minutes later, caught up in telling a good story, I accidentally swore again — and the acquittance FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT. I apologized again, but it was really uncomfortable — I barely knew the guy, and his admonishment was pretty severe. I vowed never to be the parent who yells at friends-of-friends over an honest mistake involving the word "shit." Now that Tavi is starting to parrot us, he's repeated a few things I've said — I mentioned something being "shitty," and he LOVED that word. I sorta twisted it into "icky," but it was a thing. Anecdote #2: my parents swore around me as a child, and my response was to be a little prude, constantly chiding them, "Don't swear!" (My mom still does an imitation of my little nasally Church Lady voice.) I didn't start swearing until I was in high school as a result. 20 agree I was the little prude too and also swore off swearing til highschool. Now I am actually in a friend's phone as bigmouth sailor because of my language. I'm trying to watch it around my kiddo though, cause my hubster is the cussinest dude I know, so I'm trying to cut back to compensate. If my kid's first real word is Fuck I will kill my husband. 5 agree Oh and we are trying to limit overly explicit music… we got a few calls from my stepson's private christian preschool when he was 5 over him singing Ludacris, 'what's your fantasy?' You know that charming little ditty… 'back seat, windows up, that's the way we like to fuck' my stepson was singing that line repeatedly. My husband no longer listens to rap. 7 agree I remember nagging my parents to put a penny in the swear box whenever they forgot! 1 agrees My 8 year old nephew was raised for the first 6 years in a swear free environment(some slips here and there). Then around 6 years old, he became more aware of when us and his papa swore. So, Papa made a promise that he would owe him money every time he swore. Well that turned into my nephew telling people that they owed him money every time they swore. That obviously didn't take. Any ways, long story short, it took about 2 years of constantly explaining to my nephew that we are adults and if we so wish we may use adult language, but he is not an adult and can not use adult language. Now swearing around him isn't an issue. He knows the rules. Our other nephew is 7 months old (his brother) and I was talking to his mother and this topic came up. She think's she'll try a different approach, swearing with out anger or insult. We will see how this goes… 1 agrees Ariel, you reminded me of my cousin's story… My aunt had been working hard not to cuss too much, but since this was the second baby, it was less strict. So one day they're doing something and it's making my 2-year-old cousin mad. "Mommy, you're PISSING ME OFF!" But he had a lisp, so it sounded more like "pithing," which was too cute. To this day we'll tell him he's "pithing" us off. Babies are fun 1 agrees I do cuss around my daughter (4 years) though I never cuss AT her. She has repeated what I have said, usually at home, and depending on the context of what she says, I may correct her. When we are out in public though, we kind of have the same rules as with discussions about poop/piss/dying/etc, that some people do not want to hear that and we can talk/answer questions later when we have some privacy. Cussing never bothered me because I think there are more important things to worry about with parenting like being polite, not hitting, and listening. Plus, I am not going to stop cussing anytime soon so I have to find a way to live with it instead of constantly trying to stifle it. 17 agree I think that this is a great rule. My parents tried not to cuss around us, so they only cussed when they were very, very angry. When I was 13, a friend pointed out that I physically flinched every time someone cursed around me. I don't want that for my kids. I think that teaching my kids thoughtful and compassionate language usage better prepares them for life than teaching them that certain words are just evil. I also like that I can lead by example with this rule. ("Oh, sorry honey. I know that mommy's not supposed to use that word outside the house.") 2 agree Yeah, for us, curse words were usually used when someone actually was very very angry (not at us) which made me uncomfortable when the words were used elsewhere too until I got used to the idea that they could be used in other context. But along these lines: in our family the truly banned phrase was "shut up". I really think this is great because it's so disrespectful to the other person and makes any type of dialogue impossible. That was one of the worst things if not THE worst thing you could say in our house. Also: this whole article/thread reminds me of the movie "A Christmas Story" 😀 2 agree "Shut up" was frowned upon in my household when I was 'growing up' as well! We didn't dare push the envelope with curse words! lol 2 agree My girls (4 & 2) don't care about swearing, as long as other people don't make a big deal about it. If someone says anything, then my girls tend to repeat it just for the shock value. There is only one word banned in our house – "Stupid" – because the only context it can be used in is a negetive one. 1 agrees My sister started swearing young. Luckily, my mom heard her at home first and told her that it was perfectly okay to use those words at home with us, but that she shouldn't use them at school, around the grandmas, etc. My sister was four or five at the time and never ran into problems. 5 agree My goddaughter, at around 4, understood that there were words we don't use in front of grandma. She understood it so well that she explained all about it… to grandma. doh! 13 agree it's definitely a good thing to think about, and i'm sure it's different for many families. for me, i decided when i was pregnant that i wouldn't stop cursing just because it's what you're "supposed to do" as a parent. don't get me wrong; i do believe there are good ways and bad ways to use curse words. but seriously? they're words. that's it. they can be just as destructive as anything else in life if you let them, which is a little crazy when you think about it. i wanted to show my son that words are just that: words. if you don't pre-install some huge, heavy, negative meaning behind them, then they aren't that powerful. why do we have to be taught that certain words are bad? or that a certain religions aren't right? or that gay people don't have the right to get married? to me it seems that falls in the same line as racism, sexism, or just judgment in general. so far it's fine. he's 3 1/2 now and still doesn't repeat any curse words. he does, however, get very upset when my husband or i use ANY word in a negative way – curse word or not. if i say "jeez louise" in an upset tone, he promptly puts his pouty face on and scolds me "don't say dat bad word, mommy". so really, it shows me that what is "bad" for him isn't so much the word, but rather the emotion behind it. everyone is different though so what seems fine for us may not be for others. 7 agree I try really hard not to… and I reprimand my husband for cussing in front of Evan. But then, we were dyeing eggs on Easter, and I dropped one… and dropped the f-bomb. We were subsequently treated to a fifteen minute 21-month-old parade of "f— f— f— f—" through the kitchen. It was SO HARD to not laugh and reinforce the behavior. :-/ 3 agree Oh, and that's on top of my saying "oh balls" about something and having Evan pick that one up, too. SIGH. For all the grief I give my husband, I've "taught" Evan most of the off-color things he says. 2 agree My saying is "shit balls". I just cracked up at the image of a little boy walking around saying, "Oh balls." My mother always tells the story of her and her brother overhearing someone use the f-word. They didn't know what it meant and were discussing it and trying to figure it out…within hearing of their two-year-old younger brother, who proceeded to parade around the house saying f-, f-, f-, right into a gather of their mother and her lady friends for tea (or something equally proper). My mom and her (not so young) brother were the ones that go in trouble. I guess the point is that two year old's will end up repeating the most inappropriate things one way or another. 2 agree I have the mouth of a sailor. i try hard to not swear around my daughter but i am a stay-at-home mom and sometimes it slips. But to me, most of them are just words. If my daughter picks up my "bad" habit as she gets older i will tell her how and where we use those words, because sometimes they are not appropiate and some people dont appreciate the use of certian words. 1 agrees That's more or less what my parents did. (Although apparently my first curse was in front of Dad's boss… whups!) I swear (cuss) like a trooper and have never been very apologetic about it, as, like you say, it's never in a hateful or violent manner. I have however, always tried to stop myself swearing around other peoples kids as I feel it's the parents decision when it comes to swearing. I have never really censored myself around my own son though, until aged just two, we realised he had started saying 'shit'. I don't know about anyone else but cuss words coming from a child's mouth just didn't sound right, especially since he didn't know what shit meant. These days, I try not to swear around my child since I don't like how it sounds when he swears and I don't want to have to explain to him before he finds out for himself why I sometimes jokingly call his dad a wanker or a nobhead. I don't mind if other people drop a few swear words around my kid unless they're completely unnecessary or used in a hateful manner or as a personal attack on someone. 5 agree "I don't know about anyone else but cuss words coming from a child's mouth just didn't sound right, especially since he didn't know what shit meant. These days, I try not to swear around my child since I don't like how it sounds when he swears…" Thank you. I curse very randomly around my children. My boyfriend is a frequent flyer with curse words. My oldest son (he's 4) has tossed a curse word in at times and I correct him by telling him it is a bad word and to not say it. I was so torn on the should I/should I not curse around him but you have summed it up perfectly for me. I couldn't quite figure out why I didn't want him to even though I did but that's it. I don't like how it sounds coming from a child. 