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mamazee 04-23-2013 12:19 PM

This is a really complex issue for me. I do occasionally let something slip out if I've dropped something or whatever, but I apologize and it is very much an accident. I do not want to. My husband used to swear like crazy but he stopped when we had kids because he also didn't want to do it around the kids and have them pick it up.

Here's the complex part. Different parents seem to have totally different ideas about what is inappropriate as far as language goes. Like I am not bothered by the word "ass" particularly. It's a body part, and not that big of an issue as far as language goes. But, OTOH, sexist language like "slut" or the B word I can't stand and would never use around my kids. And of course I would never tolerate any language that was racist or homophobic or anything along those lines.

I've known parents who banned words like "hate" in their houses, and also who don't allow words like "drat" and "gosh" because they're stand-ins for curse words. I have no problem with the word "hate," although I do redirect my kids to other language when it's used about people. "Hate is a strong feeling to have for a person. Maybe you just don't get along with her?"

We aren't religious people, however, I teach my kids not to use religious curse words because I feel like it's more respectful around religious people to not use that language. I am not concerned about "gosh" or "drat" though.

So I think this is a complex issue and I'm really curious about where other people stand on it.

LLQ1011 04-23-2013 02:05 PM

I am still trying to tackle the not saying really bad words. I'll let you know how I feel about the others once I got that down :)

Viola 04-23-2013 05:28 PM

Yeah, like a sailor, I'd say.  But I have tried tamping it down, and I do try to put a halt to the blaspheming, and I don't tolerate the racist & sexist ones.  My kids, of course, now realize what the "worst" words are to me, and they will call each other those names when they are really angry, because if that's the worst word in the world, they want to express the depth of emotion they feel for their sister by using that.  If I hear it, I have a serious talk with them, but I've only heard it once.

Lazurii 04-23-2013 08:11 PM

I swear a bit around the kids, I try to keep it to "damn" and "hell".  I only use them in anger around the kids.  Once my son told me he was wearing his "damn pants" and I explained to him that "damn" is a word you use when you're very very angry.  I don't feel like forbidding him to use it, but I want my kids to understand the appropriate times to swear if they feel like it.  Sometimes a swear is the perfect way to describe how you're feeling.


Case in point (IMO), a few months ago my daughter (3) was stomping around in a rage because of something her brother (5) did to her.  She was growling and sighing and kept saying, "I so frustrated!  I so frustrated at you, BuggaBoo!"  But that wasn't really getting to the root of her intense feelings, so she went up to him and said, "I pissed off at you!"  And, you know, she was.  And he apologized for what he did.  And she was able to calm down.  And to me that's an entirely appropriate way to swear.

alaskanmomma 04-24-2013 05:15 AM

I try to use stand in cuss words, I have a mouth on me. However, I admit harping on my 4 year old when she uses filler words. I don't do the word hate, much rather hear fuck than hate come out of their mouths..I also don't allow God used in vain, we aren't religious, but I don't like it and find it disrespectful.

I grew up in a home where at 17 I said damn in front of my dad and got grounded for a week -.- I'd never be that extreme, probably wouldn't punish beyond a "don't say that".

alaskanmomma 04-24-2013 05:19 AM

I did have an instance where my dd was 3.5 and she walked in the house before I did.. The dog didn't get put in her cage before we left and had pooped on the floor... I hear from the top of her lungs "Mommmmmmmmmmm, the dog shit all over the carpet!" It was very hard to not laugh much less correct her.

ollyoxenfree 04-24-2013 07:58 AM

Yes. One of my many failings as a parent. 


Oddly enough, my kids don't like it and they don't swear often at all, other than the occasional "damn" or "hell". Since we aren't particularly religious, that doesn't seem to be too significant. 

Matt's Mom in MT 04-24-2013 08:06 AM

Yes, I swear in front of my kids.  I've tried not to, but I have a mouth like a trucker.  Most of the time they are pretty good about not repeating words.  DS2 got into trouble in preschool for telling another kid that he was pissing DS off.  I figure that they are going to curse eventually so they may as well learn from the best.  lol.gif

GISDiva 04-24-2013 08:38 AM

I try not to.  It's more that I don't want to get DS into the habit around other people than me attaching much meaning to the actual word itself (racism and sexism aside, that's another category).  I'd be super embarrassed if he started saying a curse word at school or something when it was me he learned it from!  I do enjoy the creative use of a curse word though, I will admit...


