To curse or NOT to curse.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Star*, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi family,

    I've been seeing more and more new faces (so to speak) and it seems that people in general don't like cursing, or swearing - especially if it comes out of the mouth of your child.

    As parents of difficult child's we have to pick and choose our battles/issues with our children; always doing the parenting ChaCha. Do you think foul language is a battle worth picking with your child? Do you believe that swearing and cursing lead to other bad behaviors; or do you think it's inconsequential?

    Personally? I don't speak like that, I don't care to hear it. I am however human and have been known to utter a few colorful words given an ungrateful situation. As far as using it in my every day language, in public, around children, friends - no. I got an education and enjoy finding alternative methods of expressing myself verbally. But when you have a child with limited coping skills - is this a place you start with?

    I was told in therapy with our son - If he can control his verbal outbursts he can learn to control other things. We were simply instructed to ignore that which we could during tantrums, and state we didn't want/like/need to hear it in everyday speak.

    I believe it is a good and easy starting place IF the parents aren't engaging in the same behaviors. It's not a MAJOR issue, but it's a place to begin.

    Just wondered about your thoughts. Maybe someone struggling can find something in here that will help.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star...I think we were told the same thing about Cory but I think looking back I would have done things differently.

    We let him off too easy with the cussing and now he has a mouth like a sailor and swears every other word. Heck...maybe every word is a cuss word sometimes. It makes me sick.

    Now I have been known to cuss my fair share when Im upset. Im probably not the worlds best example. I definitely dont do it in public unless there is a darn good tootin reason. It took me months and months to feel comfortable enough to use a cuss word around my therapist and she finally had to tell me it was OK to do so because it was limiting my ability to show emotion.

    I was censoring my

    Cory will just blurt anything out...anywhere...and its awful.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I don't want to hear the "biggies" (you know which ones I mean) and I can let most of the little less offensive curse words roll off, especially during a meltdown. However, after the meltdown, we always taken a moment with difficult child and easy child to discuss better ways of expressing themselves. I don't think it's something to get hung up on, but it should be addressed, in my opinion. I used to tell them that if they wouldn't write it in a letter to their gramma, then it shouldn't pass over their lips either. They, of course, rolled their eyes.

    H and I do not ordinarily use foul language, though like Star, I have been known to hurl out an expletive or two. H, who works in construction, slips once in a while and uses a bit more foul language than I do. But we've always been prudent about using foul language around our girls, family, in public, etc.

    The thing that bothers me more than anything else is bad grammer. The hairs on the back of my neck go straight up when I hear anyone I know and love using bad grammer, moreso than foul language! The other day 'someone' in my family was trying to say the word 'broken' but instead said 'breaked'. I almost died. We're all educated! Let's try to sound like it, okay?
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    From the Cricket Contingent:

    My mom taught us that in order to win an arguement, the basic strategy is to display YOUR intelligence and prove that it is superior to your opponent. One cannot achieve this if they have to resort to using foul language as an alternative to intelligent banter.

    That being said: I did 12 years with the nuns. Of course I can curse like a sailor!!! My parents didn't express themselves that way, therefore I choose not to (and I started early in my marriage to my sailor of a husband - the swear jar was on the counter the 1st week we were engaged!!!).

    My issue with my 9 year old is that he's a brilliant child. He looks you clear in the eye BEFORE he goes for the curse. It is so obviously a choice that he's making, that I have to go for it, or I'll have all 3 of them doing it. If it was something that was a habit or impulse, I'd say it was a different matter (but I'd still find a way to correct it - if possible), but my guy does it to go for the skin.

    There are so many things that they have to overcome, the properly spoken arguement should enhance their lives, whether it is to state an objection, defend an opinion or as an expression of their feelings at the time. If it came down to two students/employees/siblings having an arguement and intervention has to come in to play, who would have the most credibility? Clearly the one not swearing and carrying on.

    I agree that we have to pick our battles, but this is one that I really take to heart!

    Good topic!

  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    When she was little, I ignored the cursing -- too many other issues to work on and at least the cursing wasn't dangerous.

    As she got older, I worked on it. She cursed, she was removed from family rooms and had to be in her room.

