**Disclaimer/Trigger Warning: this post contains swear words. **
Let me start by saying, I am not one for cheering on or encouraging my children to swear in everyday conversation. Do I swear? I sure do. Especially when I’m frustrated. Does my husband swear? He does as well. Have my boys overheard this? Most certainly. One thing, I do want to point out is we never swear at our children. So, I never have to wonder where would our sweet boys ever learn words that would get them in trouble at school? I know exactly where they have discovered them. *Sheepish grin* Guilty as charged. My husband and I had some discussions over the “hells-bells, oh shits, and dammits” that we say around the house. Cuss words. Curse words. Profanity. Obscene language/words. Dirty words. Expletives. And plain old swearing. Whatever your family calls these words, strong feelings and opinions are formed around them.
The first time it happened was in kindergarten. Bless the teacher and bless her heart; however, her message was met with some giggles by my husband and I. The message was short and straightforward. “P said a bad word today. And he had to take a break.” The second time P had a swearing fest at school the teacher felt it warranted a phone call to say she was sorry, but P had to go to the principal’s office for saying two bad words. It wasn’t until later in his career when he let an F-bomb drop that we knew exactly what he said in school. Up until that point, the messages always read. P said a bad word. Bad word? What bad word? My thought was always let’s talk about this like adults and stop disguising this with the cutesy “bad words.” My personal preference is to cut the shit and be real. We’ve had to have many conversations with P’s teaching teams about swearing in school. Do we condone it? No. Do we encourage it? No. However, with all the other needs and behaviors we have to help them to pick their battles. Does he need an office referral or detention for every god damn, what the hell, or wherein the hell that he lets fly? No. What P does need is a reminder and redirection that even if he is upset or trying to fit in socially those words can be offensive and not everyone likes to hear them. If he chooses to use them, I want him to stand by his decision.
My assumption is as long as humans have been speaking, it is a safe bet that we have been cursin’ and cussin’. Did you know that the Bible mentions vulgarities like “dung” and “piss?” Yep, it does. Cuss words appear all across literature. Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and many other famous authors employed expletives freely and deliberately. Cuss merely is an American alternate of curse and its meaning “to say bad words” was first recorded in 1815. There is research out there that says swearing can help pain that you are feeling. The entire human race has had centuries to determine which words fall into the category of swear words. Some words or phrases that were considered swearing a generation ago are no longer. The next generation has picked up the words that resonate over and over and also added their own.
We have all experienced social conditioning about using profanity in public places such as school, work, and other gathering places. Through instruction and redirection and occasional punishment, we have attached lessons to those words. We have a long list of words that we are not supposed to use, but yet we use with high frequency. Why do we curse? Socially fit in with a new group of people? Frustration? Anger? Surprised or scared? To make a point? Whatever the reason, I promise my children that I won’t be shocked or shaken when he decides to use swear words.
All my best to you,