Parents Talk: Should Kids Be Allowed to Curse?

Whether you call it swearing, cussing, cursing or profanity, should it be coming out of a child’s mouth?

A difference in family values could mean the difference in whether a child uses profanity or not in public. But, is cursing really all that bad?

From my experience, cursing in school is usually frowned upon. Although, walk down any crowded hall at many junior and senior high schools and you are likely to hear “those” words float around with ease.

When my kids (now teenagers) were growing up, I was careful not to expose them to swearing—whether it be at home, movies or in public. I knew what would be expected of them in school and I didn’t want to be “that mom” that laughed it off when her kid threw out the “s-word” when their blue crayon broke.

It’s still pretty PG around our house for the most part. However, I’ve always disagreed with the idea that cursing is so awful when it's used to express frustration. To me, as long as words aren’t used to hurt or lash out at others or make others feel bad, what’s the problem?  

Each family has their own set of rules when it comes to parenting. To swear or not to swear is one of those decisions that can vary from household to household.

“Minor swearing in frustration is almost a natural human behavior. Although perhaps inappropriate, it is commonplace in some families,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Quite often, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, swearing during those middle childhood and adolescent years “is almost a developmentally normal behavior” used to shock their parents, impress friends and become part of peer relationships.

We all get frustrated at some point in our lives. Words, in any form, allow people a way of expressing frustration or describing a situation, in my opinion. So, why should the “four letter words” be treated any differently when it comes to kids?

Editor’s note: It’s your turn, readers! How do you feel about kids and swearing? What are the rules in your household? What were the swearing rules when you were going up? Do you remember the first time you swore in front of your parents?

David Haines November 10, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Yelling an expletive when you hit your thumb with a hammer is one thing while dropping the f-bomb every other word is another. I try to teach my kids that the latter shows a lack of creativity in vocabulary and makes you sounds unintelligent because you can't find a better word.
Amy Paddock November 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Kids are going to do it, reminding them not to so that it doesn't become common place in language is a good idea. I see it more with teenagers. It isn't just swearing, it is reminding yourself and your kids to use better language all the way around.
Charles Nelson November 11, 2011 at 02:58 PM
David and Amy make some very good points. I would like to add that it is also a way of teaching discipline. There are many other expressions that can be used in place of "cuss words." And as always, parents set the standard, often parents need to do a bit of self examination and perhaps raise the bar a bit.
Ellen Frigo November 11, 2011 at 03:02 PM
I'm with Charles. Using foul language is just another example of a failure in self-discipline and a culture that has set the bar very low. Unfortunately, a lot of popular culture glamorizes poor choices in language and fails to provide examples of adequate self-control.


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