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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.)

About the writer

Shannon Bradley-Colleary is a Beauty Maven, Mom Butler and Wife Dominatrix who blogs at TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsBeautiful and is slightly Mustachioed. She's contributed to The Huffington PostThe Today ShowCNNNPR and The Daily MailOnline. She's won BlogHer's Voices-Of-The-Year three years running. You can follow her cruel infamy by subscribing to her newsletter here or following her on Facebook.


Melba 2 years ago

I had grandson, his girlfriend and baby living with me about1=1/2 yrs. Mom liked using the F word, I did not like it, would tell her so and that the little girl 1 day will pick up any word she ever said. Well, I had to make them move. Last week my daughter had granbaby a few days. She will be 2 this month. Well, guess what her 2 new words were. F—- and S—. I wanted to cry I think we might go get little and keep more often and maybe we can help put a stop to that language. Mom is the type that does not like any suggestions. According to my book, she is not a good mother at all. I also told her so.

Amanda Lau 2 years ago

I have been having to re-think names for swear words with my hubby because my 1 year old has started saying “shi shi shi”… can we guess which word she is trying to say?

Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

You made me laugh, hence: you have a new follower. xo

just me 2 years ago

I am so fucking guilty of this!

Love 2 years ago

I swear like it’s my job, and it’s as natural to me as breathing. And I don’t tell my kids that those are “bad” words, but I say that it is adult language, with rules just like other adult things like drinking, driving a car, seeing an R-rated movie, etc.

I also have “safe space” rules, where they know they can say whatever is on their mind, in any language, without fear of consequences, in our designated areas. (Meaning they can rant about their shitty day at school with full permission to throw swear words in there if they feel like it needs it.)

Heather Caputi 2 years ago

Maybe swear more. That way they won’t be able to pinpoint when and where you did it lol

Amanda Hively Chmiel 2 years ago


DontBlameTheKids 2 years ago

Every time my four-year-old says shit or damn or hell, my MIL shoots me the evil eye. I know it’s me. We all know it’s me. I try to tell Lily to keep her damn mouth shut around other people, that swearing will get you into lots and lots of trouble at school, and then I will be in trouble and that’s worse. But like with me, it just slips out.

Bonnie Peirce 2 years ago

I guess from reading comments, I see people find it funny or totally acceptable that they swear around their children. Not that I haven’t. So don’t think me a prude. I also had to work hard at not letting a word fly in front of my kids. Kids learn most everything by our example. I for one am not proud of swearing. I especially don’t find it enchanting to hear any kids swear, especially when I’m teaching in an elementary classroom or on duty in the schoolyard. My grown kids still call me out if I let out a particular swear word. Funny thing is, they rarely swear. And I DO NOT love the f___ing adjective used constantly in conversation at my dinner table….especially at festive times like Christmas Eve or other special occasions. It’s not cool.

Priscilla 2 years ago

LOL. Well, my kid definitely picks up on EVERY SINGLE curseword too.

Mary Ann McDaid Mink 2 years ago

Fuckin hilarious

Susan Howard 2 years ago

We cuss in front of our kids all the time. Baby is too little to know the difference, but our 4 year old knows she isn’t supposed to say “grown up words”. Sometimes she says them on a slip (Like last week when she couldn’t find her “damn” shoes.), but when I ask her what she said she gets this look like she didn’t know she said it out loud and says “nothing!” with a big grin. I can’t lie, it cracks me up. When my kids are older and know when it is appropriate to use such words I will have zero issue with them using them (in moderation, of course). I just want to avoid slip ups in front of Nana at all costs. I am 27 years old and still cannot bring myself to cuss in front of my mother. I think my face turns red just using one in quotation around her.

sammie 2 years ago

I love this post! Hilarious!


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