2 agree My mom used to say to me, "I don't like hearing such ugly words coming from such a pretty girl!" While I find her wording a bit problematic, I think she was getting at the same thing… 2 agree I have always felt that kids cussing is no big deal, only to the general public. But I told my kids not to cuss because I thought my traditional leaning husband would freak out. The we watched the documentary "Fuck" and Kevin Smith was talking about how you can't talk out of both sides of your mouth to your kids. So he chooses to not censor his kids in any way. My husband and I discussed how we can't tell them about free speech and then tell them they can't say something. So we had a discussion with them (they are 4 & 6) about what free speech means, and how they can say any words that they want to at home. They can't cuss at school or in front of their Gram, and we made sure that we made that rule because other people will freak out if they hear a 4 year old dropping the F-Bomb, but that saying those words were OK as far as we are concerned. 8 agree I feel the same way, about censoring yourself for your kids…but at an appropriate age. My daughter's 2, and I think it reflects badly on my parenting skills for her to be dropping bombs at this age. So I try to tame it a bit now…when she's old enough, I TOTALLY will have a talk about when & where to use certain words! (and I'm going to have to check out that movie–I hadn't heard about it) …:) 1 agrees Yea, I'm getting the sense that the key here might partially just be the kid's age. When they're super young, they just parrot what you say, and I guess you have to decide for yourself whether or not that's okay with you, considering how sort of uncontrollable it is. But then when they do get a little older, I think I would lean toward the approach of basically saying to them that WE don't care how they talk at home, but others might care in public – almost making it more of a "be courteous to others" type of lesson more than anything else, which also kind of removes some of the power you'd otherwise give these words by basically saying, "look, we don't think they're a big deal, but other people do so let's respect those people and only use these words at home" 3 agree My boy is only 5 months old and I cuss around him all the time. Some friends, however, have an 18 month old who is starting to talk more and more and is really into just mimicking anything she hears. They choose not to cuss around her and have replaced "fuck" with "fart" and "shit" with "sharks". It's almost better than cussing. I'll walk into their house and hear, "Oh fart this farting shark!" 11 agree My old roommate had a two year old son, and he was starting to parrot people dropping the F bomb, so we replaced it with fork since he was having some problems pronouncing that particular word. It was hilarious a couple of weeks later when he told his mom's douche bag boyfriend "fork you" as clear as you could please. 2 agree I've wondered this same thing. I have a 2-year old who repeats everything I say. I have a sailor mouth that I've tamed a LOT since I had her, and I don't want to hide my personality from my daughter, but I don't like the idea of her running around dropping f-bombs at 2. It's not funny or cute to me to see a toddler saying cusswords, it looks like the parent doesn't care. I'm doing my best to censor her a lot while she's this young–when she's old enough to comprehend, we can talk about when & where to use certain words. For now, I have to say things like, "SHUT the front door!" and "What the french?" and all sorts of silly things. The up side of that is it makes me feel silly when I'd otherwise feel mad! 5 agree My husband has decided to bring back antiquated or English words in place of cuss words, such as "haberdasher!" and "bollocks!" and "the inpropriety!" It's really quite amuzing when he and his friends get together and they sound like a table full of Victorian gentlemen! 20 agree And by English, I meant British, of course. lol 2 agree My husband also says "bullocks" and now our son does too. It's hilarious! lol 1 agrees Ironically, if I was caught misbehaving when I was younger my Mum would yell at me to stop or I would get such a "bollocking", by which she meant a telling off! Lol. "Bollocks" is still a real (but quite mild) swear word in Britain. And "a bollocking" still means a telling-off too. I love that you guys are using this as a "replacement" for swearing! I agree, I saw that and thought "But it's still swearing!" 1 agrees Yeah, it would NOT be thought appropriate for a child to say "bollocks" in the UK. "bUllocks" is young male cows btw. But people in the US aren't offended by it because most of them don't know what it means or that it's a mild swear word in Britain, so we consider that word passable. And anyway, we don't have children yet, so there's always time for him to drop that word, too (but, I must admit, it's my go-to word)! I thought this too, and American friends often catch me off guard using it. They sometimes seem quite surprise that it refers to testicles. I'd say it's mild-to-moderate here. When I slip up and use it at home in front of the squidgelet I change it to 'hillocks' which is a satisfying word and should be used more. hehe, I've caught my nieces and nephews saying "oh, bother!" 2 agree I totally say 'bother' all the time. It's partially training from having had young brothers when I was an adolescent, and partially training from Pooh being my favourite book (please note, not movie) when I was tiny. My son used to try and get away with "What the hell?!" but when he got the idea that I didn't like him saying 'hell' he now spurts out "What the…?" I'm okay with that. My stepsons was 5 when the first jackass movie came out. Let me tell you-that little guy worked that movie into everything he spoke about so he could get away with saying it and he'd never even seen it! I do also totally <3 the idea of using not-cursing as a way to get creative with alternatives – AND I love the idea of just co-opting curse words from other cultures, too. i curse a lot, and until recently, never cursed at work. i work as semi-management in a manufacturing facility, so most of the team members curse. i started to every once in a while as a way to "bond" with them in a weird sort of way. since i let the cat out of hte bag, its been hard to curb it elsewhere at work, say with other managers. i know they curse but not at work. plus, being a woman in a male-dominated field has been tough enough. so basically, i need to quit. im pregnant with my first and she is due in august – so im giving myself until then to slowly think of other things to say in their place (which my mom taught me was still a curse word if you say it with the same intent – but come on, sometimes youre angry). so basically, i could turn it on and off and now i find it harder to do, so i need to get that control back so i dont let the words fly when the bambino comes. its not that i really care, but its the potential of really offending someone that is going to change my behavior so the baby doesn't pick it up. and like my mom said, its always the intent behind something that makes it bad, not the word itself. (but i totally agree with not calling something stupid, or gay, or saying they hate someone, things like that) I swear a lot, but have been trying to cut back because my 4-year-old is starting to pick it up! I don't inherently have a problem with him swearing, but I haven't yet come up with a good way of communicating to him the full weight and meaning of using words that would horrify most if not everyone at his school, nor does he yet have the impulse control needed to only use certain words at home. I am trying to impart the notion that words have power, and how we use them matters. That should – I hope! – eventually translate to better use of all language, not just profanity. We don't cuss too much at home, but don't limit it either. My children have learned at both school and church w/ grandparents that certain words are bad. These words have ranged from 'cuss' words to words like 'stupid' or 'weird'. Each time they bring home a story or lesson learned, we reteach them what we want them to know. We've said that there are no words that are bad, but that you can use them to be mean to someone else or you can use them to simply express yourself. We've said that we think they are too young (ages 7 & 9 now) to use 'cuss' words because we want them to expand their vocabulary and learn to say what it is they are really feeling, not just stammer out a bunch of filler crap. We've said that at some point during their teenage years, the band will be lifted, but that they have to first show us that they have learned self control and mastery over what they say. It's an ongoing conversation each time they bring home new things they've been told. We also tell them the meanings of the words, since most often they don't know and we don't want them to use the words incorrectly when they are older. 3 agree My mom was pretty strict about cursing when we were kids. The main baddies were obviously off-limit, but we also weren't allowed to say "damn," "pissed," "shut up," "stupid," or "freaking." As a result, I felt really bad when I would accidentally swear when I got hurt and I would scorn my peers for cursing. This all went out the window when I got to middle school, though, and now the hubs and I playfully call each other "fucker bucket." We don't have kids yet, and I know I don't want them cursing in front of me, but I'm more afraid of cursing in front of them. Just this Sunday, I visited my 13-year-old brother for the first time in a month and found it very hard not to curse in front of or at him. After he made fun of me for whining, I quickly turned to him and shouted "Fuck you!" to his face, something hubs and I do to each other in jest all the time. Also, when it's gaming time, censors are totally off. You try restricting yourself to "fudge, fudge, fudge!" when you're being eaten by zombies. 