Saturday 27 August 2011

A blue streak

Yesterday's post and comments got me thinking about swearing and my kids.

When I grew up my mum wasn't really a swearer, but my dad never censored himself, always enjoying a good expletive to express himself. I have a memory of my younger brother counting the swear words that came from my dad during a car trip, just for a bit of hilarity.

I don't think this ever effected me negatively. It was just something my dad was allowed to do, but I wasn't – like drive the car or drink beer.

Now with my own kids, it's a kind of similar situation. Skip doesn't censor himself, I let fly occasionally and the kids understand it's something that grown ups say and they can't. Swearing is definitely more common place now than it was when I was a kid. TV shows and music have far more swearing than they once did. It's hard to protect kids against it.

We also let our kids get away with 'toilet' humour at home as well. Mainly because I'm a complete juvenile and find it funny, but the kids are aware it's something they can do at home and not at preschool or other people's houses. Also, it's not allowed to be used in an agressive way toward anyone else.

Each family is different, I know. The family who was shocked by the use of 'damn it' that I mentioned, there was another playdate we went on recently and Goosey got upset at toy she was playing with I think she then said it was 'stupid'. The other mother gasped and said: "Did she say the s-word?" I assured her no, she didn't she just said stupid. The reply came: "That's the s-word in our house". I was a little surprised. I wouldn't like the girls to call each other or anyone else stupid, but I probably wouldn't (didn't) notice if they said it to an inanimate object.

It's kind of interesting the limits and the values that different people put on language. There's never a right or wrong, it's just interesting.

I have had an issue with the girls using the word 'hate'. They've started saying they hate me or they hate each other and they've been quickly told: "You can be angry, upset or frustrated with me. That's fine. I just don't want to hear you say that you hate anyone. How would you feel if I said told you I hated you?"

How do you feel about swearing? Are there taboo words in your house?


  1. We're Irish.
    Enough said!!
    I used to be embarassed by my Dad's swearing when I was younger.
    When we moved to Australia I tried to school him on the inappropriateness of a few of his more choice words.
    He tried to stop me from acquiring an Aussie accent.
    Epic fail for both of us.
    Swearing does sound less vulgar with an accent I believe!

    I try to hold my tongue, but sometimes hear the words escape before I can filter them!
    A glass of bubbles or two usually lifts all filters entirely!

    'Hate' is the devil's word here too.

  2. I'm hearing you. Friends of ours told our kids that "stupid" is a swear word. I told them it's not. I said it wasn't really nice to call someone stupid but it's not a swear word - our friends were upset that I corrected them but for goodness sakes, that's misleading them a bit isn't it! I have banned the word "annoying" cos they are always saying "so and so is annoying me" and it started to annoy me!! but it aint no swear word!!
    Good for you, I agree wholheartedly with everything you said!

  3. Mr Black is a swearer. Like...there is no filter. Yep even the c-word.
    I am an avid hater of the c-word. The rest I can put up with but not the c-word.
    That being said I have been known to swear in front of the kids. It happens. Especially when you live with a swearer and hear it all the time.
    I think i'm like you though. I try not to but it happens and i'm not about to draw attention to it by making a huge deal, chances are the kids may not have heard it. Especially as it's all over the TV and radio's. Yes even early evenings, which really saddens me.
    I heard my parents swear, and I still knew at a young age not to swear.
    We have words or phrases that are banned. Like saying "I want" that's a big no no here. Just because I hate that it makes them sound spoilt. My kids are yet to say they hate one another, I don't think i'd allow that, but I would allow them to express not liking doing something or a situation with that word.
    This being said i've raised eyebrows at what they are allowed to say. Like "Bogan" i'm cool with them chucking that around in fun. Greenie always departs my sister with a "Peace out with your crease out." And we tease one another after races or games with "You're the loser!" It's all things that are in good fun, and said in our immediate family or closest friends. Bluey seems to understand that it stops there. happens. I wouldn't worry too much. Some people it may upset, but in the end they're raising their kids and you're raising yours.

  4. Max is only 9 months, so we've yet to enter the land of filtering our vocab.

    If my husband is watching footy, and his team is losing, well honestly ... Its on for young & old!

    I don't want Max to speak too colorfully, but then my god, too conservative is dull too. 'damn'?!?!

    Really? ...

    Playdates sound excruciating! I hate the awkwardness of forced friendship.

    Good luck in your new adventure :) xx

  5. I'm pretty much along the same lines as you Corinne. Hubby and I do try to watch our p's and q's around the boys, but the truth is we both swear and fairly regularly too. Our Mr3 knows which words are bad words and that he is not allowed to say and at this stage he doesn't. I make a point of telling him I've said the wrong thing if I use one of the serious swear words, but damn or bloody, I don't see as one of those words. He's actually only dropped the f bomb once and it was kind of funny because it wasn't directed at anyone. Mind you, we did enforce that it was unacceptable and he hasn't said it since. I totally agree, we don't use the hate word either, because I was always taught not to use it as a child also and it's just plain nasty. I think some people get a bit too precious about swearing actually. I don't like to hear it as every second word and I can't stand it when it's abusive, but in context or out of frustration, I'm cool with it xo

  6. I love this post. We parent language the exact same way as you. I actually cuss like a sailor and have less filter than my husband. But he lets them fly too more often than not.
    The kids have just always known, as you said, that it is something they cannot say but adults can.
    Ironically, stupid is not a "bad" word, but my daughter has been taught outside the home that "shut up" is.
    And that I cannot understand.
    Sometimes people just need to shut the hell up! ;)

  7. I've been thinking more and more about this same issue lately, have even written a few blog posts in my mind, but never quite got them out there.

    I'm a swearer, nothing over the top, but I definitely let the fook and shite fly. I've even been known to say ..... the c word! It's snuck into my repertoire in the last year and I've really been trying to shake it. Imagine, a mother and a school teacher saying such things!! Only to myself, in private, when really heavy things land on my toes, or some such. But still. Well I never!

    Lately Pebble has been in parrot mode, at 19 months her vocabulary is exploding and I need to start thinking about how we're going to proceed with the swearing issue in our house.

    I love that at school the children will often say (dob) that so-and-so said a "swear" word. When I ask which one that say "the s word".

    You know what the S word is?


    Stupid is a swear word at school. As it should be.


Thank you so much for your comments! I'm always thrilled to hear from you.

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