    Oddly, to me the "big" one isn't the f word. I cannot tolerate using the Lord's name in vain. So, if you say "damn" you better not have another word in front of it. At the every least you'll get a very withering look even if you're a total stranger. If you're my child, you're this side of dead meat. Mine learned very quickly that those two words were never to be said together. Oddly, even at 5 she would curse up a storm and never say that. Same is true today.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My 23 year old daughter who did drugs is a beautiful, feminine Korean girl who swears like a sailor. Every other word...she's aware, but not motivated to talk differently. She didn't swear as a child and me and her father don't swear much, BUT my hub swears as a natural part of his conversation. It has always bothered me a lot, but he is also not motivated to change. Perhaps my 23 year old picked it up from him when she lived with him, and I was certainly in no position to stop her when he did it so much--plus we had bigger issues, such as her legal problems. I have tried to get hub to use different words, but he doesn't seem to think it's a big issue.
    So far my minor children, hub's kids, don't swear. I think they will probably develop bad mouths later on though because of the exposure. I think we can only really change their language if we don't use it otherwise the kids don't buy it. My hub is a good guy, but I sure wish he'd watch what he says :smirk:
  7. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    We don't pick this battle much although I will say something when I hear him. There is no punishment...he'd be punished until he's 40. I hate it though. I don't "think" he does it a whole lot around other adults although I'm not sure, no one has ever complained. The one explanation I really like came from our therapist when I asked him how to encourage difficult child not to swear. He basically said to tell them that when they (or anyone for that matter) swears a lot it means they are much closer to being out of control. It's certainly true for my son and I think he's worked hard over the past 6 months to gain some control over his anger. I'm not sure it works but I do think he hears it and it doesn't make him swear more! He uses the word "gay" a lot too and it makes me completely crazy!!! I don't think at heart he's homophobic but he doesn't seem to get the fact that he sure sounds it!

    I'd love to hear suggestions of things that have worked for people to decrease the swearing and other inappropriate language!
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I just want to add to my comments above that I do think it depends on the child/mini adult.

    My easy child does curse, I know she does because I've inadvertantly heard her and when she's really really upset or in a panic, she will let one slip out. But MOST of the time, she substitutes her curse words with more acceptable terms. From the time she was very little, she just always knew not to say bad words. It was never a problem with her, EVER.

    difficult child, on the other hand, seemed to hone in on the fact that certain words were taboo and went out of her way to say them when she was trying to get my hair up, if you know what I mean. In particular, the "B" word was a favorite of hers for a while, until I literally washed her mouth out with soap - I think she was in grade school and heard it, knew it was bad and was trying it on for size. At first I ignored her, but then I just pulled out the ivory soap and went to town, had to hold her down to get some on her tongue, but it was YEARS before she ever tried that word on for size again in my presence. It just worked - for THAT word. Then a few years later came the others, worser each year. We'd talk about it. I would tell her that those kinds of words made her look real ugly. That she was such a pretty girl and having ugly words coming out of her mouth was not so nice. That also helped for a while, though I know I got a lot of eye rolling from her. Finally, I just told her that if she wanted to use such filthy disgusting words she'd have to do it away from me, not in my house or near any friends or family. She was only allowed to use those words when she was alone with her friends (away from parents generally). Once in a while one will slip out, but she's pretty careful now. Reading her myspace is a real charmer though.

  9. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Hhmmm, great question, Star! To me it would be an arugment worth having because I believe it's a matter of respect. I explained to my difficult child a long time ago that I know there are words that he hears when not with me (bio-dad, school) but they were not to be spoken to me or around me. If he wasn't sure about a word, ask me.

    Thankfully, we've never had a real problem with swearing. I'd like to think it was because I (and husband) have been good role models and not used those words with kids around. I know that difficult child does swear, probably more than I'd like, when he talks with friends. However, he's always been good around me. In fact, difficult child doesn't even talk back to me a whole lot. He's tested it more in the last few years, but it is kept to a minimum.

    I have always made it very clear that I'm not his buddy, I'm his mother, and he will speak to me (and all adults) respectfully, always. JoG, I'm also with you about the grammar!!!
  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My mother always told me I have a mouth like a truck driver and she's right. I swear a lot. I don't sound like someone you'd expect to see on Jerry Springer...I don't talk like that in polite conversation...but they will easily roll off my tongue when I'm passionate (good or bad) about something. And I'm a passionate person.

    My kids have not picked up that habit. My 16 year old son swears from time to time, but not much. I draw the line at swearing when talking to me - as I believe it's about respect - and anything derogatory, as in the 'N' word or the other 'F' word.

    Fortunately, it just doesn't seem to be part of difficult child's vocabulary.

    ETA: I have always corrected grammar. That's the one that really gets to me.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As a couple of other posters have said, it is a matter of respect. You don't use that language in proper company, like with your teacher or your minister. You wouldn't great your bank clerk with, "Hi ***thead". Why would I allow my kids to use it with me? I think it desensitizes what is respectful.

    I don't kid myself that they (not really difficult child because he asks permission to say da** if he is repeating something he heard or saw) will not use it with their friends. But I think it's important to teach your children where and when things are appropriate. I think cursing falls into that category.