4 agree "You try restricting yourself to "fudge, fudge, fudge!" when you're being eaten by zombies." Truer words have never been spoken. 3 agree When I first started dating my boyfriend I tried not to swear in front of his kids. Until I saw him at home playing video games. He's the kind who will shout profanity. With "Damn it!" and "FUCK YOU!" ringing through the house at full volume, I figured the kids were pretty well exposed. The only rule seems to be to not swear AT the kids. So far, neither the three year old nor the six year old seems to have picked up swearing. I don't know if they were ever told not to, or if they just tune us out when we aren't talking *to* them. 2 agree My mom was really strict about words I could/couldn't say as well. She hated words like "fart" and "crap" so we were always hearing and saying things like "floo floo" and "tee tee." I rebelled as a kid by hiding in my family's car with my BFF and yelling out the really bad cuss words where no one could hear. I felt like such a badass. 5 agree Hahaha. "I felt like such a badass!" That's awesome! My mom didn't swear infront of us until my parents divorce and then it all went out the window. But I've always explained to my boys that those are grown up words and when they are grown ups they can say whatever they want! Video game cursing doesn't count in our house either, I have a sailor mouth but my son, who is 10, doesn't like to swear. Gosh darn is right up there with his worst words (according to him). Watching his alternative swearing is hilarious! His biggest insults are J (for jerk), and calling people Butt. So he'll say, 'Did you se that J? He shot me right in the face! Darn him, the butt!' With this bemused, serious voice. It's amazing. I was raised around swearing and was told early on that there are appropriate places to use it and there are places where we don't. I have not curbed my swearing around my daughter and neither has anyone else in our house. I'm also a huge Amanda Palmer fan, so she goes around singing lyrics that include all kinds of fun words. There are 4 adults and 3 kids in our house, the youngest is 3 and we all swear as appropriate. The 3 year old sometimes swears when we're out and about, but as she gets older, she'll get it just like the others do. I'm not worried about it at all. I have found that most people turn what she's saying into something else in their heads anyway, like thinking she said "Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck" ha! 4 agree I swear around them, but I don't swear a whole lot to begin with. I actually felt a twinge of pride the first time my older one cursed. (I think she was around 4 at the time.) Because, she used it in proper context. Literacy rocks! 7 agree I have a tendency to drop f-bombs, which I sometimes think is backlash from growing up in a homedaycare…I couldn't say it then, so I overuse it now. I just finished my B.Ed, so this past year I have been trying to eradicate certain words from my vocabulary, and as a result my swear of choice has become 'crudmonkeys' or 'son of a bee sting'. That being said, I am a drama teacher, so I have mixed feelings on swearing at school. Generally speaking, a school code of conduct will forbid 'inappropriate' language-but what does that mean? Inappropriate in what context, and to whom? It's been a challenge for me as an artist, and me as an educator, and I think I will continue to have mixed feelings about this subject once our baby is born. 2 agree Also, we don't edit language from friends or movies, etc. We stress that it's a matter of self control; that they need to learn what to say and when to say it before being given free reign. 3 agree I cuss like a pirate, and always have. How did we handle this with the kids (all 6 of em?) when they are young, they naturally copy parents. So when they copy one of the 'forbidden words' – we gently tell them no and let them know those are 'mommy/daddy words'. If they repeat the words, it's a NO MA'AM! or NO SIR! moment, 'those are MOMMY words!' This has worked, VERY well with all 6 of the kids and the other kids that are pretty involved in our life through friendship or babysitting. As the kids get older – 12 being the first milestone we allow them to use some of the original curse words around us. 12 gets to use 'crap', 13 gets 'hell', 15 gets 'damn', 16 gets to use 'bitch' and anything beyond that is something they need to wait until they are older (or around their friends) to use. Right now I've got from an almost 18yo to a 4.5 yo with all ages in between and the 11 yo can't WAIT to be 12 and 'cuss' LOL. Also, we don't allow the word 'freaking' for the under 13 set. It sounds too much like 'fucking' to most people and peoples perceptions do matter to us in some ways. 3 agree That is exactly what we do. E knows that there are certain words that are "big people" words and that she is not to use them until she is old enough to understand what they mean and decide if she wants to use them. Does the Pope shit in the woods? Oh wait, is a bear catholic? Um… 4 agree I have a nearly four year old daughter, and I also have a very bad habit of cussing. We tried to be good for the first year or so, but I found it really difficult. My husband doesn't cuss as much as me but he does say a lot of rather silly or inappropriate things. The first time the baby cussed she said "Oh shit!" when she fell down. Laughter ensued because of how she used it. (I'm sorry but when kids use cuss words in context without using them at someone, I find it quite funny). We started trying to tell her no, those are bad words don't say them. Which resulted in me being told constantly "Don't say that, Mommy! Its a bad word." There are even words she considers bad words which aren't, its just the context in which she hears them. We finally just decided to tell her there are no such things as bad words. Its how and when we use those words that are bad. She knows not to cuss at school, and not to cuss at anyone. Now she seems to think of them more as grownup words. I even get asked now, "Mommy, when I'm a big girl, can I say fuck?" 1 agrees As part of an elementary school project way, way back in the day, we had to make a list of house rules for our respective families. The first rule I wrote down? "Only mom and dad may cuss." My parents hung that list on the wall. I assume I'll use the same idea – some words are "grown up" words that, like a driver's licence, may need some social practice and training before you get to use them freely. 1 agrees I think I grew up with the idea that it was OK at home but not in public. I don't know how I learned that, and don't have any anecdotes on how that came about, but I liked that my mom was not an uptight mom and have tried my best to channel that as well, now that I am a mom. What is a little funny though is that, although my mom is laid back about that kind of stuff, my mother-in-law used to be the preacher's wife and is not comfortable with people cussing around her granddaughter, even herself. She is basically a sweetheart about how she corrects people, so it does not bother me, but I find it amusing at times. I suggested that we are trying to swap out cuss words for Yiddish versions, even though none of us are Jewish, just because they are fun to say. One of my daughters regular sitters is a guy who is not used to having to curb his language and I don't bother asking him to, but my mother-in-law caught him dropping the f-bomb around my baby when she was maybe 4 months old and told him about using Yiddish instead. Later she correct my best friend for using ass, which never bothered me (especially since she was using it to describe a part of a her body, not call someone a bad name). Personally, since I have so many friends who enjoy popular scifi shows, ourselves included, I have considered trying to cultivate the use of made up curses from the shows, like "frak" from Battlestar Galactic. 1 agrees Here's my thing, I'm ok with curse words when they are used in the right context. I'll talk about how the cat shit needs to be cleaned up, but I won't say it if I dropped something and it has nothing to do with shit. I think when we start ignoring the meanings of words it opens up a door where people feel it's ok to use words like retarded or gay as insults. **hops off soapbox** 1 agrees i am a nanny for twins and i swear like a sailor. as they are starting to talk, i am usually pretty good. the other day i was walking through the kitchen in bare feet and stepped on a toy (hard!) and shouted, 'sonuva…chicken!' the girls' dad (who works from home) shouted from his office, 'nice save!' Since we got married and my husband moved in with me and my daughter, he's been saying "God… Bless America!" instead of his usual "Goddamnit!" It kinda cracks me up. We've all become very patriotic in our moments of momentary stress or pain. My sister and I were just talking about this. As children, we were told that some words were "bad," as in it was a sin to say them. Then we both grew up to be writers and to feel that the idea of "bad" words is laughable at best and offensive at worst. Then we had kids and really didn't want to be yelled at by other parents for our children teaching the entire kindergarten the f-bomb. My daughter seemed to catch on quickly to the idea that there were "grown up" words. I can't think of any really embarrassing incidents with her. Whenever she tries a word out, we remind her that some words will get her in trouble at school or grandma's house. What we're tough about is being rude or unkind to others, which ties in to swearing. You can say bitch, but you can't call someone a bitch. 2 agree My daughter on the other hand, (I'm Amy's sister) never really cursed, until a weekend with her paternal grandfather, who yelled at me about cursing in front of his granddaughter. When I curse, I try really hard to explain to my daughter that these are expressive words not meant towards someone. For example, I use bitch as a verb not a noun. Unfortunately my father-in-law likes to call his wife a bitch…so then my daughter walked around calling everyone and everything a bitch. She couldn't understand that it was an insult because Grandpa used it so lovingly. This is the problem with cursing, but to be fair, this is the problem with language. Not everyone uses language to express their emotions in positive ways. I want my daughter to be able to navigate these waters, and part of doing that is understanding words in all of their horror and glory. 