3 Important Things To Tell Kids About Cursing

What was your initial reaction when you first heard your kids curse? Did you?:

a. Rock yourself back and forth while sucking your thumb in that little dark corner of your house

b. Vomit and cry at the same time

c. Do a mean act of self-combustion

d. Kick your kid on his leg ever so lightly then scream "This...is...Sparta!" Complete with engorged neck veins, red eyes, and drool.

e. All of the above

I didn't do any of those. Why? 'cause I never heard my boys curse...ever, but I have a strong feeling that they do it behind my back. Hopefully, not addressed to me.

Since the beginning of time, I've been resigned to the fact that cursing is normal. Deny it all you like but the hard truth is that your little hunny bunny will curse someday whether you like it or not. They hear it everywhere, from anybody. Even those television shows that we parents used to think are extremely safe for kids to watch blurt out subtle curses every now and then. Case in point - Cartoon Network. They have all sorts of euphemisms for profanities.

There are numerous reasons on why we dot it. For us adults, cursing is a form of anger management. It's our way of releasing some steam. When I'm driving on a fine sunny day singing to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World then suddenly gets cut by a maniac, my mouth goes on hypersonic mode. If I don't do that, I'd ram my car into the psycho's while doing an evil laugh and I, as well as my car insurance company, wouldn't want that.

Kids are basically the same. They do it to express their anger because that's what they see some adults do. Most of them just want to see how it feels like to say it and how adults would react if they do. It's different for teenagers though. Majority of them cuss because they think it's a sure sign of coolness.

As adults, we are quick to say "that's bad!" or "you're bad" to kids when we hear such vulgarities. What we fail to realize is that inside the kid's mind he/she's thinking "well, you're bad too 'coz I heard it from you". If you  follow this with because-I-can-and-you-can't-period statement, bid your moral ascendancy goodbye. 

I know a couple of strait laced, highly prissy people who would rather get rectal cancer than curse. They are the rare few. God bless them. They can be up for canonization in about 45 years, less if they can get a connection inside. They are what society would revere as "model parents". But not everyone's built that way. I'm not (FYI: I very rarely curse in front of my kids and if I slip, I slap myself and apologize). Since I'm not born with a glowing halo, I teach my kids some much needed pointers about cursing.

1 - Call of Nature: Just like I stated above, cursing is a natural thing. If you keep repeating and forcing your child not to swear without an appropriate explanation chances are they will do it over and over again. It is human nature. We desire most those that we can not do or have. Think Eve and the juicy apple.

Let's pause for a second. I'll give you some time to put your eyebrow down. I'm not breeding potty mouths here. I'm actually doing the opposite.

Alright, let's get back on this very important - higher than the KimYe issue but lower than gas price hike- topic. 

2 - Age Appropriate: "When can I curse?", my eldest son asked. So, when? Yes you. I'm kindly asking you when my son can curse. 

Fine, I'm gonna answer this one first the best way possible while you brainstorm with your family. I told my son that he can curse when he has achieved the stature of Kim Ung Yonga or has won a Nobel Prize. You can get a pass in cursing when you've done one or better yet both. People would still regard your cursing as highly intellectual.

Nah, that's not what I told him of course.  I first explained to him why it's an abomination for kids to cuss. It is highly inappropriate for kids to swear because we adults see kids with so much innocence and by being such, we can not fathom the idea that they are tainted with peccancy. For us parents, hearing our children curse is more of a feeling of failure and shame.

For argument's sake, I told my son that the society as a whole is a little bit more tolerant of cussing when a person's in the early adulthood stage (21-35 y/o). Personally, I think that there's really no right age. It's more about the W's of cursing than anything else.

3 - The W's of Cursing: Since I'm aware that cursing is inevitable (but avoidable), I taught my kids the W's of cursing.

Why - valid (legally if you prefer) reason for cursing

When - the right place, time, and age to say it

Who - the deserving one

Explanation is key. I carefully and patiently explained all the things that I can cover about cursing to my kids even before they asked me what s*#t means. I strongly think that, that helped feed their curiosity and lessen the fascination about swearing that's why they don't say such words.

We parents can only do so much. We can explain and instill enough values to our children and just hope for the best. And remember, when you slam the drawer door on your unknowing finger saying "ouch" will never be enough...for me atleast.

P.S. I've always wondered how monks - who have taken a quasi vow of silence - would react to such a painful surprise (door slamming on finger). Just curious.

What was your initial reaction when you first heard your kids curse? Did you?:

a. Rock yourself back and forth while sucking your thumb in that little dark corner of your house

b. Vomit and cry at the same time

c. Do a mean act of self-combustion

d. Kick your kid on his leg ever so lightly then scream "This...is...Sparta!" Complete with engorged neck veins, red eyes, and drool.

e. All of the above

I didn't do any of those. Why? 'cause I never heard my boys curse...ever, but I have a strong feeling that they do it behind my back. Hopefully, not addressed to me.

