There are a few red flags that alert you to the type of vocab your kids are slinging when you are not around.
For instance, when I hear “Oh fudge“, I’m pretty sure I have a little curser on my hands. No one uses “fudge” unless it’s a substitution for its more aggressive, satisfyingly-lewd cousin, the f-bomb, or you’re a fudge maker and thus say the word a lot. When an innocent fudge is thrown out, my ears perk up, and an investigation is launched. Perhaps, your kids make it easier on you; and leave a few inappropriate labels from your label maker discarded in the garbage. There is no wiggle room when you see “fuck” printed out in plain black ink.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it), I do not want my kids swearing, however I am at odds with it. Properly swearing as an adult is an art form, or at least that is what we were told. Our dad would point out people who he believed could swear correctly. He felt the curse word should never jolt one or draw too much attention; a person who swore well, could slide in profanities seamlessly, with little effort. They were smooth and often possessed a very rich vocabulary beyond expletives. This conversation usually came up when Leigh would swear, our dad didn’t’ believe she had the gift.
Obviously, perfecting this “art form” is quite a lot for a child to take on. Not unlike the early days of dating, cursing takes some practice, practice which should only commence at a certain age. The question is, if kids are old enough to “date” are they old enough to cuss? A few of my thoughts on the latter:
- I know kids swear with their friends.
- I swore when I was young.
- Sometimes it’s the only option – nothing beats a “shit”, “fuck” or “asshole”.
- Nothing is worse than hearing a little person drop profanities. It’s gauche.
- If an adult hears a kid swearing, a certain amount of judgment and assumption are made against said child.
Numbers four and five are my major concerns, however, I do not want to raise an Eddie Haskell. I somehow have to get the message across to my children that there is a time and a place for swearing. I’m not sure what those are yet…
As an act of diplomacy, Wizz and I confronted all our kids with the labels, even though we both knew who did it. The best part about my label maker coming clean was his defense: “I didn’t mean to print them“, as if the physical copies of the words was the real issue.
I know dealing with kids and swearing is a battle, not a war. I’m prepared to keep the fight alive, at least for a few more year.