2 agree I don't let my 6 yo curse at all. Of course, she did say a few choice words when she was 2-3 and still learning! It's not even because I think cursing is 'bad' but I don't want her to get in trouble at school for something I taught her. I won't mind if she cusses when she's older, but I dislike it when every other word out of someone's mouth is a curse word. It's just too over the top….. don't they know any other words? 3 agree Oh, and my little girl thinks the f-word is 'fat' and the s-word is 'stupid', both of which she is never allowed to use if she's taking about another person. 2 agree I've got a 2 year-old, and I never, ever swear in front of her. I've got nothing at all against swearing/cussing, it doesn't offend me in the slightest, as long as it's not spoken in an aggressive or derogatory manner… but other people do, and I have to have consideration for that. She's not old enough to know when is it's an appropriate time to curse and when it is not. It was hard to stop myself swearing, sure, but it's not the only habit I've changed for the benefit of my child. That's just part of being a parent; you work at things, you change what you need to. I found it very difficult, as I used to swear like a sailor, but it the only other options were to either: 1. Swear in front of her and just let her repeat it, thus exposing her to social rejection, as I know for a fact there are many mothers out there who won't let their kids associate with a child that swears all the time, for fear they'll pick it up. As much as it's wrong for parents to do that, they do. And I'm not going to let my child suffer for my own more liberal opinions. 2.Swear in front of her but tell her not to repeat it. That might work for other people, but not for me. I'd feel too much like a hypocrite, and I prefer to lead by example when possible. 3 agree I'm not sure if my mom swore around me when I was younger, but she did have some slips when I was old enough to know it was a cuss word. It was definitely banned from our household. My mom grew up with super stressed out teen-parents-grew-up-poor-with-five-kids who swore AT them, among other violent gestures. Even with the baggage, though, I knew my mom swore, so it became a right of passage for me to be able to swear around her. We'll still apologize to each other for dropping F-bombs, but not if it is totally warranted When we swear around our kids we shout "BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!" immediately following the offending word. All they hear is birthday cake. What swear word? 4 agree I don't around others' kids, but do around my own. I don't hide that in frustration I will curse, rather I point out that I'm an adult and sometimes this is how we vent frustration. My kids (at the moment anyhow) don't think twice about it and don't curse. In my experience, hiding certain things, whether it be cursing, drinking an occasional beer or glass of wine, etc, only fuels their curiosity. I have a 3 yo son and me and the other half swear a lot. We usually do good at limiting ourselves but words slip and naturally he always hears it and repeats it. We let him try it out in our home a few times and treat it like its not a big deal ( dont want to put a stigma on words) Then before bed I tell him why its not a good word to say around other kids and what it means and why he should wait til he is older to use it. He gets it and so far its worked he hasnt received any negative remarks from his preschool (we would have since its in a church). Slip ups happen and they usually happen around young children. In my opinion its best not to punish them for copying your actions, but explain to them the meaning of the word and why only adults should use it. Its worked for us. I grew up with a father who wouldn't let me say "butt" or "fart." But whenever he wasn't around, my mother said "shit" or "hell" or "damn." She always made it VERY clear to me that cussing is extremely unprofessional (in MOST professions, obviously there are going to be exceptions to that statement) and was more appropriate in the privacy of your own home. I said my fair share of colorful words in front of friends (and Mom) while growing up until a guy I dated briefly said it made me look uneducated so I stopped (not to change myself for him, but because I agreed that it didn't do anything for my reputation). My husband and I cuss in front of each other and in front of friends (and in the car), but that's where the line is drawn. I never cuss at work and, in fact, my husband is trying to limit is cussing in preparation for our future children as he doesn't want them learning to cuss from us. I don't think it's a censorship thing so much as there are much more sophisticated ways to express oneself. On the opposite side of that coin, sometimes shock value does get the point across better. 3 agree I heard a lot of colorful language as a kid, but my mother was rather restrictive. 'Fart' was a bad word, because you know, it's ugly for a little girl to say that. My aunt (mom's younger sister) cuses like a sailor, so I ended up being the kid that taught all the other kids curses in kindergarten. My grandfather actually taught me horrible racial slurs (we do live in the deep south, and despite how great of a man he was, it was one of his faults). Mom stopped that by spanking me when I used them, then calling him on the phone so he could hear me cry. I do tend to have a fowl mouth on occasion still, probably because I associated that language with being an adult. When I have kids, I plan to use my dear friend Joie as a model. Her daughter is turning eight this week, and is totally aware of curse words and even has a favorite. The rule is she can't say them in public or around people who aren't family, not because it's wrong but because it makes other people uncomfortable. So the lesson becomes more about being considerate which, I think, takes the romance out of the words. And that's all I have to say about that. 1 agrees I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard my mother swear. My dad used to swear in Spanish around us but that won't work for us as my husband is half Honduran. I went to a religious school so there was no swearing there either. I'll never forget the first time a teacher swore in class in college…I think my jaw dropped. I sound like such a prude but I don't plan to swear around my children. I feel like there are lots of other words that express my point just as well. I had a teacher in school that used to say "Fudgesicle soup" instead of the F-word and I use that from time to time as it's pretty hilarious. I don't plan to punish my kids for swearing but it's also not a habit I want to encourage. If I'm going tell them that 'retard' and 'gay' aren't appropriate when used as an insult, then why not shit and fuck too? Or heaven forbid the racial slurs my 72 year old FIL still drops from time to time. I swear I'm not as prude as I sound. 1 agrees I have four kids and found a method that has worked very well for us. I cuss like no other, so this was very difficult. We tell the kids that they cannot cuss around women or children younger than 14. That way they get to have a bonding moment with their Dad when I am not around, and Grandma never hears a word. We don't tell them they are bad words at all. The bad words in our house are stupid, idiot, ugly, and so on. I do not tolerate those words at all and are considered bad words. 1 agrees My parents swore all the time in front of me as a kid, but I was well aware that I wasn't allowed use those words myself. I'm planning something similar with my kids — I'd feel weird trying to quit swearing, but I'm not really comfortable hearing children swear. The rule in my house growing up was "you can't swear until you are 18". I liked and still like the rule. Having 5 brothers and sisters, when the majority (4) of us were 18 my 2 younger sisters thought it meant that they could swear too… Having a son of my own (he's only 5 months) my husband and I try not to swear around him. Some slip out here and there, we hope to be better about it when my son is older. So I have an almost 5 year old. I don't curse a *whole* lot, but I do occasionally. I attempt to minimize it in front of my son, but I don't make a big deal out of it. When he was in the "parroting" phase he used to repeat them to the point where I was concerned he would say it in an inappropriate situation. Now that he is out of that phase, when he says a "bad" word I explain that they are inappropriate for little kids to use. Also, that it isn't that they are "bad" but that it bothers some people to hear them. He keeps insisting that they ARE bad though – and in fact has been known to suggest that some perfectly regular words are bad too. (I'm certain that he's picked up the concept of "bad words" from the kids at school). He makes an effort to avoid saying them – I know this because I've heard him correct himself. He'll say OH MY GOD! I mean GOSH! I cuss like a sailor, mainly because that is the culture I grew up in. "F" falls in front of just about every noun out of my mouth. My biggest problem with swearing is just that it is a lazy way of talking. Why think up an intelligent way of expressing yourself when you can just say F@#K? I have watched video of myself talking and just cringed because I come across like an ignorant person with a very limited vocabulary. I think in the workplace when I slip…I might be viewed as "uneducated" even though I am not. I wish there was a class I could take or hypnotism to stop swearing! I really want to break this habit for my child, who is still a baby. Cussing doesn't offend me either, as long as it's used appropriately. Like, don't just scream the "f" word for the fun of it, but if you stub your toe and it just happens to erupt from your mouth, no big deal. My son is allowed to cuss at home, but he knows not to do it at school. He uses it appropriately. At school, he's not even allowed to say "what the" because he may be thinking of ending it with "hell" or something worse. I said "what if you're thinking 'what the