Swearing Around Your Children. How Much Is Too Much?

Posted on September 3, 2012


Last Friday morning I caught a bus with an angry, frustrated and quite miserable looking thirty-something mother of two boys who might just be about the same age as the Fab 2. As we boarded the bus, the mother quite publicly and might I say rather untastefully shared her opinion about the bus driver with her children, these very words , ” Oh f***, its that a****** bus driver again”. Charming! My brain (which is usually on snooze mode at that hour patiently awaiting its first dose of caffeine) sprang into action taking notice of what had just been said. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have never heard people swearing or never sworn myself but I have serious reservations about swearing around children. Yep! I am one of those mums you abhor at parties because she raises her eyebrow at you for dropping the s-bomb in company under 15. Sigh, I have built quite a reputation for myself for being the swearing nazi. But that’s okay, you can call me whatever you please, so long as you keep those profanities at bay around my children.

I understand that this bubble will not last forever but as long as my children are able to discern between right and wrong, appropriate from inappropriate, I think we are good. And they do, they already do know to a great extent. Their faces light up with joy if I accidentally drop the s*** word, (oh stop smirking will you, trust me it doesn’t happen very often). Fabulous Son 1 or FS1 for everyone else will make it a point of saying, “But Mummy, you said the s-h word!” , only to hear me apologise profusely. Yeah mum, that’s what you get for being cranky last week when I didn’t feel like reading, I’ll bet that’s what FS1 is thinking, internally gloating over my grosss indiscipline.

So lets go back to this lady who inspired today’s story with her rather prolific linguistic skills. As she and her little boys sat down, I was hit with a barrage of expletives, I think there were some sentences in there too but I was too taken with the din of F***,S****,c****etc to notice.The poor children just sat there unfazed by it all as their mother rambled on in swear language how pathetic their life was.

Needless to say, I felt offended.I was offended because my entire otherwise peaceful 40 minute bus ride was marred by this unpleasant experience but much more importantly, I was offended because I too am a parent and I refuse to accept this sort of inappropriate and irresponsible behaviour around children, let alone in public no matter how unfair life has been to us, how  frustrated we are, our children deserve better from us! The lady dosed off for roughly 12 minutes on that painful 40 minute bus ride, as cruel as it sounds, I couldn’t help but wonder if those 12 minutes were some of the more peaceful moments in her children’s lives.

That day upset and to some extent enraged, I asked Mumchic’s Facebook community on their thoughts on the subject of swearing around children. Here is my question :

~Have Your Say Friday~ So I have strong reservations about using swear words around the kids so much that they will now reprimand me and find it quite amusing if even the sh** word accidentally slips out. But I am wondering after observing a mother of two boys swearing away on the bus, what is the general take on this? Do you swear around the kids? I understand that sometimes life is frustrating and it is inevitable but is there a point where you draw the line? Please share your thoughts, your responses will be featured on the blog this weekend :)

And here are some very share worthy responses from our fans.

Penny Marley said, “I try not to swear at all and definitely not in front of children (mine or anybody else’s).” 

According to Huma Khan, “Never around kids……Period !!!…..kids percieve things differently then adults ,meaning in a bigger then what it really is way,harsh words can have a very negative impact on their little minds !”

Jodie Haste said,” I dont swear around my child, and remind anyone else around him not to either. I am, however a private swearer and do swear a bit around my friends etc.”

Jessie Reid added a human angle, “I try not swear but sometimes when very frustrated I drop an S-bomb (I did give up swearing in preparation for children- but then my need for it arrived with them!) my children reprimand me and they know that swearing is only for big people- occasionally it is ok (I say when I slip) because big people have a lot of responsibility like mortgages, bills, children and driving…”. 

Virginia Kop made a reference to days gone and how much things have changed, “There is nothing worse than children swearing with the very bad 4-letter wirds! And they, unfortunately, have learnt it from their parent/s-carers. The main term we used was “tish & ragus”, but the world has changed drastically since the 1965-70’s in lots of unsavoury ways. Swearing isnt wanted or needed at all.”

And lastly, here’s what Peter Hatter thought, ” I swear but the kids don’t and know not to. They hear it all the time everywhere but the importance of them not following suit can’t be overemphasised”

Thankyou for your valuable contributions!

Over to you. What are your thoughts on swearing around your children ? Are you a swearing nazi like me or do you slip up often? How much is too much?

Image Source : http://www.canadianfamily.ca/2012/06/oh-sh-do-you-swear-in-front-of-the-kids/

Posted in: Musings