CHILDBIRTH ISN'T THE MIRACLE - SURVIVING PARENTHOOD IS

Sunday, 4 March 2012

When Kids Discover Swearing

When I was a kid, I was at the park with my Dad and he was trying to get me to go home. I didn't want to. As he started to yell at me, I told him to "Fuck Off". Well he certainly dragged me home after that. But the funny thing is that I was about 7 years old and I didn't actually know what it meant. But I knew not to use it again because my Dad threatened to wash my mouth out with soap and, well, I didn't want a slab of Imperial Leather in my chops.
Recently I've had to deal with a bit of swearing from my 8 year old. Which of course means that the 6 year old has been getting in on the act too. They are just starting to get their heads round it and have been testing the waters with such gems as "Blooming heck" (I'm Northern, okay?!) and "Bloody damn it!". I've not been too concerned because, believe it or not, I don't actually swear in front of my kids. Oh don't get me wrong, I am an expert at swearing under my breath and I am super professional at swearing through gritted teeth, but not that they can hear above the TV. This is what has happened recently:

1. My daughter comes home after being out with my husband and says "Mummy, what does ducking slow down mean?"
2. My son is monkeying around not cleaning his teeth and when I start shouting he replies "You're just a fucking Mummy". (Which, by the way, is like my favourite story EVER).
3. The Toddler runs around giving everyone the middle finger because his older siblings have told him that it's "funny".
4. My son is moody after school because he's been calling it "squaring" and his mates have been taking the piss out of him.
5. I'm doing rhyming homework with my daughter and she says "Tit" and "Shit" for rhyming with "Bit".

But, you know what, I'm finding it kind of funny. It's a Rite Of Passage. Hell, I'm even going to write it up in their Red Books and if the Health Visitor says anything, well, she can fuck right off.

19 comments:

  1. I'm a terribly Sweary Mary and it DOES sneak out in front of the kids... I know for many parents, that is Beyond The Pale, but both the Other Half and I have a fairly relaxed approach to "language". The kids know it's not polite, it's not big or clever (except when I do it) and NOT to do it in front of Grandma or at school, so we have some guidelines at least...
    And actually they don't swear much (unless quoting) so perhaps taking the mystique out of it has worked.
    When my son was 7, he asked how to spell "the F word". I said he didn't need to know, as he wouldn't be writing it down anywhere, would he? He protested that he just needed to know if it had a "u" or an "o" in it. I didn't know whether to be alarmed that he was planning to scrawl it in the school toilets, or admire his drive for accuracy.
    YAY for being "just a fucking Mummy"! xxxxxxx

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  2. I love your comment! And LOL at writing on the toilet wall. Xxx

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  3. Swearing to children is just words and if they find they get a reaction (good or bad) they're going to be tempted to do it more. Ignoring is more or less the best way forward I think and when they're old enough perhaps talk about appropriate and inappropriate places to swear, I know my teen knows all the words (mostly from me, I have been known to be a stroppy driver) but he also knows if he uses them at school he'd be in big trouble!

    My toddler hasn't learnt anything too bad as yet, though he did say that daddy is a bugger the other day.

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  4. My kids definitely know swear words. I'm glad to say that they know the words are swearing and they are not to be used, but they still do. Sometimes. And they know if mummy says the F-word, then they have crossed a very fat line and Mummy is not best pleased. Great confession.

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  5. If our baby-to-be is paying any attention in the womb then his first few words would all be asterisk censored in any newspaper. Me and Mrs L both love a good swear and, though I've always managed to turn it off around other people's kids, I'm not sure it'll be an option 24/7.

    Pretty sure my boy will be the one teaching everyone else what are the correct circumstances to shout 'bollocks'.

    They're just words. Great words, but words all the same.

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  6. 9 year old came down to breakfast with "Fuck off Miss Cashmore" writ large in permanent marker across the front of his white school shirt. I had to wrestle him to get it off before we set out for school. It was apparently a protest against sexist treatment by the said Miss Cashmore ("she always blames the boys, and it's not always us!"). Actually I was secretly pleased as Miss C was a Barbie-doll look-alike maths teacher who always had all the dads' tongues hanging out and dragging across the floor of the school hall on parents' evening!

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  7. I have a horrible feeling that my 5-year-old is learning to swear in Polish...

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  8. When our daughter was two, she said yelled Fuck all the way to grandma's house (in the car). We ignored her, hoping that it would stop being Christmas day and all. Well, as soon as we got into grandma's house, not a word did she say.