bananas'?" Apparently now you can get in trouble for thought crimes at school. My theory is that since any "bad" word can be substituted with a "good" word, yet still mean exactly the same thing, then how is it a "good" word if the intention is the same as the "bad" word? If I call someone a bunny but really mean to call them a bitch, then how is it any different? The intention is the same. 2 agree We don't, when we can help it. It is inevitable that the kids pick up the words at school etcv anyway, they don't need us to also be using them all of the time. We have a great time making up words to use instead. I like that aspect of it. Because, you have you admit, swearing is often the laziest path. I am also fond of using salty language and didn't want to be a hypocrite with my (now 5 year old) daughter. So, I call swear words "strong words" and talk to her about how some people don't like to hear strong words. It's always been about context, and she knows she can swear at home (though doesn't much), but not places like school. I like the idea of courtesy being the driving idea behind not cussing in public. I'm still trying to conceive so I may change my tune when the time comes, but right now the idea of getting ME to stop cussing is impossible. I was the kid who weaseled the "f" word out of my mother, telling her that I needed to know it in case I said it by accident. I haven't stopped saying it since. So my kids will hear it, I know. I do believe they're just words and I also believe it's hypocritical to use "shoot" and "darn" and act like they somehow make you a better person when they mean the same thing. However, I do think it's courteous to not swear in public because it does offend people. The same way we fart in the house but not in public. That's a lesson that is understandable and age appropriate for any young child. Oh and for the record, I recently read about a study that said swearing when you get hurt may actually reduce pain. Apparently, it only works though if you don't swear very often so that means I'm shit out of luck! 1 agrees I swear. A lot. Alice isn't talking yet, but she is pretty close so i've been trying to do it less around her. I think my stragity is going to be age based. When she is really young she doesn't need to pick up the words I use, but as she gets older I will try less and less to keep my vocab clean. I mean, if she doesn't hear them from me the moment she steps on a public school bus she will learn ones that I don't even know. Even before I was pregnant my husband and I knew we wouldn't curb our cussing. We now have an 11 month old daughter and we curse just as much as we always have. Our opinion is that they're just words and with everything else we'll teach when she should and shouldn't say them. My dad used to curse all the time around me. According to my mom my first word was "F**K". I think that's hilarious. However, I was taught not to curse and I didn't. I think it can be done! 1 agrees I seem to recall in highschool (super uptight Baptist), our kick ass english teacher spent an entire class discussing the origin of vulgarity, and why it was frowned upon. It's nothing more than a caste distinction (If you look it up, the first definition is "characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste") So while the upper crust might refer to "leavings" the workers in the muck called it shit. God forbid if you were to use that language and someone thought that you associated with those of such ill breeding! The words you used, denoted where you were from, what class you were, and that's why they spent so much effort on diction classes. Think Pygmalion. The people in the church were usually pretty high up the social ladder, and wanting to distance themselves from the common folk, twisted profanity (characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things) to include vulgarity. To swear in the Biblical context meant giving of an oath under false pretenses, to swear loyalty and worship to a false God, or to do something in the name of God that he wouldn't approve of. It had nothing to do with common language. As for me, I grew up not swearing (Shut Up was the S word, and Fart was the F word. I also got a detention for accidentally flipping someone off because they didn't believe I didn't know what it meant.) Now my husband swears like a truck driver and I'm making up for lost time. We also live in the Boston area where "fuck" is a replacement for "um". The infamous "diversity of the word" scene from Boondock Saints is pretty accurate. I do have a mental filter though, when at my parents' or when working in a business capacity, I don't swear, it doesn't even enter my mind. But I don't see myself doing that when we have kids. Our emphasis is going to be on teaching respect for people and situations, and knowing when things are and aren't appropriate. Meeting a new person is "Hello, nice to meet you." not "'Sup bitch?" 3 agree I have to "like" this because you mentioned the Boondock Saints. Even if I thought your comment was ludicrous (Which I didn't lol), I would have still "Thised!" it! Hm. This will probably not be a popular opinion, but we're trying to curb the swearing in our house around our baby girl. I don't swear much, but my partner has been known to. I guess I feel like most often, when I DO curse, it's out of frustration and because I lack the words to express how I'm feeling about something (confused, mad, frustrated, etc.). Ideally, I'd want my child to develop the vocabulary to talk to me about how she's feeling (especially if the feelings are negative) and not default to a curse because "that's what my moms do." I dunno, I'll probably change my tune when she gets to talking age, but for now, that's where I stand. 4 agree Growing up I wasnt allowed to say pregnant, I had to say "with child" that was how over the top my parents were about "bad" words lol and once i even got a spanking at my christain school in the 5th grade for saying pissed off. Word are words, it's the emotion behind them that can make them hurtful, which is the only reason for something to be considered bad. We teach our kids to say how they feel however they need to wether they scream or swear or whatever, rather than showing it through violence or being mean to others. I'd rather get a call from his teaher about him saying shit than one where he hurt someone or broke something out of anger or frustration. I went with the 'swearing is a grownup thing' method when my daughter was small. Later explaining that I didn't have any issues with the words themselves, personally, but that a lot of people did and that's why it's not appropriate for anybody to swear around the general public. Daughter 'accidentally' dropped an f-bomb in front of me a couple of years ago. I told her that I remember being a teenager and that it would be unrealistic to tell her not to ever swear, but that it was still socially expected of me, as her mother, to do so. And then I made her a deal: If she would pretend around me that she didn't swear, then I would pretend to believe her. So far it's working. 1 agrees When I was young my grandmother told me that people who cuss do so because they don't have a large enough vocabulary to express themselves otherwise. As an adult, I do consider myself to have enough words to express myself in any circumstance, and sometimes that involves cursing. For my daughter, I don't want to cuss around her. Not because I think it's never appropriate to cuss, but because I'd like her to choose words that really express what she's feeling vs. using a curse word for show. Hit herself with a hammer? Curse away. Have her feelings hurt? I hope she'll have more words to use beyond curse words. In my family this was said as "Profanity is the refuge of the small minded mother fucker." or "futher mucker", depending on who was around at the time. 1 agrees It's a respect thing, really. Avoid cursing around people who are offended by it. When it comes to kids, however, you have the issue of mimicry. My mom stopped cursing when one day at church, one of us kids said a not so church-friendly word, and my mom was mortified. I think that when I have kids, I will avoid cursing around them when they are very young, and gradually remove that censor as they are old enough to understand that there are some times when cursing is simply not appropriate, and that there are some times when it's okay. I swear kind of a lot, and I never even considered trying to stop when my son was born. Aside from it being futile anyway, I don't really see the big deal in swearing around a kid and at the same time, asking them not to until they are older. I mean, my son sees me drinking wine and he knows he can't until he's older… how is that any different? I get to drive because I'm an adult, he doesn't. He gets these concepts. My guy is still a little one, so time will tell if I'm horribly wrong, but I doubt he'll be ruined for life. That was almost exactly my philosophy while my daughter was younger. Even comparing swearing to alcohol and driving when explaining it to her. She's fifteen now, and it seems to have worked as far as I can tell. I don't have kids yet, but I do not plan on swearing around them. I always teach my students that if you have to use a swear word in a situation other than stubbing your toe (cuz that hurts lol!) then you aren't using your brains or you need to expand your vocabulary. I don't plan on being prudish about it though. I will let my kids watch stuff with swears in it I am sure, and I am sure I will accidentally swear around my kid. I just don't plan on making it a habit. In general, I don't have a big problem with adults swearing, but I try to limit it to situations that actually call for it, rather than letting a 'fuck' fly for, I don't know, dropping something. I try to watch what I say in front of my son, because I really dislike hearing children swear; I live in a town that is, ahem, quite rough, and a lot of the inhabitants make me grimace, not least of all because of the constant swearing. I often leave playgrounds because there are four year olds running wild, fighting and calling each other 'fucking cunt'. I guess because of that I tend to associate excessive cussing with uncouth, uneducated and socially disruptive people, and you can understand why I don't want my son to be picking it up at a young age. That said, it's not as if I try to make sure he doesn't hear any swearing. Like others have said, if he starts to repeat things, I'll just try to make it clear that those are adult words. 