DH is the one that taught him the "f" word by accident though, even though he seems to hold me to a higher standard, before and since then.  eyesroll.gif

mamapigeon 04-24-2013 09:00 AM

Yes, though I've been trying to stop. I'm a nervous driver and things slip out when I can't merge during rush hour or when someone cuts me off. I really DO need to stop because DS picked up dumba** from me and occasionally it pops out of his tiny mouth... It'll be soooo much fun when he says it in public. duh.gif

katie9143 04-24-2013 11:57 AM

I swear in front of but never at my child.  Consequently, I feel like she knows what are "Adult" words and what are kid words.  Her teacher, who knows me well, always seems surprised but admits that Amelia is one of the few in her class that has never "popped off"...go figure.  I have had this convo with many adults (some parents and some not) and we all generally agree from experience that there really is very little if any correlation between how much you swear and how much you did or did not hear adults swearing in your family growing ya...if she doesnt hear it from me she will surely hear it on the school bus!

MissAnthrope 04-24-2013 12:01 PM

We swear in front of the children.  What words are and aren't "cursing" is so arbitrary, I don't see how any particular small set should be off-limits.


We don't use ableist, sexist, racist, or other slurs.  That's different.


I do encourage the children to use absurd curses when possible-- we use a lot of Shakespearean curses (thou spotty cur, thou carbuncle, thou wretched insolent knave, etc.) and a lot of supervillian/mad scientist curses (curse you, ironic timing of the universe!, etc.).  But that's less because I dislike the Lenny Bruce set and more because I think it's fun to play with language that way.  It helps redirect energies into creative outlets, usually quickly leads to giggling, and doesn't hurt our vocabularies, either.

luckiest 04-24-2013 12:06 PM

My rule so far - might change as DS is 2.5 and it isn't really an issue yet - is that hurtful language is forbidden, but I'm neutral on standard curse words.


For example - calling someone a stupid-head would be unacceptable. Dropping something and saying, "Oh, shit!" would be fine. DS does actually occasionally say, "shit" when he drops something, and it isn't something I feel like I need to stop him from saying. Derogatory terms that happen to also be curse words would be off-limits because they are derogatory, not because they are a curse word. 


A caveat - curse words are hurtful to some people, my MIL being one of them. Some people don't like to hear it, and we need to be respectful of that. 

mamakah 04-24-2013 12:08 PM

I swear around DS and allow him to say swear words ( he rarely does) but explain that it's a word he's only allowed to say at home with me and DH and saying it at school or at a friend's house could get him in trouble. No sexist words (bitch, slut, whore, etc.) will ever be tolerated...even when he's thirty, and obviously no racist or homophobic words either. He's discouraged from saying " stupid" and hasn't started saying "hate" yet but I'll probably explain to him what a strong word it is when he does. I know it's controversial to let a 5 yr old swear at home but frankly I don't want to lose credibility with him by making a big deal out of something that I just don't feel is important. I live in a state (Utah) where the majority of people say things like, "Shiz" and "fricken" and "oh my heck" UGH I'd rather hear the real words, especially since the same intention is there either way.

Sphinxy 04-24-2013 12:19 PM

My dad swore around us lots growing up. It's part of his "at-home" vocabulary and my sister and I always knew that it wasn't appropriate in public. I'm guessing he didn't do it as much or at all when we were really little and couldn't understand those distinctions, but from very early on in my memory I remember knowing that curse words were generally taboo and not for kids to say, but that adults could use them in private or familial settings if they wanted to and was it ok. It was just part of my dad's authentic self. Mom swore some, not nearly as much, but not for any particular reason other than it just wasn't her personality. I will add, like other posters, I'm really only talking about those "traditional" curse words, and not anything religious, racial, or homophobic in nature. That was always strictly forbidden.

My DW on the other hand grew up in a house where not only would cursing get her mouth rinsed out with soap, she couldn't even say "darn", "heck", "lousy", "that stinks", etc.

