The Danger of Swearing Around Children



Me to Bridget (age 9) when I fail as a mother: Honey, I’m sorry I lost it with daddy in front of you today.

Bridget: You mean when you yelled you were sick of his fucking napping all the time while you slave away?

Me: Yes, I did use the F-word and it was very wrong, but I never say that in front of you.

Bridget: That’s the fourth time you’ve said the F-word in front of me.

Me: That’s not accurate.

Bridget: You yelled What the fuck?! at daddy that time at the train station at The Grand Canyon in front of everyone.

Me: Because your father just had to “quickly buy food” before the train left and we almost missed it and it was the only train out of that godforsaken Grand Canyon where hundreds of people die every year, as documented by Over The Edge: Deaths in Grand Canyon, when they get too close to the edge for a photo and the wind knocks them over and they fall five thousand feet. Let’s not mince words, your father almost killed us.

Bridget: And you said the F-word that time you, me and Clare were in the McDonald’s drive-through when you were going to buy us McFlurries and Clare was kind of mopey and you said you were “so fucking tired “of throwing us Harry Potter birthday parties and assembling our Tiny Tykes swing sets and cooking everything without cheese because we hate it, when we couldn’t even be nice to you.

Me: What children don’t like cheese?

Bridget: And then you called me a little fucker when we were on the subway train going from the airport toParis.

Me: I absolutely did not call you a little fucker, I called you a little shit because I thought you told me to “shut up.”

Bridget: But I didn’t tell you to “shut up,” I told you to “stop it” when you were trying to make me laugh when I was tired.

Me: But I thought you said “shut up.”

Bridget: But I said “stop it.”

Me: Well who can hear “stop it” when someone says it so pitiful-quiet after I’m taking them to Paris where they get to eat macaroons and ride on a ferris wheel over the Seine. I mean who can hear that after they haven’t slept on a twelve-hour flight to reach a destination that will make some fucking childhood memories?!

Bridget: That’s five times you’ve said the F-word in front of me.

Me: I consider that entrapment.

(The fucking end.)


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  1. Delilah says

    Tell your kids tough-titties, you are a big person and allowed to swear. I have done my best not to swear in front of my son – husband still does – but it doesn’t always work out. To that end we have had a few discussions stating that those are big people words and he is allowed to say them when he is big, but not now (age 4 etc) because it is just not appropriate for little kids to swear. People get upset about it.

    I have occasionally heard him saying something like ‘bloody hell’ when he is outside by himself (lol), just trying the words out – but he knows that it’s not ok otherwise and doesn’t say the words.

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      • says

        My 11 yr old daughter has heard me say the “Magical F *** ***” so many times that a I think shes almost embarrassed by it that shes afraid to get caught with it coming out of her own mouth. Her advice to me, “Mom if you’re going to change anything about yourself, change that first.” My bliss reality and I can’t get enough of It.

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    • Elizabeth says

      I know parents who tell their kids that swear words are “grown-up” words, so their kids won’t cuss in front of them because they know they will get in trouble. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it at all! A friend of mine swears a lot thinking her daughters know better, but if you see that 11-year-old around her friends, her mouth is FILTHY. I know these kids will hear these words somewhere, but it’s your job as the parent to teach them better ways to express themselves. While you’re at it, you should be learning better ways to express yourself in front of your kids. I admit, there is nothing better than a good “F***!” when you’re really upset, but there isn’t anything wrong with replacing that word with something more appropriate.

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      • Delilah says

        I am actually very articulate and and have a large vocabulary – so does my son. As stated, I do my best not to swear in front of my child – but it’s not big thing and I would prefer if he didn’t swear at all until he is 14 or 15, as long as he knows when it is appropriate and when it is not, that is ok with me.

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      • erma says

        I am a pre-school teacher, and every so often I get a child who’s vocabulary consists of many words that other parents would prefer their child not come home saying. Yet when you talk to mom or dad, he/she didn’t hear them at home, yet you can’t talk to them for five minutes without one of those words coming out of their mouths. I think some parents just don’t realize how often the use those words.

        Had a teacher ( English teacher of course) tell us once that people who swear a lot have a small vocaublar and don’t know how to communicate otherwise. Don’t know if that is true or not.

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        • Rebecca says

          It isn’t true :) I have a very large vocabulary. I’m well educated (I teach high school History/Politics/Ethics). Oh – and I swear. I try to avoid it in inappropriate times.

          Swearing isn’t merely a ‘word’ thing. If you actually do some research (yes, science, psychology studies have been done) you’ll find that people who swear are *typically* more honest, and *often* have a higher IQ. Studies have also associated swearing with being an aggression displacement tool. There are many theories, and I’m not saying any of these ones are true (and of course there are negatives to these studies too) – however for an English teacher (of all teachers!) to tell you that some use of language can indicate a lack of vocabulary… That is sad. Language is language. Why is one word a ‘swear word’, while another is not? The simple fact is that no words are ‘swear’ words. It is our society that deems certain words ‘lesser’, ‘uncouth’, or whatever your designated term is. 150 years ago, what we call ‘curse’ words were in common usage – and NOT curse words – though some words in common usage NOW would have been seen as horrifying then.

          Words change. Societies change. I don’t base the language I use on what a small group of people deem ‘uncouth’. I use language – and I use ALL of it.

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  2. Mikki says

    LMAO!!!! I absolutely love this!!! I swear in front of my kid, and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s just words, and it’s never said in anger, and never said at her. I would rather my kids learn appropriate ways to swear and that words can hurt but don’t have to then to pick up these words on the playground and use them in inappropriate contexts. Your daughter will not grow up to be a criminal because you swore in front of her, I love that you’re handling it all with humour.

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  3. Karla says

    I admit i have a very bad mouth and my husband doesn’t so what ever words my 4 year old daughter learns will be from me. I rather her hear it from my mouth than from other kids on the playground and i don’t think it will hurt her or damage her.

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      • says

        LOL! I can just hear it!

        My son had an unfortunate love of kites when he was a bit younger. He’d see them and start *screaming* KITE! Which was adorable except that the last t was transformed into a k. Because that’s what you want. A 4 year old kid with white blond hair screaming anti-Semitic slurs.

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  4. says

    I love it too….brings back to when I was driving with my almost 8 year old and some asshole cut me off when I was doing 60 on the freeway. My daughter screamed “that person is a b word! Sorry mom but I had to say it because you didn’t.” I couldn’t even be mad…she didn’t say the actual word and she was right lol

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