Foul-mouthed mommy
Bugger! I swore again. Sally-Jane Cameron confesses to the odd slip.
(Getty Images)
Last week my mother told me off for swearing in front of my kids, not something that I do often but it happens. While I understand that it is hard for her not to mother me, it is equally hard at 32, to be told off. It makes me want to react like a rebellious teenager, but that is a topic for another day.

I started thinking about swearing and kids, I did not want to just throw the baby out with the bath water, because I was so annoyed with my mother. I asked on Twitter and it seems that I am not alone in slipping up in this regard. Most people seemed to feel that it was always inappropriate and something to be avoided at all costs. Some quite piously saying they never did it.

Then my aunt replied on Twitter and said something interesting. She first said that she swears “often and enthusiastically” in front of her kids. She was joking. Well a little anyway. Then she said she found it better to teach them when it was appropriate to use swearwords and when not.

The first rule was never in front of Granny. Seems like I might need to teach that rule quickly, because Rachel saying ‘Bugger!’ during a board game with my mom, did not go down that well.

Swearing is just part of language

Now I realize that swearing in front of them is far from ideal and that if I was a perfect mother I would never swear at all. Truth be told, I am far from the picture of a perfect mom, but I am a real mom. I am one that gets stressed or stubs my toe, and these words just hop out of my mouth before I think: ‘Oops maybe that was not most appropriate word.’

I love words and I think that the English language is so full of beautiful words. Many people will say that swearing is a sign of laziness and that the person does not have the mental ability to think more creatively. I disagree; it is just part of language.

Maybe what we should teach is when and how to use it rather than a blanket ban? They will hear swearwords regardless of whether we as parents refrain, and they will use them at some point.

Could we not better prepare them by talking about the response using such words may get you in different situations, and teaching them the skills of being discerning and judging what is acceptable in the context?

It is obviously something kids will get wrong at times and say the wrong thing in front of the wrong people, but if it is used as a platform for instruction rather than just condemnation I think it could prove more beneficial to them.

I am sure that many will disagree with me, what do you think?


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