Swearing - Mothering Forums
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Preteens and Teens > Swearing
Oriole's Avatar Oriole 05:17 PM 05-17-2008
DSD (15) swears when she talks to her friends. It bothers me. A lot. It just sounds either bitter or trashy to me, and I wish she'd clean up her language... At the same time, when she tried to talk that way with me, I asked her to stop and she has respected my request. I don't feel right dictating how she should talk to her friends, so here I am looking for some sound advice on "get over it" or "it will pass".

What do you think of it? Do your kids do it? Just with their friends or with you as well? Does it bother you?

Honest opinions are welcome.

UnschoolnMa's Avatar UnschoolnMa 05:26 PM 05-17-2008
Our entire family swears quite a bit and that includes the kids. We do not censor language at all. So that means you're as likely to hear my 14 year old drop the F word as you are me. It doesn't bother me at all.

We've always talked with the kids about time and place, and we've tried to model when it's appropriate to tone it down a bit. We don't deliberately go out of our way to make people uncomfortable or anything.

I don't see swearing as just an adult thing.

Around our house or with friends and some family it's not a problem at all. We get silly with it. Intent matters more to me. We don't swear at each other in anger generally. It's just a casual part of how we talk.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 05:40 PM 05-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Our entire family swears quite a bit and that includes the kids. We do not censor language at all. So that means you're as likely to hear my 14 year old drop the F word as you are me. It doesn't bother me at all.

We've always talked with the kids about time and place, and we've tried to model when it's appropriate to tone it down a bit. We don't deliberately go out of our way to make people uncomfortable or anything.

I don't see swearing as just an adult thing.

Around our house or with friends and some family it's not a problem at all. We get silly with it. Intent matters more to me. We don't swear at each other in anger generally. It's just a casual part of how we talk.
I could have written this. Except for the "have a 14 year old" part.

Language has the power you give it. If you treat specific words as taboo they will be that much more interesting. The fact that your daughter understands that language needs to be situationally dependent is what is important in my opinion. My goal with my kids (bio or high school students) is for them to understand that different people evaluate you based on different criterion. There are many people in the world who will have a lower opinion of your worth/intelligence/social status/whatever if you swear--do you care about their opinion? If it is your boss.... probably yes. I also try to show kids that whereas I think there is nothing wrong with "bad words" that other people are really offended so you should probably try to put forth effort towards not offending people if you want to be polite. (For example: I had a great professor in college whom I thought was just the sweetest lady. She's a nun. I didn't swear in front of her because she earned and deserved my respect and that was something that would bother her.)
BelovedK's Avatar BelovedK 06:23 PM 05-17-2008
ITA that intent is the important part. I also teach DS that if he uses certain words around certain people that it might make them uncomfortable (grandparents, elderly, etc) They can then choose and he has never used the F bomb in front of his granny
DaMajha's Avatar DaMajha 08:29 PM 05-17-2008
I've always cursed, as does my dh. DD16 does NOT curse in front of us. I'm sure she does it with her friends, but she knows that when she is an adult, she is free to speak however she wants, but as a child, don't do it in front of me.
mommy68's Avatar mommy68 09:39 PM 05-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I don't feel right dictating how she should talk to her friends, so here I am looking for some sound advice on "get over it" or "it will pass".
It wouldn't bother me to tell my child not to do it.

How our children talk out in public and around other people when we aren't with them reflects on the parent. I wouldn't tolerate that kind of talk from my children no matter who they are talking to. It's not a good habit to get in to and it looks bad in front of other people.
UnschoolnMa's Avatar UnschoolnMa 10:00 PM 05-17-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
It wouldn't bother me to tell my child not to do it.

How our children talk out in public and around other people when we aren't with them reflects on the parent. I wouldn't tolerate that kind of talk from my children no matter who they are talking to. It's not a good habit to get in to and it looks bad in front of other people.

Some people don't think swearing looks bad, or they care less about whether other people think it does or not.

My kids can swear in front of me or when I am not around. What matters to me is that they think about who, what, and where etc. Also, my kids are their own people with their own decisions to make- especially now that they are young adults and not "little kids'. Sometimes we will agree and sometimes we won't, but I don't think every decision they make is a reflection on me. It's a reflection on them being human.

PoppyMama's Avatar PoppyMama 12:25 AM 05-18-2008
I have never had a no swearing rule (except for hate, stupid and shutup) and my kids very rarely cuss (at least in my presence) but when they do I could care less. I think my lack of caring has caused them to curse less than other kids I hear but that doesn't really matter to me. I does irritate me when my daughter uses "freakin'" because I find fake curse words annoying. We all know what you're saying so why don't you just say it? I would expect a 15 year old to curse when they're with their friends. If what she says around her friends bothers you I would just stop listening.
AlmostAPpropriate's Avatar AlmostAPpropriate 12:39 AM 05-18-2008
I dont worry about how they talk with their friends. I do care how they talk within earshot of adults - for me it's a respect thing. I believe in being considerate. It's not that I necessarily care how others judge me, more like I care how I make others feel. And since swearing isnt intrinsic to who I am, I willingly give it up in the interst of my fellow's feelings.

