"Kids and Profanity"

Posted: Updated:

Beth

It’s hard to avoid kids hearing swear words.  Even cartoons meant for young kids have words like stupid, idiot, etc.  What is acceptable to watch…which words are ok to say and which are not? Well, I have two 4 different age groups in my house, so it varies a little bit. The girls are allowed to watch things that are PG-13 and possible even R if I have seen it before. I’m not too worried about them hearing bad words, because they know they are unacceptable. The little boys are a different story. My sons are 9 and 5 and they are not allowed to watch anything with bad words. I understand that they do hear them every once in a while, but they are more apt to actually say them if they hear them too much. I tell my kids all the time that “stupid”, “shut up”, “idiot”, etc. are all bad words and won’t be tolerated.
 
What are the repercussions of swearing or using offensive language?  How do you get your kids to understand the impact of using these words? They will get the typical punishments that they would get for misbehaving, like losing privileges or being grounded. I try to make sure they understand how trashy and gross swearing sounds like and that they’re just making themselves look bad.
 
How do you handle it if they hear you slip up and swear around them…or do you swear around your kids? I always apologize and try not to do it again. I’m human though, so occasionally they will hear a swear word if I’m on the phone or something. If they do hear it from me, I always get in trouble from them too. My kids do not want to hear their parents swearing.

Suzy

This topic can be a very difficult one to handle for parents. Everyone has a different thought about certain words. Whether it be the word stupid, shut up, crap, sucks and so on. As children start going to school you will find that your children have obtained a new vocabulary that normally may not fly in your house or perhaps the one I dealt with this year from my smallest one, the middle finger. YES! Kindergarten children teaching my daughter how to put up the middle finger!!! Thank God she told me before she actually showed me. I couldn't believe it. I had to sit down with her and her sister and have a whole conversation as to why that's naughty. They were laughing, which of course made me upset! But I have to remember their age and at that age I thought things were funny to. We also then started discussing words and what's ok and what's not. Now with my older children, being 16 & 17, well the language mostly from my 17 yr old has definitely become an issue. My son may slip once in awhile, but overall is very respectful and does not cuss, well at least in front of me or his elders...I'll take it! My 17 yr old and I have very different views. I have to remind her constantly that I am the parent, not your friend. You do not talk like that in my house or around your siblings. It's a constant argument. Then there's the issue of being a divorced parent and the difference in rules and what each parent thinks is right and wrong. That has become very frustrating at times as well. The sad thing is, is that these days EVERYTHING starts at a very early age. I think society has changed tremendously and I myself, don't foresee it getting any better. So, as parents, all we can do is try our best to raise our children with the best values we can and hope that they lead by example.