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  9. That really made me laugh! My now sixteen year old once swore in front of his father and told him that mummy uses those words in the car! When he was about ten we were walking back from town when a bird deposited the contents of its bowels on his head and he said 'that fucking bird just shat on me!". Although trying to keep a straight face I did tell him off and he still only swears in front of me now occasionally when I'm really nagging and he swears under his breath! Sadly society as it is now means swearing is the norm. My little ones don't swear bit they know it exists and hear it at school. When quoting my eight year old says "he said it was f word awful" or "b word" which is quite clever really!

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  10. Brilliant, 'just a fucking mummy', I love it! This is all very poignant as my 6 year old recently used the F-word in front of some very uptight friends and their son. So we are now the dreadful people who have taught their children to say terrible words. Never mind the fact their son constantly beats on, punches & bites our son. Might teach him the 'C' word for future get-togethers with that particular family! (I'm a terrible person, I know).

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  11. I think my daughter's first words were "shit, shit, shit". She was, obviously sworn to secrecy but I'm my own worst enemy!!! We were in a car park and a big lorry had blocked the only way out. I was running out of time to pick up OH from work so and a moment of "shit, shit, shittety, shit". DD hadn't really said very much upto that point so thought I was safe .... Ha!

    Just recently a friend's son (no, really, a friend's son) got caught by his teacher for swearing. Someone was telling him rugby was cancelled to which he replied "oh for f***'s sake, you've got to be joking". J6 teacher was right behind him so, off to headmistress. Anyway he felt so bad by the time he told his mum, all she wanted to tell him was "for f***'s sake, if you're going to swear, don't f****n' get caught" :-)

    They'll all do it sooner or later. Best not give the words any power (keep the laughs in).

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  12. My 4 yr old once got out of bed told his older siblings to shut the fuck up as he was trying to sleep. He then got back into bed and went to sleep. He remembers nothing...
    This weekend my 13 yr old taught him the sign for cunilingus... I could have died. He keeps doing it even after I told him its as bad as a swear word!!!

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  13. My 9-year old knows a fair few swear words and at his age, I would rather he asked me so he could at least get the context right. I was called into school as he had sent the word 'FOCC' from his DS to another kid's DS. The explanation that we are of Italian descent and he happens to like a variety of breads, including Focaccia didn't (understandably) wash. Then my OH was grabbed by the teacher as the 5-year had been on the computers and called one of the poor and innocent Cbeebies characters a 'little fucker'. Now, he does use the word 'sucker' a lot which he has picked up from Ben 10. I explained this to the teacher the very next morning, an admitted that had the word been 'bugger', I would have held my hands up. The following week, the very same teacher sends home a word list for the 5-year old. These include: suck, tuck, duck....well, if that's not asking for it!!! Having said all this, believe it or not, my kids don't swear. The 9-year old is now hearing more and more profanity in the playground and I would at least like him to know the degrees of vulgarity and that such language is not to be used. I, on the other hand, do swear. Far too much (and not in the kids' earshot). I'm possibly verging on therapy!

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  14. Too funny and I wrote a post similar to this in which little man decided swearing was his new favourite pasttime (I blame the parents). Thought might make you laugh: http://honestmum.com/the-f-word/

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  15. I remember hearing my youngest saying the F word when he was playing with his older brother in the garden - they were only about five and seven at the time and neither of them clicked the window was open and I could hear everything. What struck me was how proud he sounded as he said it...

    He wasn't quite so pleased with himself, however, upon seeing me in the doorway ready to tell him off, lol x

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  16. Brilliant post - fucking loved it!

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  17. lol I so understand the 'ducking slow down'. We do that all the time. Mummy didnt say fuck, mummy said duck! Mine picked up words and we had to tell her that it's a bad word. Now everytime we say things like stupid, she'll tell us off!

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  18. I just laughed hard at this post! I have a relaxed attitude to language, ie swear all the time and sing inappropriate rap songs with the kids. I said a new one the other day - prick if you must know, followed by "dont use that in school darling, or say to your teachers" in which my eldest (6) said "Ill just add it to my collection mummy, I know one beginning with f, with c, with sh ...."

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  19. I have been called into my 6 year old sons new school numerous times lately, regarding his swearing. Having read these posts I have got it back into perspective, its a phase most kids will go through. Its best to be ignored and don't make it into a big issue. My sons teacher has made me feel it is a huge problem and he is the first child to ever do it. When I asked her which words where being used she said extrene ones like the'f' and the 'h' word. Congratulations to my boy he has come up with a new swear word beginning with 'h' I can't wait for him to teach me it lol.

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