What does REALLY bug me is when swearing becomes a crutch in language. Like saying "like" or "you know" or "uh". Use them when you need to use them, not just as filler because you cant think of anything else to say.
canadianchick's Avatar canadianchick 02:09 AM 05-18-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Our entire family swears quite a bit and that includes the kids. We do not censor language at all. So that means you're as likely to hear my 14 year old drop the F word as you are me. It doesn't bother me at all.

We've always talked with the kids about time and place, and we've tried to model when it's appropriate to tone it down a bit. We don't deliberately go out of our way to make people uncomfortable or anything.

I don't see swearing as just an adult thing.

Around our house or with friends and some family it's not a problem at all. We get silly with it. Intent matters more to me. We don't swear at each other in anger generally. It's just a casual part of how we talk.
I could not have said it better myself. I swear like a sailor and I figure if swearing is the only thing dd is doing, then I am lucky.
Oriole's Avatar Oriole 10:21 AM 05-18-2008
Thanks everyone.. I feel a bit better.

I enjoy reading everyone's perspective on swearing.
stayinghome's Avatar stayinghome 01:27 PM 05-18-2008
We all swear here too. The kids know when it's ok and not so much to.
Jessy1019's Avatar Jessy1019 12:02 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Our entire family swears quite a bit and that includes the kids. We do not censor language at all. So that means you're as likely to hear my 14 year old drop the F word as you are me. It doesn't bother me at all.

We've always talked with the kids about time and place, and we've tried to model when it's appropriate to tone it down a bit. We don't deliberately go out of our way to make people uncomfortable or anything.

I don't see swearing as just an adult thing.

Around our house or with friends and some family it's not a problem at all. We get silly with it. Intent matters more to me. We don't swear at each other in anger generally. It's just a casual part of how we talk.
Yup, except it's a 5.5 year old here, not a 14 year old. My biggie is the f-bomb, DD's is ass.

The only ones who really seem to care are DP's family, and Rylie understands that they don't like to hear certain words. She very seldom cusses in front of them -- but is flabbergasted that their DD isn't even allowed to say "Oh my gosh!"
Strong Mama's Avatar Strong Mama 12:10 AM 05-19-2008
we dont really swear much around here, but 4yo has started dropping the f bomb on us a few times. 14yo never swears around us, he will use the word bitch occasionally, as a joke to his friends. we dont really care. its not a big deal to us.
Halfasianmomma's Avatar Halfasianmomma 08:25 AM 05-19-2008
DH and DSS swear a lot when together, but we've taught DSS that there's a time and place for that stuff, and he's *never* once been in trouble for swearing at school. His grandparents have requested that he not use profanity in their presence because it bothers them, and he complied quite easily. I think that if you don't make a big deal out of swearing in the home, kids don't get all excited about pulling it out in other places where it might not be so well received.
stardustdawn's Avatar stardustdawn 03:33 PM 05-20-2008
darn it....(insert your own choice of words here!) I just wrote a reply and it disappeared- I hope I can remember what I said....

I am surprised by how many people swear. For me, it's not really a gentle or respectful way to talk to anybody, especially those you care about. It bothers me to hear parents talk like that with their children. It seems like there are better words to communicate.

My children are really uncomfortable with hearing the language that goes on with their peers, and I'm shocked at how the F-bomb is tossed around so flippantly with kids today. I sound like my mother, but I really dislike hearing that coming out of a pretty girls mouth. Is it really necessary? It's like cigarettes, kids try it to seem cool and grown-up. To me it's not either, and it doesn't seem to reflect or represent a person very well, IMHO.

I'm not a perfect innocent sweet thing either- my reputation with my children's friends is that of "The Rock Mom!" however, I find that swearing is just not a great way to express yourself. There are lots of other great vocabulary words!

I wish though that my children could find a sense of peace, since it is so rampant around us. They really feel like it's a slap in the face, and a cut to the heart to hear some of those words. Their father and his new family swear all the time, and when my children asked them to stop, they just thought it would be hilarious to sit at the dinner table and spout off as many words as they could. My children felt hurt and disrespected.

Now I've heard George Carlin's routine, and it's funny and makes sense, but I still can't reconcile swearing as a way to connect with others.