Since the beginning of time, I've been resigned to the fact that cursing is normal. Deny it all you like but the hard truth is that your little hunny bunny will curse someday whether you like it or not. They hear it everywhere, from anybody. Even those television shows that we parents used to think are extremely safe for kids to watch blurt out subtle curses every now and then. Case in point - Cartoon Network. They have all sorts of euphemisms for profanities.

There are numerous reasons on why we dot it. For us adults, cursing is a form of anger management. It's our way of releasing some steam. When I'm driving on a fine sunny day singing to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World then suddenly gets cut by a maniac, my mouth goes on hypersonic mode. If I don't do that, I'd ram my car into the psycho's while doing an evil laugh and I, as well as my car insurance company, wouldn't want that.

Kids are basically the same. They do it to express their anger because that's what they see some adults do. Most of them just want to see how it feels like to say it and how adults would react if they do. It's different for teenagers though. Majority of them cuss because they think it's a sure sign of coolness.

As adults, we are quick to say "that's bad!" or "you're bad" to kids when we hear such vulgarities. What we fail to realize is that inside the kid's mind he/she's thinking "well, you're bad too 'coz I heard it from you". If you  follow this with because-I-can-and-you-can't-period statement, bid your moral ascendancy goodbye. 

I know a couple of strait laced, highly prissy people who would rather get rectal cancer than curse. They are the rare few. God bless them. They can be up for canonization in about 45 years, less if they can get a connection inside. They are what society would revere as "model parents". But not everyone's built that way. I'm not (FYI: I very rarely curse in front of my kids and if I slip, I slap myself and apologize). Since I'm not born with a glowing halo, I teach my kids some much needed pointers about cursing.

1 - Call of Nature: Just like I stated above, cursing is a natural thing. If you keep repeating and forcing your child not to swear without an appropriate explanation chances are they will do it over and over again. It is human nature. We desire most those that we can not do or have. Think Eve and the juicy apple.

Let's pause for a second. I'll give you some time to put your eyebrow down. I'm not breeding potty mouths here. I'm actually doing the opposite.

Alright, let's get back on this very important - higher than the KimYe issue but lower than gas price hike- topic. 

2 - Age Appropriate: "When can I curse?", my eldest son asked. So, when? Yes you. I'm kindly asking you when my son can curse. 

Fine, I'm gonna answer this one first the best way possible while you brainstorm with your family. I told my son that he can curse when he has achieved the stature of Kim Ung Yonga or has won a Nobel Prize. You can get a pass in cursing when you've done one or better yet both. People would still regard your cursing as highly intellectual.

Nah, that's not what I told him of course.  I first explained to him why it's an abomination for kids to cuss. It is highly inappropriate for kids to swear because we adults see kids with so much innocence and by being such, we can not fathom the idea that they are tainted with peccancy. For us parents, hearing our children curse is more of a feeling of failure and shame.

For argument's sake, I told my son that the society as a whole is a little bit more tolerant of cussing when a person's in the early adulthood stage (21-35 y/o). Personally, I think that there's really no right age. It's more about the W's of cursing than anything else.

3 - The W's of Cursing: Since I'm aware that cursing is inevitable (but avoidable), I taught my kids the W's of cursing.

Why - valid (legally if you prefer) reason for cursing

When - the right place, time, and age to say it

Who - the deserving one

Explanation is key. I carefully and patiently explained all the things that I can cover about cursing to my kids even before they asked me what s*#t means. I strongly think that, that helped feed their curiosity and lessen the fascination about swearing that's why they don't say such words.

We parents can only do so much. We can explain and instill enough values to our children and just hope for the best. And remember, when you slam the drawer door on your unknowing finger saying "ouch" will never be enough...for me atleast.

P.S. I've always wondered how monks - who have taken a quasi vow of silence - would react to such a painful surprise (door slamming on finger). Just curious.

The Mommist

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Comment by The Mommist on June 12, 2012 at 10:34pm
Lol! It is clever and cute! I'm gonna add that to my vocabulary. :) Kudos to your mom! I like big families. I think it's fun to grow up in a big family. Lots of adventures and memories. :)
Comment by Sue Pekarek on June 12, 2012 at 2:11pm

Coming from a family of 10, I remember my Mom helping my 3 little sisters (all a year apart) one day with swearing.  She had them make up a better word to use.  While this is still swearing, I thought at the time it was kinda clever, cute.  They made up a word to use instead which was "Piss ant."  That is a common slang kinda swear these days, but back then I had not ever heard it.    

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