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Is it OK to Swear in Front of Kids?

posted: 12/15/15
by: Courtney Reimer

Swearing In Front of Kids

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Moms Audrey and Stephanie talk about swearing in front of their kids.

Chances are, you've let the occasional curse word slip in the presence of children. You stub your toe, you lock your keys in the car, your flight is canceled -- any range of life's snafus can lead to involuntary outbursts. (And, if you're as unlucky as one South Carolina woman, it might get you in trouble with authorities.) But just how bad is it to swear in front of your kids? The answer, as with so many things, is: it all depends.

Here are some things to consider.

1. 'Tis better to swear around then swear at. There's a world of difference between swearing at a botched cake and swearing at a kid who botches up. Children realize these are words that express serious anger, and you don't want to make them feel unsafe with your language.

2. Some words are worse than others. In my house, we've agreed that "crap" is far better (even permissible) than the "F" word. Sometimes you can't help but use a strong word; just try to make that strong word one that's not out of place on, say, primetime TV.

3. "Swear jars" can be helpful. They're also controversial (some feel monetary rewards and penalty have no place in a home), but there's something to the literal enforcement, penalizing and rewarding of negative and positive behavior. The idea is people are "fined" when they swear, and the person with the least offenses can use the swear jar money to get something for themselves.

4. Public vs. private swearing. As that mom from South Carolina learned, there's a big difference between swearing in the privacy of your home and swearing in public. One hopes you wouldn't be arrested for letting the stray four-letter-word slip, but it's helpful to establish rules about what is okay in on your turf versus public places. (This helps with curtailing children's use of "bathroom words" at school, etc.)

What do you think? Is it ever OK to swear in the presence of children? Let us know in the comments.