My kids swear. What of it?

Before we had children David and I had many deep, philosophical discussion about how we wanted to raise our kids. Many of them have since fallen my the wayside (our kids are now 2 and 4), and many of them have come to fruition.

One of them was about swearing. I was a firm believer that (with the exception of really hurtful of mean comments) our kids should be able to speak without fear or censorship in their own home. After all, who am I to dictate how they think or feel? If they are saying words that I wholeheartedly agree are inappropriate or harmful I would rather explain to them why that word is inappropriate and harmful instead of just forbidding their existence.

But then I had a child who was a complete freak of nature in terms of verbal development.

Yep, Verona was that weird kid speaking in complete sentences at 18 months, including telling the pillars of the church that our dog Barney was an asshole.

And I didn’t know what to do.

I still thought children should be allowed to be honest about how they felt in their own homes regardless of the language… but I also thought words like this would become an issue long after I could properly explain to said child the very complex idea that some words are appropriate in certain contexts (at home, with peers who feel the same way as you, etc) while simultaneously NOT be appropriate in other contexts (at grandma’s house, at church, in front of strangers in the grocery store, anywhere it may make someone feel comfortable, etc).

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Ok y’all, truth time. My friend Brittney suggested that I write a post about kids swearing so I started writing the above post about how rarely my kids actually swear since I don’t care when they do… or something….

And while that is true, they don’t swear very often at all, (not nearly as much as I do at least) and I’m sure that’s partially because we’ve never made a big deal out of it… they do swear. And as much as I want to have some lofty explanation as to why that’s ok or why it will serve them in the long run or whatever I’m not going to.

Because honestly? I just don’t care. I don’t care if they say damn it when they drop their toast, I don’t care if they ask where the hell something is when they’re frustrated they can’t find a toy, and I don’t care if they tell Barney to stop being an asshole.

Because sometimes our dog Barney really is an asshole… he is. He’s one of the asshole-i-est dogs that I know.

If my kids call their friend a bitch in anger I’ll be upset (but I’d probably be just as upset if they called them a poopy head in anger). If my kids drop the F bomb (by which I mean “fag”, not “fuck”) I will absolutely immediately step in and explain why the word they use just used is complete inappropriate and unacceptable.

But when one of my kids yells are Barney the dog to stop being an asshole? Well, Barney was probably being as asshole and he should stop.

There’s worse things than my kids being able to call it like they see it.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Karen Lee says:

    I totally agree! I think there’s a huge difference between swearing as an expression of what the hell we’re feeling, versus swearing at a person. And like you say, it’s not really the choice of words that that issue then, it’s the way they’re treating the other person.

    I have stepped in a couple of times with my kids when they’ve used a word that I think is particularly offensive to a group of people. In my case, it was “retard”. I think we do our kids a disservice if we don’t help them understand that some of those words are really derogatory. It doesn’t mean they need punishment or belitting. Just info. 🙂

    Interestingly, we haven’t made an issue out of swearing here either, and while the two older teens swear quite a lot, the younger two don’t, and my youngest (11) is particularly sensitive to “swear words”. The other day, she wanted to hire a video game that ended up having some swearing in it. I was out at the shops and she messaged me to let me know and ask if I didn’t want her to play it. 😉

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