1 agrees I hardly ever swear and I know I will make a conscious effort to never swear around children, mine or otherwise. I remember hearing a mother say "Get the fuck over here" and it really bothered me. Plus, if you swear all the time you make the words lose their meaning. What are you going to say when something really warrants swearing? Growing up we never swore at all. I wasn't even allowed to say 'pissed' for a while. I remember in high school I was really pissed at the marching band for not being respectful to the other bands at the competition (I was a section leader) and I turned around and told everyone to "Shut the hell up!" All I said was Hell and everyone listened. That word had power because I never used it. I burnt myself quite badly once and everyone realized how serious it was because I actually said "shit". I swear a bit more now, but I still use substitutions (usually found in books or on TV) like "cow pox" and "frak". Plus, saying "Fudge Monkeys!" (which really is my go-to phrase – I'm kinda a prude) reminds me that nothing's too serious. And if any child ever repeats "Cruddy McCrud face!" I won't have to worry 1 agrees I fully intended not to censor myself at all but when my baby was born I realized that some language I am not comfortable with. In theory, I would like to allow all words but focus on no name calling. The thing about the curse words that gets tricky is school – Having separate rules for home and school seems sort of confusing. Then again, I suppose there are plenty of other non-language rules that differ between home and public. I guess we will see what feels right. With friends' kids we do a lot of "shut the truck up" and things of that nature and I will admit that it is addicting and fun! It may seem sort of confusing, but it's actually something that everyone needs to learn quite early on. For example, it ok to run around naked at home, but at the shops you need to keep clothes on. When you're on a holiday, you can slack off and do what you want, but not at work. At school, you need to respect the teacher and classmates and do your work, at home you treat your parents however they want and can play games, etc. It's about learning to code switch behaviours, the same way some children grow up bilingually. On topic: I personally hardly ever swear and actually flinch whenever I hear obscenities in ordinary conversation (though I'm more than understand when someone stubs their toe). I think those words have meaning and power. So as a primary school teacher (or soon to be), I don't tolerate with my students. I swear in front of my 7 year old. She understands that there are certain words that are ok in certain contexts, and that she's not allowed to use them at school or her dad's house (we aren't together). I will admit that one of her first words was "shit" and she used it properly and in front of a crowd. It was hilarious but we still had a conversation (even at the age of 1, I believed firmly in talking to my daughter like she understood me). Now she often reminds me that certain words aren't to be used in certain company (around my mother, for example) and that using them as descriptions of people is rude. I swear a helluva lot. I tell him that we say those naughty words at home, but not at church or school. And yes, sometimes I swear in anger. *hangs head in shame* Actually, I often swear in anger. In those cases, I make a point to apologize to my son every time and say that it's not right for me to swear at him. To be honest, it's a miracle that he rarely swears, considering how often he hears the foulest language in the world spewing from my mouth. I'm not saying that this is ideal, or that I'd recommend it to anyone. But it's the way I deal with it, because I have been unable to clean up my language. An imperfect mama in an imperfect world! I cuss like a sailor, though not as an angry thing – just for flavor. Have always told my daughter that swear words are just words, though since they offend some people, she may only use them at home with me. This has resulted in a number of amusing anecdotes, including the time when she was four and told me over breakfast, "Mama, these pancakes are really fucking good!" My intention has been for her to see swear words as akin to most other words – I didn't want her to think of them as "magic" words that she could use to get a reaction. For me, the deal is that adults (generally) can limit their swearing to appropriate places. I don't swear in workplaces, at servers, or around my mother in law. I do swear with friends & with partners. I therefore limit my swearing around my 3 year old until she is able to judge for herself appropriate situations. She hears the words occasionally though. I never do it, and it annoys me when people do it in front of children. It really bothers for me to hear children cuss. But at the same time, I can understand some people do not want to censor themselves, so to each his own I guess? Hi, I am Lace, I am addictive to profanity. LOL I cuss on an hourly basis to the point I have trained my co-workers to cuss with me. Pretty sad/bad huh. Well, I have a 17yo, 5yo, and a 3yo. We have had to educate the kids that there are "adult" words, just like adult drinks. This seems to help but they still do pick things up. It is hard not to cuss at a 17yo when they are … well acting like a 17yo. So we do word substitution, which is now a dinner time game. A while ago the 3yo used WTF properly in her anger towards her art project that was ruined by spilled milk. We played our game and it went as followed: WTF to What the Funk to What the FlipFlop to What the Flagnog to What the dog. …still waiting for the 3yo to tell us what a Flagnog is. These word games are helping me at work to not cuss. I get irritated with someone and they are a "peanut". The 5yo came up with that one. The kids do call us out on it and tell us to use words like "What the Flagnog" Our bebe is only 3 months old but I don't want to swear around her. Maybe the occasional damnit but I don't want her to be slinging around the F word. Jumping into the category of "I have a mouth like a sailor"… Although I have made many vain attempts to censor myself, I have always had a foul mouth around my kids. The rules I kind of fell into are: 1) No violent talk 2) Never in anger (at a person) 3) "Stupid" "Idiot" and the like and "Shut up" are NOT allowed in my house. My 8 year old, although I don't know where she gets this from, is usually pretty offended at foul language. We taught her pretty early on that there are some words it's just not ok for kids to say. I daresay she has never used a bad word, and she has, in the last year or so, begun to admonish me when I use them. The little one (19 mos) has apparently started to say "Oh shit." I haven't heard it, but my mother-in-law "says" she has. But then, we know how in-laws are. I take it with a grain of salt. Hopefully, the baby will follow in her sister's footsteps when she gets old enough to understand the concept of tact. Just remembered a funny story.. I have a bumper sticker that says "What kind of asshole would eat a lamb?" My 8 year old and I had a discussion about it and she decided that yes, in fact, people who eat cute little lambies are assholes. But she won't say it, of course. So whenever we encounter an asshole, she now says "That person eats LAMB." I think it's pretty effing special 1 agrees My partner and I's general view on parenting is we do not censor ourselves, and will explain anything and everything our boys ask us to the best of our abilities. We also have the view that kids pick their parents, if you will, so why would you change who you are just because someone else is joining your life? To clarify: some changes are neccesary (baby proofing!) but you don't need to do a complete overhaul on your habits. Because of this, our 2 year old speaks with the vocaubalry of a 4 year old. He also uses 'curse' words (in our home every word is acceptable as long as its used appropriately but being mean is not acceptable) but appropriately: He says 'o shit!' when he drops something, or can't find it. He'll say 'where's my fucking ___!?' when he can't find something. And sometimes he pretends he's driving and he'll say 'move bitch!' Which admittedly is my fault and not my favorite, so we are working on not using that word as much (ALL of us!). The funniest part is when one of our friends will curse and then realize it and apologize all quick. Everytime they do I just laugh and say 'dont worry we don't censor ourselves. And he (my son) will probably use the f-word more than you!' In fact, my 11 year old brother has just come to this understanding that any word can be a 'bad word' depending on its intention, so curse words really aren't that bad…..which is odd firstly because I remember being that age and reaching the same conclusion. But it was hilarious when he told me sorry in advance incase Herb (son) picks up some 'bad words'. I laughed and told him Herb's been sayinf 'aw fuck!' For months. One of my other friends was there and said 'i thought that's what he said I just couldn't quite understand him!' However, he does know that some people don't particulalrly like those words for one reason or another so some places its respectful to not say them. At grandmas he says 'o dang!' Or darn it. But he is 2. Sometimes people won't understand him, and sometimes he's just gonna say stuff no matter what. That's the beauty of kids–you have NO excuse to be bored ever again! Wow- There's a lot of responses on here. Like a few others, I taught my oldest that these are "adult words" and when she was an adult, she was welcome to use them freely. She's 16 now and occasionally drops an F bomb in front of me… and then turns beet red and apologizes. I know she cusses, I just ask that anything beyond damn, hell, and bitch she keep to herself out of respect. I was also big on explaining the origins of cuss words to her. Or dirty expressions. My husband and I have… immature, often