Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your kids are a bad influence on mine

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  • This topic has 29 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by avatarbrise.
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  • #1009126 Reply

    I clearly remember swearing regularly in front of my parents around age 8-10, until one day my mom got annoyed with me enough to yell at me, at which point I stopped until I was 13 or 14 or so. My parents never really made any effort to hide swearing, but my parents are pretty atypical.

    #1009142 Reply

    I remember sleeping over at my friend’s around that age, and her dad yelled something about who ate all the popsicles and dropped an F bomb. I remember being shocked about that because my parents didn’t swear, but I knew what the word was and probably used it. Older kids, movies, etc. Hell, my friend probably used it because her dad did.

    #1009288 Reply

    I’m not in the US, but I find the attitudes to swearing in the US and Europe to be very different. I think it’s downright weird that a movie can be R-rated just because there’s swearing in it, if it without that would be a PG-13 at most.

    Swearing happens. I have no doubt my 11-year-old knows a lot of swears, goodness knows, I use them occasionally myself. There’s some scientific evidence that shows that letting out a curse if you hurt yourself, like stub your toe, makes the pain feel less severe, and the more taboo the curse word is, the more it helps, but only if you don’t lubricate all your sentences with four-letter words. Excessive swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary, but I think parents who pretend their kids don’t know swear words or imagine they somehow can prevent them from hearing any curse words until they grow up are deluding themselves. Walk past any school yard during recess and you’ll hear stuff you wouldn’t believe.

    When I was a kid, parental supervision was in some respects a lot more lax than it is today. We moved when I was almost 6 and at that age, I remember being outside with my 4-year-old sister and the neighborhood kids in a fenced-in yard for fairly long stretches of time (closer to an hour than minutes, although it’s hard to say exactly), and not a parent in sight anywhere. It would be unthinkable today and would probably be illegal in many jurisdictions, but I certainly learned a lot that I don’t think my parents would have fully approved of if they’d known about it. My parents didn’t swear at home. I did pick up early that swearing in front of most adults wasn’t acceptable. My sister went through a period where she swore a lot when she was about 6, until our mom one day had enough of it and washed her mouth out with soap. She still can’t stand the scent of that particular soap now, 40 years later. It has to be said, though, that my parents didn’t habitually use corporal punishment and that’s the only time I remember anything like it happening to either of us…

    #1009289 Reply

    My best friend growing up was Hungarian. Her mom didn’t care if we used English swear words because they ment nothing to her. We cursed up a storm. I knew better than to use those words in front of my parents. But I do have a pretty lax attitude when it comes to swear words. I don’t tolerate hateful or degrading language, but fuck flies out of my mouth regularly. My 6yo son has a speech and language disorder. He was nonverbal till 4. One of his first words was a swear and I didn’t care.

    #1009299 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    Yeah, littke kids swear a lot. I definitely did with my friends around that age. Then the novelty wore off and I got over it. Mostly, They pick the words up from school, older kids, TV, movies, wherever. And then they explore using them, which is normal. Most of them know better than to do it in front of adults, though.

    It doesn’t sound like the LW’s home is some fiendish place where children swearing is taught and encouraged, so I think the sister is being pearl clutchy here. She woukd be better off teaching her child when swearing is not appropriate, instead of blaming her nephew for her own son’s fairly normal behavior.

    #1009303 Reply

    What the LW could do is prohibit youtube in her parental control settings on the computer. I don’t think an 8 year old needs to watch youtube by himself.

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