  12. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Funny, I guess this was never the battle I chose with any of the kids. I don't allow the big ones. No lord's name, no F or C words. Otherwise around that house or whatever I don't flip out too much unless it gets out of hand. easy child has started using swear words in other languages (oh please lets just use that power for good instead of evil). It was funny the first time she did so she didn't realize I knew the word. Shocked her. We have an agreement that it doesn't happen in public etc but home is sanctuary and you are entitled to talk how you want within reason (like I said above).

    My take on this is I use the language and I try very hard not to be a hypocrit about things. Of course there are lines that have to happen but I try.

  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm in agreement with most others who've posted. I don't use the language at work, meeting others, etc., or even as a habit anywhere. But let me burn my hand on the oven, difficult child get suspended, something valuable to me tear up, yeah a couple of words will be blurted out. I see difficult child doing this now, too, and I do discourage him and say something to him about it- not jokingly- but I can't make a big battle with him, because I'm at fault here in this one.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would certainly take issue if my kids flung those words at ME. They would be very very very sorry and very very very bored for a looooooooooong time. In conversation, I don't think I'd make a big deal out of most words--think I'd draw the line at the big effword. I'm not a big fan of the "SH" word either.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If I had all easy child's perhaps this would be a battle I would fight, but it's not an issue I would ever tackle given the seriousness of some of the other things we have dealt with. I have been called every name in the book. Yes it has hurt, but there were bigger dragons to slay and making an issue over the swearing would do nothing to solve the other problems. If I couldn't control her other behavior how in the world could I control her language.

    I agree that it is a sign of respect not to use that language and my easy child doesn't. This is where I disagree that all kids can be treated the same. We have lowered the bar for difficult child. It has proven not to be a factor in her other behavior, most kids talk that way. I was shocked when I started reading conversations on myspace and IM's to see the vulgarity used. She does not swear in front of other adults, but I have had to remind her to use appropriate language at times, e.g., she often says "I was really p*ssed off".

    I was raised in a home where there was a lot of swearing. I'm not proud of it but my father's blue collar upbriging and limited education allowed me to learn many words at an early age that I wish I hadn't. My New Years resolution is to try to elimiate all curse words from my vocabulary.

    However, I would never tolerate my husband to curse or swear at me, and he hasn't ever.

    Bottom line is it just isn't an issue I would ever press with difficult child. She will learn that to get along in the working world she will have to be mindful of how she talks.

  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This is a great question, Star.

    As Jo said, I do think it depends on the person.

    difficult child gets called out for foul language every time he uses it, but that's because he uses it as a weapon. He doesn't dare swear in front of me because he know's he will not get away with it. Same with husband.

    But...teachers at school, caregivers at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), EAs and community service workers, his sister...he swears and behaves defiantly because he knows it wears people down. So many times he's been thrown out of classes at school for being incredibly mouthy to the teachers, etc., which is exactly what he wants.

    With my difficult child, I find that I can't pick my battles, because he's binary. Rules are either on or their off. If I let little things slide, then he will figure that all bets are off and will start testing every limit ever set for him. So...I keep him on a very tight rein, because he knows one step out of line in any direction will result in clear consequences. It's a small box, but difficult child does so much better and seems happier when the limits are very tight.

  17. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    When easy child was home for Christmas she told me that while she, her dad and difficult child were in the mall difficult child called her an "effenB" really loud in the mall. When easy child told me this she started crying, she was so hurt. I asked what her dad did and she said he just nodded and looked away and rolled his eyes. If I had been there, we immediately would have left, brought difficult child home and then went back out with easy child. At a certain point, they know better.

    Once difficult child screamed at easy child that she "wanted to :censored2: stab her because she was such an effingB". I was home that time and smacked difficult child. She was grounded for a while.

    I like to use baby words such as "Oh fudge!" "Raspberries!" "Sugar!" "Desert Dog" "Meanie!!" "Weenie" and things like that. It's a great temper diffuser as well! Shout that out in the middle of a heated 'discussion' and everyone almost immediately laughs, it's so silly.

    I just don't like the really bad ones and the way the words are said makes a big difference for me. It's the intent behind the words and how it's directed at a person. That is usually what I would react to more than anything.

    My friend's 8 year old aspie daughter sits in the bathroom swearing like a sailor. I can hear her over the phone sometimes just swearing and using sentences with every swear word or phrase you've ever heard (or, sometimes not). Now I know my friend's mouth isn't squeaky clean, but we have no idea where she could have picked up some of the terms/words outside of a porno movie. I mean, it is scary.
  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do not know how or why - but difficult child has never swore in front of me. For some reason she just controls that or is just aware that I would not tolerate it.
    She is disrespectful in other ways, but this one - never.
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    With easy child I would fight the battle hard-there would be big loss of privileges.

    difficult child is sent to his room every time he swears. He hates it and cusses all the way up there which gets him a longer time out but I honestly don't fight the battle more than that at this point because of his instability. by the way, no consequence we have ever tried in regards to his swearing has worked. None!