This one’s a bit of an internal debate I’ve been having with myself about swearing or saying certain phrases in front of my kids.
Kids pick up on everything from us, our emotions our words and mainly our mannerisms. They seem to love nothing better than to mimic all that we do. If you a straight-laced parent who never loses your cool then that’s not really something you’ll ever have to worry about (who am I kidding EVERYONE loses there shit at one point in their child’s lives).
So that leads me to my next thought, knowing that kids are copycats, should we be moderating our everyday actions and the way we speak, the words we use.
The biggie is swearing. We are normal people here we do swear, we try not to swear in front of the kids, but let’s be honest sometimes that’s blooming hard.
So far we have been quite lucky with our toddler Max, Dan said “For fuck’s sake” once when in Max’s company, they were looking at wooden flooring and Max gave a great big sigh popped his hand on his hip and said, “for fuck’s sake”. How did Dan react? Well obviously he chuckled under his breath but mainly he didn’t let Max see he had gotten a reaction.
Obviously swearing around kids is never a good idea, you don’t want them going to school with a potty mouth, I’d be mortified if Max swore at nursery. I don’t swear half as much as I used to pre-kids, but yes I do still occasionally let out a sweary, mainly a muttered FFS under my breath.
Here are my opinions from both sides of the track, pros and cons of whether we should filter how we speak and act around our kids:
- Kids learn mainly by example, so if you are effing and jeffing constantly around the little ones then they are highly likely to pick up on that because they will figure its the norm. This will sound totally judgy but when I’m at the supermarket and I hear somebody just telling their kid to “shut the fuck up” or something similar, it kind of makes me cringe. I don’t think anyone should be spoken to like that let alone a child. We need to be teaching our children to respect others and that aggressive dialogue doesn’t have to be a part of that.
- Kids tend to copy. Not just words but the way they are pronounced and even mannerisms kids are mimic artists (well mine are anyway). If I say to Max “Pack it in” he’ll turn around and say to me “no mummy you pack it in”, he’s honestly just so cheeky. I’m trying hard to replace my swearwords with alternatives, Some of my favourites are Freaking and Jeez Louise.
- They will repeat the word. Usually, kids like to show us parents up by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, usually when you’re out in public. As Dan found out at BNQ they will absolutely repeat the word. If you are particularly bothered by what other people think of you, then that may be a situation you’ll want to try and avoid. Although occasional kids say words that sound like curse words, actually arent. Max kept saying one car the other day over and over again, you can guess what that sounds like right?
- Words have meanings because we give them association to certain things. If your kid is none the wiser to the fact the word you have said is a “bad” word then why would they copy? Have a think about how much you have spoken during the day, the conversations you have had not only with your children but strangers, family anyone. Think of all the words you have used, how many will your child repeat today? Makes you think, doesn’t it? By putting such a big emphasis on the swear word your making it seem even more attractive for the child to repeat than a normal word.
- We give up a lot when we become parents, sense of self, sleep and often identity. Is it fair to be expected to completely change how we speak?
- Swearwords are everywhere! So unless you never ever let your child watch TV that isn’t kids programmes, or let them go out in public you’ll find your kid will pick things up from all different walks of life. As I mum I do try and not swear in public but as we all know others won’t feel inclined to do the same.
Whats your take on the subject of moderating our lives to help our children?
I’m still so undecided, for me personally I’m going to be true to myself, teach my kids between right and wrong and bring them up to have good morals. I can’t really do any more than that.
This article from The Bump showcases some of the more serious effects as results from swearing in front of our children: http://living.thebump.com/effects-cursing-children-them-17783.html