As practice, I do not swear in front of my children because I believe that $h!t is wrong. They hear enough potty talk on the bus and on television, that I choose to refrain from adding to it. Now around my friends, I use enough foul language to make a sailor blush, so it all evens out.
Okay, I don’t really believe swearing in front of your kids is wrong. I just choose not to… most of the time. I do believe all words serve a purpose and I like to practice thinking before I speak…most of the time. Because on the rare occasion when I do throw in an “inappropriate” word when making a point to them, it packs a power punch like no other. Their eyes light up in sheer horror that I must REALLY be mad to unleash one of the top no no’s on the naughty list. And I can feel the power of the word when it comes out of my mouth. Tall, mighty, dominating, do not mess with Mom right now, words. They are not used by accident. And they are heard.
Like all other words, swears have their place. Sometimes, no other word can get its point across like an F bomb. I know you know what I mean. Other times, swears make a dull story that much funnier. How many stand up comedians are rated G? Anyone you’ve ever heard of? There’s a value there and some people make a living utilizing it.
I work with teenagers, who by the ripe old age of 14 have heard them all. So when the conversation seems to be stuck and I’m trying to relate, I pull out the big guns. Okay, they are not that big, maybe a small, ankle pistol. When I tell you that every time I use a swear in front of a teenager their entire demeanor changes, I am not kidding. They laugh or smile, their shoulders go down and they sit back in their chair a bit. I have crossed the line and invited myself into their underground world of inappropriate. And then the real communication begins.
I run an anger management group for teenage boys. Can you imagine if I didn’t allow swearing or swear with them? We would sit for 45 minutes each week silent. No joke…raw, angry silence.
My point, there is a place and an appropriateness for even the “inappropriate.”
Not too long ago, my 9 year old daughter was watching a political drama with me that was really interesting and educational in a lot of ways. I wanted her to watch it so we could talk about it. However, every other word was a swear. And every time they swore, which was every 15-20 seconds, I felt a pang of guilt and disgust that she was ingesting all these words and their context. But when I looked at her, she seemed totally unfazed. After awhile, I said I thought we needed to turn it off because their choice of words was making me very uncomfortable and I didn’t think she needed to hear them, to which she replied, “It doesn’t bother me, Mommy. I know those words aren’t okay for me to use and I don’t use them. It’s not a big deal.”
Huh, wasn’t that what I wanted her to learn after all? They are words that have a time and place to be heard, but it doesn’t mean they have to be our words or be used at all? And she is choosing not to use them. At least in front of me, perhaps she makes a sailor blush when she’s around her friends. I guess it’s not for me to know.
But she made a good point, and one that sticks with me.
As parents, we get so caught up on what we feel is “right” or “wrong” based on our experiences, which form our opinions. But what’s “right” for me, may not be “right” for you, and it doesn’t deem it “wrong” either. It just Is.
Some parents swear in front of their kids constantly, never giving thought to how their children may respond. And their children may not respond at all. While other parents are horrified at the thought of their little ears being contaminated. What makes one better than the other? I have no idea. Do you?
How lucky we are to be surrounded by so many other opinions and experiences to give us the opportunity to look at something in a way we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And also the ability to embrace what we learn or discard it. Education at its finest.
Hell yeah, mother lovers!
Smooth, I know. I’ll let you choose your own word.