Ranty, rude and laugh-out-loud-funny, Kip‘s one of our favouritest dad bloggers. In his latest post he tackles – *head on* – the fruity issue of swearing in front of the kids. Warning: contains colourful language.
I remember the first time I swore vividly, unfortunately, it was at my mother – she didn’t take too kindly to being called an ‘utter bastard’. In my defence I’d heard Basil Fawlty say it on ‘Fawlty Towers’, and I thought it was OK to say it, the smack on my bottom told me otherwise.
It did set a precedent though, I never swore in front of my parents and to be fair, they never swore in my earshot until I was an adult, even then, and now – it’s a rarity.
The thing is – I swear – a lot.
I’m known for my ability to call new ‘friends’ the c-word moments after meeting, of course I’m not being rude, or trying to upset them, it’s (mostly) a term of endearment. Swearing like a sailor and having children though doesn’t really mix, and I really do try to wind my tongue back. Honestly, it’s difficult because those filthy four letter words are deeply embedded in my vocabulary they just seem to fall out of my mouth naturally.
I do have to try though, because no one wants to have ‘that child’ that calls their nursery teacher a prick, or worse. I remember when I babysat for four siblings as a teenager. The youngest, at the cusp of three years old proudly marched up to me and called me the c-word. I was utterly terrified… surely the WORST word a person could utter. Let alone a blonde haired, blue eyed two-year old girl! I told her mother of the incident when she came home, I was expecting her to be shocked and outraged. Her reply? “Oh yeah, sorry, she’s been watching Billy Connelly again”.
She wasn’t joking.
I suppose that incident has stuck with me and I’d *hate* to have my child do similar, I’ve DEFINITELY never said ‘that’ word in their earshot – EVER.
Of course, the odd expletive will leave your mouth, I struggle a lot when driving, the sheer frustration and lunacy of other drivers will quickly make my blood boil and the rude words appear.
It’s helpful having an older child, she’ll often scowl at me and say “DAD! Language!” Rightly so. Although G (11), obviously learnt from my car language ways because when she was five, I was pulling into a parking space only to have it stolen from someone else. I immediately shouted “Oh F…” I stopped myself, realising her tiny ears were there.
Without missing a beat this tiny voice, in a VERY Essex accent exclaimed “Faaaaaaaaaaaaacking ‘ell”.
I was both mortified, and impressed in equal measure. Mortified because my darling daughter had used the F-Word, and impressed that it was so beautifully in context.
Thankfully that’s probably one of the few occasions I’ve heard her swear. She’s going to High School next year, so I know the language she’ll hear at school. I’m grateful that she’s respectful enough not to use it in the earshot of me or the rest of our family.
It is a lot harder with J (2), as I’m a Working Stay at Home parent, he’s with me a LOT of the time, and whilst that’s great for me, and him I don’t have the freedom of ‘the office’ to use my grown up language. It doesn’t help that he’s reached a ‘parrot’ stage in his development, he’s constantly trying to mimic everything that’s said to him. It’s very cute having him copy words back at me, but not so much if I’ve scalded myself with a cuppa and shouted something rude, only to have my mini parrot shout it back.
As with many things in parenting, you’ll never be perfect or exactly how you imagined. Unfortunately, even if you don’t ever utter an expletive in front of your little one, there will be someone else who does – it’s unavoidable sadly. I suppose the only thing you can do is make sure your child knows they are ‘bad words’ and shouldn’t be used and hope and pray they never call their babysitter the c-word.
Check out the range of no-nonsense parenting manuals available at kiddicare.com and don’t miss Kip’s hilarious post 4 things I’ve done as a dad I never thought I’d do.