Just IMHO....
back to my hidey-hole

chiromamma's Avatar chiromamma 08:31 PM 05-22-2008
While there are times that a sharp, f*ck perfectly expresses the emotion I am feeling, I see it as a bad habit. Sort of the lowest level of expression I use.
We encourage our family members to use more creative ways to express themselves.
I don't get super bent out of shape. It's just not OK in our house within earshot of adults or little kids. When other kids are over and freely use the term "this sucks" I let them know we don't use that language in the house, particularly in front of my 6yo.
OhDang's Avatar OhDang 08:59 PM 05-22-2008
i dont really like hearing young kids under the age of 13 cussing it just doesn't sound right to me. But after that it's all about time and place.
Maggirayne's Avatar Maggirayne 09:21 PM 05-22-2008

Okay, I was on the main forum page and the title for this thread read:
Swearing
by: OhDang

I don't like cussing. I hate that I say darn.

To me cussing is just not polite. I feel like it makes a person sound and appear uncouth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostAPpropriate View Post
What does REALLY bug me is when swearing becomes a crutch in language. Like saying "like" or "you know" or "uh". Use them when you need to use them, not just as filler because you cant think of anything else to say.
I edited a Tom Clancy book, it was quite interesting the various meanings "D***" takes on. I think you could use much more interesting and descriptive words.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stardustdawn View Post
I am surprised by how many people swear. For me, it's not really a gentle or respectful way to talk to anybody, especially those you care about. It bothers me to hear parents talk like that with their children. It seems like there are better words to communicate.

I sound like my mother, but I really dislike hearing that coming out of a pretty girls mouth. Is it really necessary? It's like cigarettes, kids try it to seem cool and grown-up. To me it's not either, and it doesn't seem to reflect or represent a person very well, IMHO.

however, I find that swearing is just not a great way to express yourself. There are lots of other great vocabulary words!
:
KaraBoo's Avatar KaraBoo 02:52 PM 05-23-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
ITA that intent is the important part. I also teach DS that if he uses certain words around certain people that it might make them uncomfortable (grandparents, elderly, etc) They can then choose and he has never used the F bomb in front of his granny
this. exactly.
operamommy's Avatar operamommy 03:00 PM 05-23-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by stardustdawn View Post
I sound like my mother, but I really dislike hearing that coming out of a pretty girls mouth.

So it's better if it comes out of an ugly girl's mouth? Or a boy's mouth? I *think* I get what you're saying, but the way you've said it is offensive to me. Personally, I would have rather you dropped the f-bomb than make a comment about how you dislike a "pretty girl" cursing.

edit: Just trying to point out that there are HUGE variations as to what people find offensive. To me, saying "oh darn" vs. the "real" swear word is only a difference of a few letters. They both mean the same exact thing.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 04:58 PM 05-23-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggirayne View Post
I edited a Tom Clancy book, it was quite interesting the various meanings "D***" takes on. I think you could use much more interesting and descriptive words.

:
This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Mark Twain
mamabeca's Avatar mamabeca 05:06 PM 05-23-2008
Sam Clemens ROCKS.

ITA that intent is what gives swear words their violence, not the word itself. One can declare war on tangly hair or BO or your neighbors. Very different intents, create a scenario of peace with kids, they will swear as much as they want peacefully. Thing is, if you condone, versus condemn, is it giving credence to using simple words to express complex emotions? I remember an email from eons back about how many different meanings fu@k has to N. Americanos. It was a whole PAGE. So although I cuss, and probably my kids (at least the older one) does too to reflect on poor moods (such as anger, frustration, disapointment, etc.) trying to give them more words to communicate more effectively is probably a good plan.
Cuddlebaby's Avatar Cuddlebaby 05:36 PM 05-23-2008
swearing would not be tolerated in my house. and friends of my kids who swear are also not allowed to be around us. But 'tis not much of a problem as many families around here have that rule.
VegAmanda's Avatar VegAmanda 05:49 PM 05-23-2008
My husband has a much bigger problem with it than I do, and coincidentally has the worst mouth in the house. I'd rather hear a 'f*ck' in fun than a disrespectful non-swear. I just think that if it's this forbidden thing, they'll go out of their way to do it out of earshot.

In the Target checkout line the other day, this tiny kid, maybe 2.5, was looking at the impulse buy stuff while his mom unloaded the cart. He picked a up toy, started to raise it up to show her, and accidentally dropped it. Without missing a beat, he let out a tiny little "Sh*t." She didn't hear him, but I did, and I couldn't help snickering. He looked at me and explained, "Dwopped dat." Um, yeah, I got it.
dhammamama's Avatar dhammamama 12:33 PM 05-26-2008
I don't mind swearing at all, but I think it can pave the way for lazy self expression. Sometimes no other word will do, but many times other plosives do just fine.