inappropriate humor. (One of our friends was lovingly dubbed Sticky Belly Kelley 10 years ago and it has not gone away). SO there were a lot of, "When you're older" moments with her. (Imagine trying to explain what a Dirty Sanchez is to an 11 yr old… and then finally explaining it when she's 14 only to have her say, "God, Mom! You're so Gross! That's not funny, it's just… gross!") The younger girl… we'll see how it goes. I have a feeling it's not going to be as easy with her. I'm pretty sure her first phrase is going to be, "God damn it, dog!" Well. My husband and I do not hold back our cussing. When I notice that he is doing it more often than I'd like to hear, then I say something. We are fairly good about not doing it around our child, although, we are not perfect and we were sailors in our past lives. I guess it's just a matter of balance. My parents never swore around me until I got a little older. And if they did, I never noticed. I guess if my two year old starts saying the F bomb, we may regret our choices we're making now. . . . . You are allowed to cuss you see (your own) blood or are over the age of 12. I probably personally won't swear around my kids, or at least try to, just because I'd worry about other parents' reactions. No one wants to be the kid who other parents don't their kid to play with. That being said, my parents swore around me and I turned out fine. We also have funny stories like the time my mom asked my dad why he was back so soon from sectioning up a tree and 3 year old me (his 'helper') replying, "The damn chainsaw won't work." We let it all hang out. I was a complete hypocrite in the beginning. No one could cuss around my child. One day, my husband told me that he got cut off in traffic, yelled fuck you, which our son (2 at the time) immediately repeated at the top of his lungs. I cried for hours and withheld business time for days. Then, I realized that it's not that high on the priority list. Now our son is 7, and his little sister is 3. She's a fan of dammit, while he rarely swears. We explained that, much like our brand of dark, sarcastic humor, not everyone appreciates it. There's a time and place. There is one rule for language overall: nothing mean-spirited. I can call you a jerk face in playful banter, or call you a jerk face because I want to hurt you. It's all about intent. I think Deborah has the right idea. I say some pretty heinous language (think Hunter Thompson, and times that by 3, and yes, I have no problem using the "c" word to describe some women). Now that I'm pregnant, I am going to cut back. My husband works in construction and the stereotype that construction workers are enthusiastic swearers is 100% true. He drops F-bombs so casually in a conversation you don't even pick up on it at first. I support cursing (to quote Spencer Tracy's character Henry Drummond from 'Inherit the Wind,'"I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands!" However, just like when it comes to art and writing, I think there is definitely the element of 'knowing the rules before you break them.' In this case, just breaking public taboo about swearing, especially in front of children (your own or others), is just poor taste if you're doing it 'just to do it.' It's no different then someone jumping on the bandwagon to get tattoos or piercings because it's "hip and cool." There is an underlying art to it. I think about how you hear people cursing in Britain (think Absolutely Fabulous), verses in the United States. You have to be very careful when you swear, and how you teach your children to swear. You don't want to come off as just being ignorant. I think swearing is fine around children as long as it's not used hatefully or directed towards a person or animal. Of course it helps that I normally swear in a variety of non-english languages. I really like what they did on Fantastic Mr. Fox…Actually saying "Cuss" in lieu of the cuss word itself. "What the cuss?" "Ya gotta be cussin me!" "Oh cuss!" My husband and I LOVE that movie and often substitute "cuss"! haha I love that you reminded me of it! that's a good one! i haven't heard that before but when i'm at work i use the word "expletive" in the place of what i really want to say. sometimes i switch it up and say "aardvark" because it gets a good laugh & lightens the mood. as in "oooh that customer was a dirty little aardvark!" It's a difficult situation, isn't it? I'm currently expecting and due in about a month, so debate about these sorts of things has become frequent between my boyfriend and I. We both kind of swear like sailors, and probably won't do well trying to censor ourselves around the child. You don't want to ban words from your child when you yourself use them all the time, but you don't want your child to use the words in inappropriate situations (like at school) or in hurtful ways, and you don't want swear words to become a major part of your child's vocabulary. But then again a good hearted "fuck you!" every once in a while is almost essential. Where do you find a good middle ground? I'm a nanny, and I try to never curse around the children I'm taking care of.. but if I ever procreate, I will curse around them, though perhaps not with the regularity that I do now! Words are words, it's the tone that really matters. I remember sitting in a Burger King with my mom when I was little, and I kept saying "bugger me!" (I think I'd picked it up from a movie) over and over again until my mom got fed up and said "PLEASE don't say that anymore! It means having sex with someone in their butt and that's not nice for a little girl to say." I was mortified, and never used it again. My husband and I have never altered our language around our kids. Basically, we've told them that words are just words and that people are offended by all kind of things, including words. It's all about context, context, context! I don't care if they say, "shit," or, "fuck," as long as they're not using those words in anger against others, and obviously there are people who require filters. Don't use those words around teachers or grandparents! I don't think my husband and I will censor ourselves when we have kids. I think we'll explain that some words are "adult" words, just like some movies are "adult" movies and some drinks are "adult" drinks. I think kids need to be sheltered from a lot of things, but words are just words. My mom swore when we were growing up; I picked up her habit but I also learned by example that swearing at school or at work or at the grocery store was not appropriate. The one word my sister and I were not allowed to say for a long time was "suck". My parents also loathed "shut-up" and "stupid" but "you suck" or "that sucks" really bothered my mother. Being the sex-positive mom that she is, after telling her that "all the kids say it" she explained what "sucking" was and therefore what it meant "to suck". Ultimately, I think it was a problem for her that 10 year olds were not only talking about each other “sucking” but that we were using it in such a negative way. I didn’t see that at the time and now of course “suck” is used pretty liberally but I still apply that theory to my own cussing practice. 1 agrees When I taught pre-school we taught the kids that there are "at home words" and "at school words" so if a swear word was dropped we just told them that was an "at home word". This came is handy big time when I had a boy in my class who liked to use the N-word. He was African American and I had heard him use it as a greeting to another child (Whats up my n…) but I also heard him use it in the derogatory sense (you ugly n….)so he and I talked a lot about how that's an at home word. With my daughter now, we swear around her but try and keep it in check. I don't often use those words in every day conversation so she hears them in what I consider the appropriate context (say I stub my toe, or drop something). So far she hasn't mimicked any of them but one. She went through a phase where she would say G-d Dam-it a lot…..I didn't have a huge issue with it, but she goes to daycare with a boy whose family is VERY religious so we tried to curb it out of respect for them. i was raised around a father who is totally unable to verbally express himself without the use of multiple colorful metaphors. so my daughter has grown up around a bunch of pottymouths. but she knows that kids aren't allowed to say those words and she doesn't. as she's gotten older, i've slowly allowed her to say a few chosen words, but ONLY when she's home. never outside of our house. she's 12 now and i know that the kids on her bus could probably give me a good run for my money with words i'v probably never even heard before. so trying to shelter her from it would be ineffectual. i let her say 'sucks' and 'friggin' to express how she feels when she wants. but that's it. i don't think i'll mind it as she gets older if she wants to use other words too, just as long as they aren't used in a hateful way to hurt someone else. My husband and I aren't swearers really. I am known to let "shit" fly here or there, but never the f-bomb. My son, who is 6, hears who knows what at school though. He doesn't repeat it. He knows what are swear words and doesn't say them. I'm not overly concerned with the particular words but how they are said. Honestly there is no difference between him saying "oh poop!" and "oh shit!" I will equally tell him to simmer down. Where as if he just went around saying poop I wouldn't care. It's all about context. The poor kid still thinks "stupid" is a swear word though. I've recently had to explain that saying that something is stupid isn't a swear, it's just rude. And we shouldn't be rude. And that some words are swears and will really get you in trouble around others so we shouldn't say them either. He gets it. I was shopping at Kohls the other day, and heard a woman say to her 7-8 year old son "I am going to kick your F*$#&@^ A**!" I was horrified, and heartbroken for the child. I will never speak to my children this way, nor would I speak this way merely in front of them. It's completely classless to teach children that it's ok to use this kind of language. My partner and I have a policy of appropraiteness in our home. We swear in front of, and with, our child. We