These days DW and I both curse an average amount, in private or close relationships, maybe me a little above average. I observe the general rule of not cursing in public, around strangers or people I don't know well. We also specifically try not to curse when we argue with each other out of respect and to foster a resolution. When the little one arrives we'll probably do what I assume my parents did, hold off on the cursing in their presence as much as possible until they are old enough to understand the appropriate time and place for such things.

mokey4 04-24-2013 12:26 PM

I've never had much of a potty mouth, but I do use curse words on occasion, and I haven't felt any need to hold myself back in front of my children. I use them so rarely. Sometimes when I'm hurt/angry, sometimes just to add emphasis to whatever I'm saying (usually when I'm complaining to DH about something at work, lol). I don't use the really really bad derogatory ones, and I never yell a curse word at a person (only at objects). And I've only ever heard my 4 year old use curse words in rare, but completely appropriate circumstances. One time she was playing with her baby doll and she dropped her on the floor and yelled "OH FUCK!" It was the funniest thing ever, but I was careful not to react because I don't want my kid thinking all she needs to do to get a laugh is to drop an f-bomb. But really I think I have heard her curse maybe twice in the last 6 months, so I don't think we have a problem. I'm more concerned about her use of "poopyhead" and "la la la la la you can't get me" (which she uses to get kids to chase her and then she freaks out and gets scared). Both things she learned at school, not from me (and poopyhead she learned from the rabbi's 3 year old daughter, much to the rabbi's chagrain).


I don't think I have ever heard my 2 year old use a curse word, and the girl is extremely verbal- she speaks clearly in full sentences and has a 3,000 word vocabulary (or something like that, I have no idea I just made that number up).

kimberlychapman 04-24-2013 02:38 PM

Fuck yeah I do.  XD


In our household, words are just words and intent is what matters.  I don't care if my kid stubs her toe and says, "Shit!" but if she ever calls another kid a "poopyhead" and means it, then she's in trouble.


And you know what?  She's seven now and never swears.  She's more likely to hurl a spell name from Harry Potter at you in fury, or just outright growl.  The kids she knows who swear the most are the kids with the strictest parents about it.  The one boy in her class whom she tells me swears all through recess is the one with the mom most likely to flip out over it.  South Park nailed it.


Her school has rules (some ridiculous: we still have not determined what is an acceptable word to refer to the thing on which the children sit because apparently even "bum" and "bottom" aren't acceptable to some teachers) and we respect that other families have different sensitivities so we do have a rule about not swearing outside the house.  Well, for her.  If I stopped swearing it'd be like capping a pressure cooker and I wouldn't be able to maintain my pacifism for long.


And anyway, she's a citizen of the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  And we live in Texas.  Good luck on finding a word for any bodily function that isn't going to offend someone somewhere in her life!

lilmamita 04-24-2013 02:57 PM

Ooooffff.  My partner and I have very dirty mouths....and in two languages to boot.  So I don't know what we will do when the little one comes along.  I can't imagine that either of us will be able to clean up our language too much, particularly early on when we will feel like he can't understand us.  I wasn't too worried about this until my cousin and her 2 year old came to visit and he wouldn't stop saying bitch.  The worst was when he called a waitress bitch after she had been so nice and sweet to him.  We don't say bitch, but there are plenty of other curse words we say that our son may repeat.

In the country we live in curse words are said by everyone including your grandma, but everyone seems to know there are certain situations they are inappropriate in.  I wonder if there is a way to somehow teach that you just use different language depending on the situation.

arlosmama 04-24-2013 03:26 PM

Once I drove over the curb whilst turning a turning a corner, and my then two year old shouts out, "Mom! What dd you f***ing do?!"  We still have a good laugh about it. We swear in front of him, and he rarely uses the words himself. Life's too short to worry about being perfect.

ChooChoo 04-24-2013 04:32 PM

The way I see it, words are just words. It's the way you use them that matters. I would rather my child say, "What the f#ck?" in general than to ever hear him say "You're ugly" to someone. I don't mind swearing as long as it is not negatively directed toward someone. Words should never be used to hurt someone, regardless of the word.

4evermom 04-24-2013 06:30 PM

I rarely curse. Dh does sometimes... I discourage ds from using curse words or using God as an exclamation because it does offend people. When he was young, I explained that if he used those sorts of words at the playground, the other moms might not want him to play with their kids. He did want to play with every kid he met so it was important for him to not shock and alienate them.

I really think people do kids a disservice by using words in front of them when they are too young to understand the ramifications of their repeating them. If you only hang out with a very homogeneous group of like minded people, you can get away with it. But if your child goes to preschool, you are setting them up to get punished. And I think that's a bit mean to put young kids in that situation.

I've had kids be shocked and call it cursing when we say darn. I explain that darn means to mend a hole so that's what we say when there is a problem that needs mending;-) I don't mind substitute curse words in the least and think it is quite good enough that we don't actually curse.

