Swearing in front of kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 10-24-2013, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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So, situation:


I grew up in a home where swearing was against the rules.  I very rarely swear now.  It's just not in me.


Husband grew up on a ranch and later joined the army.  Despite his family being very religious, they all swear and army only increased this in my husband.  He sees swearing as just another set of words, and he also refrains from doing it in company where it would be considered inappropriate.


While I don't consider myself some anti-swearing psycho, I can't help but hold some preference against it.


My question is, with our two differing views on colorful language, how do we approach the attitude in front of our baby?  I would prefer no swearing around her as long as possible.  Husband figures it's who he is.

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#2 of 5 Old 10-25-2013, 06:02 AM
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My feeling about this is, it's a good idea to refrain from swearing when your child is acquiring language, because she'll imitate whatever you say. If you make a mistake, I think it's not a big deal. A toddler swearing in imitation of Daddy is kind of cute. The really important parenting task, to me, is making sure that an older child knows what every single swear word actually means and how people will take it. 


It's hard to learn how people in different contexts hear words.  An older kid using a word that he thinks isn't a big deal but really offends people hasn't been given the tools to know how to behave in public. That's our real job. I swear a lot--I think being on the internet has made it worse. But when my kid picks up a bad word, I generally stop and say, "Do you know what that means? It's kind of gross," or "That really does count as cursing, and might bother someone to hear." He needs that information, in the same way as he needs to know how to make requests with please in front of them. 

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#3 of 5 Old 10-25-2013, 09:25 AM
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"Swearing is just words" just implies that what constitutes swearing is changing.  That has changed over the centuries, and is in the process of changing again.  Instead of "swearing", think "taboo words that offend people".  Our "traditional" sense of what that means has been around for nearly 2 centuries, but it is slowly being replaced by racially charged terms.  The old words are, as you said yourself, merely "colorful".  (And "Zounds!", a contraction of "God's wounds" was once intolerable centuries ago, while the words that we think of now were simply considered blunt.)


Still, even though people are more accepting of the typical "f" "s", etc, and "damn" and "hell" are mild enough for TV, mostly people are less accepting of it in children.  I have no problem with "colorful language" in my kids and do not prohibit them, but I also don't swear a blue streak.  And, in a way, I think having a handful of acceptable "angry words" is helpful to coping with anger and pain and frustration.  But a 5yo Scarface?  No thanks.


So, I don't make a habit of peppering my sentences with profane fillers, but I don't hesitate to swear mightily when necessary.  And by "swear", I mean the "colorful language", and not what has become the new taboo.  I absolutely do not allow that in my house.


I would say that it can be allowed so long as the kids don't follow suit and are able to stop when it's appropriate.  Because I think that's what you really care about, and I would too.

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#4 of 5 Old 10-27-2013, 01:24 PM
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I did not grow up in a swearing household. I believe my parents may be the only  people i know who  i have never heard swear.


I swear from time to time. I learned it at high school. I remember resisting it, but i heard it so much, that i eventually, i said it too.


All of my siblings, except my older brother, have been known to swear from time to time.


I have sworn in front of my children from time to time, when i was very frustrated. Rarely enough. Nonetheless, my 4yo started using the 'f' word after hearing it from me once.


Most people i know swear from time to time and its really no big deal.


I say to my kids-those are adult words, and very ugly.   I hope that if i swear it is rarely, and only if i am very very angry.  But its not appropriate for children to swear.


However, if they swear, i try to ignore them. If i get really fed up, ill let them know. Basically, they dont swear,  and will probably end up like me, swearing from time to time.


In the meantime, i model good english to them 99% of the time, like my parents did me (actually, they modeled it 100% of the time)


I put it in the category of-forgive yourself, you're only human, and dont get too uptight  if your children pick up a swear word or two. They will hear it from tv, or their peers eventually anyway.....

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#5 of 5 Old 10-27-2013, 10:11 PM
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that was our family dynamics too.


i have to admit dd swearing was the cutest thing i heard. but she also picked up that one person does not swear. at 2/3 her swearing was cute. i ignored it. at that age you respond and they do it more. at that age i emphasized more on the intent of the words. the tone of voice. 


dd got its not socially acceptable to swear. so i let her swear softly with me. 


ultimately she got out of it. she at 11 is known to swear at extreme moments but not v. often. 

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