Creative cursing is an excellent game. ie-- it doesn't need to be the generic overused curses. You can find equally intense and satisfying, but socially acceptable ways to express those difficult emotions, while increasing one's vocabulary.

I do think it's important to teach time and place and consideration of others when discussing the concept, though. Flexibility, sensitivity and creativity are important traits in adulthood.
mamaduck's Avatar mamaduck 12:02 PM 05-27-2008
I have mixed feelings on this one. I haven't sensored curse words with my own kids, and they pretty much don't use them. My kids are gentle and sensitive (and still young!) and don't even like to use the word "fart." LOL. But I've just spent a year working with troubled teenagers and it has been difficult for me to figure out some reasonable boundaries about this issue.

I am dead set against "directed" swearing. Ie. -- its never okay for anyone (child or adult) to call someone a "b" or to instruct them to "get the "f" out of my face," etc. IMO, this takes cursing to a whole new level and its just not okay for people to degrade each other in this way. If I was hearing this sort of directed profanity from my child with his/her peers -- then I would have some real concerns about it and I would intervene in some fashion.

Aside from that -- its hard to know where to draw a line. I work with kids who using "f'ing" as an adjective to describe every single subject of conversation. Five-six times in a sentence sometimes. It does grate on me. You can eliminate these descriptive words and still have a perfectly understandable conversation. Better yet, you can replace them with better words and have a much more meaningful conversation. In these cases -- I tend to insert a gentle, casual, "Uh -- can you please clean up your language a little bit? My ears just can't take any more." I get eye rolls, but they tone it down. I might also say "Save it for the street," meaning -- "not hear, and not now." Kids need to learn when and where, and they need to practice being professional and civil. I would not interfere if this language were occuring between peers during 'down time' when they are alone -- but I think its very reasonable to ask that it stop when you are within earshot if it bothers you. If you find it disrespectful, then you should express that!

But then there are plenty of times where profanity is used and it doesn't phase me -- to express pain, or strong feelings, or anger -- I would never call a child on profanity in a moment like this, when it is so clearly positive for them to be expressing feelings *at all.* I would not want them to clam up, kwim?

Its just complicated.
chiromamma's Avatar chiromamma 08:13 PM 05-27-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhammamama View Post
I don't mind swearing at all, but I think it can pave the way for lazy self expression. Sometimes no other word will do, but many times other plosives do just fine.

Creative cursing is an excellent game. ie-- it doesn't need to be the generic overused curses. You can find equally intense and satisfying, but socially acceptable ways to express those difficult emotions, while increasing one's vocabulary.

I do think it's important to teach time and place and consideration of others when discussing the concept, though. Flexibility, sensitivity and creativity are important traits in adulthood.
Funny creative curses!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqTHmzMk0Cw
Mamato2and2's Avatar Mamato2and2 09:07 PM 05-27-2008
I'm pretty strict about the use of language around here. My kids hear cussing from friends/family (myself included) but I don't think it's appropriate for them to cuss. When I was a kid my friends and I cussed but we never cussed around other people (grown-ups, little kids) and I think that it is VERY important to teach kids this kind of respect. It just makes me sick when I am walking down the street and teenagers, as well as adults, use the "f" word and I have my little kids around....I just think it is really selfish and disrespectful. Yes, my kids hear that language but they don't need to hear it from strangers in public places---just my opinion.
cjanelles 12:06 AM 05-28-2008
I don't have a problem with kids swearing. It doesn't bother me to overhear them cussing in groups or to each other or even in reference to circumstances they're experiencing or witnessing or whatever.

In my opinion, words are words and they only have the power we give them. I could make any word be ugly, depending on how I spoke it and how I intended it. I could make the word "cake" be hateful, if I worked at it, ya know?

So, in that regard, we have taught our kids that there are no "bad words," only bad intentions. If you speak words with the intention to hurt someone, it doesn't matter if you're cursing or not. I have tried to instill in my kids the idea of being respectful to the sensitivities of others, though. It bothers their grandparents, the idea of the kids cussing, so my kids don't cuss around them. My husband doesn't like it when kids use the more harsh swear words (you know, the "F" word and such), so they don't talk like that around him.

I have talked to my kids at length about the impressions we make on other people based on the language we use and our appearances and our behavior, and I've encouraged them to remember that many people believe it isn't classy or honorable to use crude language. BUT, my kids would never be punished or chastised for using such language, not even if it offended someone else...because honestly, while I hope my kids don't go around deliberately offending people with shocking behavior, another person's sensitivities are not my children's responsibilities...

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject. We've had this conversation many times in my circle of family and friends, LOL.
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