Ds is a tween and has a full vocabulary of curse words. I don't care if he uses the occasional one if there aren't other people around (especially younger cousins who look up to him.) But I remind him he has other, more accurate, word choices. I don't want him being one of those people whose vocabulary has the f word interjected every other word. Nothing sounds stupider to me.

meemee 04-24-2013 06:51 PM

i am not the curser. i do occasionally. but ex is one.


i have never 'watched' my tongue around dd. 


she swore when she was little for the fun of it. 


she rarely swears now.


like pp i worked more on her intent than actual words. 

LRMamaS 04-24-2013 07:08 PM

How do you handle this topic with other parents?  The anti and pro cursing camps are two very disparate parenting choices--once the kids pick up the words, they're bound to repeat them in front of their friends.  And for someone who's very anti, there's a perception of loss of innocence that's hard to reconcile.  But it's so hard to bring something like this up--do you, or do you just suck it up and handle it with your own kids?  

meemee 04-24-2013 07:16 PM

Originally Posted by LRMamaS View Post

-once the kids pick up the words, they're bound to repeat them in front of their friends.  

not necessarily. dd and her best friend cursed around our family but not in public. for some reason they figured out it was not a nice thing to do in public but it was fun doing it around mommies. dd at 3 always asked us what rhymed with luck and she'd get mad if we said the word. 

mamazee 04-24-2013 07:36 PM

I agree that intent matters more than specific words, but I do think that people can be stereotyped and have negative social consequences if it becomes a steady and habitual part of their vocabulary. I say that and at the same time I have friends who swear a lot and it doesn't bother me or cause me to think negatively about them. However I know that there are areas in life where you will be more respected with a different vocabulary. Honestly, I'm wondering if I have to check myself on this and consider if I'm a bit snobbish in this area. I will do a bit of self reflection on this issue.

BibaDiva73 04-24-2013 07:47 PM

Ds swears all the time through regular conversation and at the kids. The 7 yr old swears a lot-- called me a bitch and called his 9 yr old brother a dickhead. I don't use words like that around them, but she grew up in a different culture and country-- the UK, where it was normal to use course language if you were from a working class background. I came from a working class background too, but we were deeply conservative and religious. I consider it disrespectful if your child curses at you.

BibaDiva73 04-24-2013 07:50 PM

Ds swears all the time through regular conversation and at the kids. The 7 yr old swears a lot-- called me a bitch and called his 9 yr old brother a dickhead. I don't use words like that around them, but she grew up in a different culture and country-- the UK, where it was normal to use course language if you were from a working class background. I came from a working class background too, but we were deeply conservative and religious. I consider it disrespectful if your child curses at you. Even now ds and his siblings use swear words to their mother, but I guess she's used to it. My mother would not tolerate it at all...

meemee 04-24-2013 08:01 PM

Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I agree that intent matters more than specific words, but I do think that people can be stereotyped and have negative social consequences if it becomes a steady and habitual part of their vocabulary. 

As a child i was more focused on that dd understood the impact of hurtful words. swearing didnt matter. she swore appropriately but did not swear at people. 


i think there's classiness around swearing too. some swear words are appropriate, and some not. 


its one thing to say shit or fuck when one hammered ones thumb or dropped something, but to call another person names - whether you are 4 or 40 is not ok in my books. to call someone a mother f****** is not something dd grew up hearing. 


i guess we are talking about two things here. swearing and name calling. swearing is ok (i can see in some stiff upper lip social situation where even that is inappropriate, but i havent seen any social class that doesnt do it) name calling at any age is not. 

limabean 04-24-2013 08:18 PM

I swear a lot, but I try not to do it in front of the kids. I don't really swear in anger -- I mostly swear when I'm hanging out with friends, like when DH and I are playing cards with another couple the talk can get pretty raunchy. But it's all in fun. 

cadybh 04-25-2013 03:55 AM

We don't, no.  I have slipped exactly once, when I was driving through a snowstorm and we lost traction and skidded for about 20 feet (I said "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" and DS sweetly asked, "What's the matter, Mama?") - but I feel completely justified, as I was pretty sure we were going to crash into somebody or some thing and I had 3-y-o DS in the car plus was about 6 months pregnant at the time... not a great time for an accident.


DH and I differ on the "other" words, but I think he's coming around.  I really don't want to encourage words like "that sucks" or "I screwed that up" or "shut up" in my house.  My mother raised us not to speak that way and ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY washed our mouths out with soap when we slipped.  Blech.  I do not want us to be that extreme, but at the same time we can all learn and practice expressing our emotions while still being polite, or else we're free to go to a room by ourselves and just let off steam.  

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