occcasionally share in "inappropriate" humour with our child. The key is to enforce the idea of situtational appropriateness, which is something our daughter has a firm grasp on. This is not just about knowing who you can and cannot swear around, but also knowing the appropriate use of each word. Swearing in anger is never acceptable in our home. 1 agrees When I first had my daughter, it didn't seem like an issue. Yes, I swear a lot, but this itty bitty baby isn't yet mimicing what she is hearing. By the time it started to seem to matter, I could watch my own toungue but no matter how many times I admonished her father or my own, or any other number of people constantly around her, it didn't matter. No amount of reminders that she was started to repeat words would get anyone else to watch their mouths. I had no choice but to give up. It became a problem around age two. The one day we were at the bookstore and she kept running away to climb the ladders. The first time we peeled her off she said "fuck" but not too loudly. The next time, the word was screamed so loudly that literally everyone froze and turned to stare at us. I was so embarrased. After that, I changed my aproach. It was no longer about not getting her to hear it, it was getting her not to say it. Every single time she swore she was punished, and the adults who found it funny were snapped at within her ear shot (I wouldn't normally do that, but I wanted her to know their reactions weren't acceptable either). It has worked like a charm. It took a few weeks and quite a few spoonfuls of hot pepper but she finally gave it up. Almost 5 years later it is still working. She's not shocked by hearing swear words, she is not enticed by secrecy, and she will not say them. She knows that they are words that are for adults only. She has asked me recently to "say a swear word for her" after knocking herself in the head, she just got THE LOOK for that question. May I also add that I never swear TO her, I can't stand hearing that… "Pick up your fucking toys"…really? That's neccessary? I chose not to cuss around my kids for the simple fact that the rest of my family is extreme conservative christian, I want my kids to have a good relationship with the rest of my family, and swearing would become a MAJOR issue with them, not being able to swear in front of my kids is not that big an issue to me. Recently my oldest, (nearly 12)has been hanging out at her friends houses a lot, and yesterday said "That's Fucking Awesome!" about something on TV. That's the first time i've ever heard her swear. She immediately covered her mouth and looked at me like she was now in the worst trouble ever. I laughed a little and told her. "I don't have a problem with swearing, but if you talk like that in front of your grandparents you're old enough to take the brunt of their displeasure." She told me she'd be careful, I haven't heard her swear since then. We also talked about the effect her swearing in front of her sisters would have on them and she decided on her own that it wouldn't be fair of her to possibly make it more difficult for them to not say certain words at school and at home. They are 7 and 9. I LOVE cursing and I don't always censor myself around my 4-year-old son, but I also know there are much better words in the English language than 4-letter ones and I want him to learn those, so I try to choose those more often. More often than not I say "frick" but its dirty alternative makes an eppearance from time to time. He knows that they're not nice words (and reminds me when he hears me say them) and I just tell him that they're grown-up words that aren't nice for little boys to say. But words are just that so I don't want to make a huge deal of it if he lets an occasional "damnit" slip, and I don't jump on people for swearing around him. I do curse around my kids. I try to keep it minimal because I'd like them to realize that in normal everyday circumstances most people try not to curse like a "sailor" or "truck driver" or whatever else sterotype can be put there….but people do curse! If I am infuriated I'm not going to restrict my emotions because I'm around my children. Sometimes, yes, this backfires and my children will repeat what I say. Sometimes, actually, often times, this is not in the best situations. From there, they learn when to say something and when not to. People try and restrict their children from so much. When they're older and in school, guess what? Kids are going to curse. Kids are going to say probably worse than what I will ever say in front of them. The key here is to be able to teach them when it's appropriate to express certain things and when it's not in their best interest. It kind of depends, Have you ever noticed anyone taking offense and some one using correct English or not swearing? How about people taking offense and swearing? If you know people who take offense at others not swearing, then swear around your kids all you want, of pal around with a better class of people. I TOTALLY swear in front of my two 8 year old girls (one biological and one by proxy), and I always have. We are extremely mindful and gentle parents, and we enjoy colorful, creative expletives mostly for the sake of comedy. I often say "There's nothing like the smell of blasphemy in the morning." It's true. What is also true, is that this irreverent approach to language diffuses many tense situations with the kiddos, and it actually gives them some good (yes, good) coping tools. From day one we always spoke to them as we would any other human being. In return, we have these extraordinarily articulate children who comfortably converse with adults in any setting. When child-swearing became an issue at about age 2, we simply explained that when kids swear in front of most people, it "creeps them out." Therefore, if they want to use that language they should do so within designated free zones (such as their rooms and my car). Worked like a charm. We do not allow unkind use of expletives, but when angry they are free to go to a safe zone and cuss the hell out of a stuffed animal. And let me tell you, the compound swear "shart" has abruptly ended more tantrums than I can count. It is funny on such a base level that they can't help but get on the laugh train, and it also makes them feel drawn into the fold–accepted into the adult world of special and reserved words. So I say don't just cuss around your kids; teach them to cuss appropriately, and in private, where no uptight outsiders will be creeped out, encourage them to get creative and swear in new and exciting ways. I SWEAR it will lead to a lot more laughter in your home, and will also empower your children with new wisdom about interpersonal communication. Well i have mixed feelings about profanity. I don't make it a habit but if i'm upset i'm not going to hold my toungue. I don't feel offended when kther people who curse like sailors do what they do, they're simply expressing themselves, i don't view them as any less educated and i think that people who think that are being ignorant. Generally i believe that they are just words, but at the same time curse words tend to make things seem more tense and can change the meaning of a sentence drastically. "what the fuck are you doing?" sounds way more agrwssive from "what are you doing?" i'm 23 and have a 7 year old daughter and i have cursed around her lik in the car when someone cuts me off or if i drop something or watching a movie and yell oh shit lol. One time she dropped her pudding on the floor and yelled out "oh fuck!" and i did talk to her about how thag's not appropriate because although i'm not totally against the topic of profanity, it's still important to be careful when you use it. I don't have a problm with cursing around your kids but i don't think a parent should ever curse AT their kids. I don't cuss too much around my daughter, unless she overhears me in adult conversation. The worst in the past year was saying "shit" when the dog got out of the backyard. BUT her dad cusses like a sailor. There's just no stopping him. He tries to be more aware, but still slips in casual conversation. And you can forget it completely when he gets mad. I feel kinda bad cause at 6 she thinks there are 3 cuss words. The K- S- and F-word. Crap (which I've explained is not, in fact, a cuss word, but inappropriate for kids to say), shit, and fuck. So yeah. Of the three, one's not real and one's the worst. Oh, well. She doesn't say them unless repeating what someone said and that's after I promise she won't get in trouble, lol. I don't think it's that big of a deal, but my mom never cussed around be til I was in my 20's, so I try not to. Of course, my mother didn't stop insisting santa was real until I had my own kiddo, so she may not be the best model, haha. Here is my non parent point of view. I won't cuss around children that appear to be 16 years of age and younger. I feel that children will pick up swearwords on their own based on their environment. It is not my place to corrupt them. If children swear around me that is the business of the folks raising them. I personally find it to be kind of silly when parents try so hard NOT to swear around their kids. I've found that the more kids learn that something is "bad" to do or against the rules, they want to do it more. When they pick up a swear word and repeat it and their parents gasp and say "DON'T SAY THAT!!" they find it fascinating, and they want to say it more, because of the response they get from it. When you go about it casually and don't make a big deal out of it, kids are less likely to find it as cool to repeat. It's just another word. With my little sisters, my mom swore regularly around them, as did the rest of my family because it's always been the norm. When they repeated it, we just ignored it and after a few days they stopped because it was no longer amusing to them. Just another word. They know enough now not to swear, but that wasn't really taught to them-they just know that it's a grown-up thing to do. I plan to be the same around my son. He's only 6 months old right now, so we know we'll have to tone it down a little soon, but it's just not as big of a deal to us as it is to a lot of people I guess. Read more comments 1 2 › Comments are closed.