Sunday, November 30, 2008

For The Love Of Swearing...

I'm not a big swear-er. I never have been, and I doubt I ever will be. That isn't to say that I don't swear on occasion, as I do. But with my prediliction against swearing, you can imagine that it's that much more effective when I do swear.

Personally, I'm just not a fan of swearing in general. I'm sometimes a bit old-fashioned, and it just sounds vulgar to me when it's thrown in gratuitously. I can remember being in the sixth grade riding the Mouse (roller coaster) at Valleyfair and for the first time saying -- quietly and to myself -- Oh my God as I rode up and down and around the curves and hills. I felt like I was being so bad then, but I did it anyway. You can imagine how much of a problem child I was for my mother.

With this minimal background in swearing, I didn't want my children to grow up swearing. When pregnant with Mister Man, we agreed to not swear in front of any children we may have and that to get in the habit, we should start immediately. It was much easier for me than it was for him, but we both did it.

Since Mister Man was born, there have been some slipups on Daddy's part, but luckily nothing frequent or that has stuck.

Interjections, on the other hand, are another matter. Personally, I think it sounds wrong and ugly for a preschooler to say things like "Oh my God" or "What the?..." (without the last bit at least) or "Gosh darn it" or even "For Pete's sake." Little kids don't need to learn saying like this, especially not at two or three. At least in my mind.

My husband and parents are of another mind altogether (we'll leave out my in-laws who swear in front of my children). They believe it's perfectly normal and that everyone needs interjections to get their point across.

We've come to a stalemate. I contend that Little Miss (at three) saying, For the love of God, will you please stop singing really isn't appropriate. I'm the only one in my camp. For now, the wee ones bend to my will and avoid saying things like this after being corrected once by me. The rest of the family, however, continues to expose them to language like this.

I know it's only a matter of time before I hear one of them shouting Holy cr@ p - or something worse - and I'm not looking forward to it. Am I totally out in left field on this one? I just want the wee ones to stay innocent and enjoy childhood. Apparently, that's too much to ask.


Anonymous November 30, 2008 at 3:49 PM  

I agree with you. My daughter picked up "Oh my God" from someone and now she says it a lot. I'm trying to break her of it and it's really annoying. It's so lovely when a three year old is casually taking the Lord's name in vain over an irritating puzzle piece.

krissy November 30, 2008 at 4:11 PM  

I agree with you, too. I think it sounds terrible from little ones. As they get older it's harder to keep that stronghold over them.

MaBunny November 30, 2008 at 4:49 PM  

My 10 yr old started with 'What the...", and I told her to not do that anymore, it sounded ugly coming from her mouth. Shes been good so far. I grew up around a lot of cussing from my dad, not my mom, so I do occasionally,but try not to use very ugly words like the F word... that is very rarely appropriate in ANY situation.
Good luck with the wee ones...

J Cosmo Newbery November 30, 2008 at 6:00 PM  

The little darlings are testing you!

Mike November 30, 2008 at 7:23 PM  

I totally agree with you. I wrote a post awhile ago about how my youngest when she was about three overheard me swear, not knowing she was in ear shot. The next day she dropped her teddy bear and cussed it out. They are sponges at that age. It took us weeks to break her of the habit...

Michelle November 30, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

Jaci - It's so often about a pozzlr piece, isn't it? I'm glad I'm not the only one fighting this, even though it isn't "real" swearing....

krissy - Ohhh I'm so not looking forward to that. That's why I keep telling them that I'm not ready for big kids!

MaBunny - It really does go to show you that what your parents do (in any situation) really does make a difference in what you do when you're an adult, doesn't it?

J Cosmo Newbery - Are you calling my parents and husband little darlings?

Michelle November 30, 2008 at 7:31 PM  

Mike - Yep, total sponges. Fortunately in a good way, too. UNfortunately, it seems like the bad way seems to win out so much more easily, doesn't it?

Beverly December 1, 2008 at 3:53 AM  

I am totally on your side on this one! Fortunately, most of my family are supportive.

Like you, I do not normally use those words. They don't even sound right coming out of my mouth. Having said that, I will probably be the one who slips and says inappropriate things in front of my children, words and phrases they will repeat at the most awkward times.



Unknown December 1, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

I think perhaps you may be in my home! My 8 y/o went through a phase this year of "What the?", which we quelched as quickly as possible. Now the 2 (almost 3) y/o is saying "Oh my God", which we do not say. I'm having more trouble breaking him, as our conversations often go like this: "Oh, my God! No, we don't say that. We say Oh, My Goodness! No Mommy, I say Oh, My God!" Resistance is futile...

Cookie December 1, 2008 at 10:18 AM  

That's a tough one. And it only gets worse when they get into kindergarten and first grade. You can't be with them all day and control what they hear. But wouldn't that be nice!

WeaselMomma December 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM  

Teach them to say things instead like 'great gobly goops Batman! People will laugh and they can get great interjections out of their systems.
When Eldest was 2 she said "damn it" out of toy frustration. Part of me said I have to change my ways and part of me was proud about her correct usage. We as parents can't win.

Michelle December 1, 2008 at 7:48 PM  

tchrbev - Lucky for you that they're supportive. It is odd how for some people swearing sounds totally natural and others... not so much!

ElleBee - Gee, you're really cheering me up here ;) Gotta love the stubbornness at the age of two, don'tcha?

Cookie - Wait, what? I NEVER signed up to give up full control! What are you talking about?

Weaselmomma - Ooo I actually like that suggestion. They don't really *need* the interjections yet -- this is my dad projecting on them -- but I'm sure they will soon enough. And yeah... the correct usage is impressive, isn't it? I have a LOVELY story about another two year old picking up something inappropriate from HER mom!

Anonymous December 16, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

I was having a terrible time getting my son's truck to run this was 15 degrees out and his heater didn't work, I couldn't find a window scraper and the truck just up and died. I was so exasperated that I flew into a swearing frenzy! I was on the phone with my 28 year old daughter at the time. Later, she told me that it made her sick to her stomach to hear me swear like that, and that is the reason she won't let my granddaughter stay a few weeks with me this summer. I was stunned! Firstly, I would not swear like that in front of a child. She should know that. Secondly, she and her husband have been going to church for some time now, and all of the sudden they are demanding certain behaviour from his mother and myself. She smokes, so I can see why they would ask her to not smoke around their daughter. She also is the babysitter. However, his father has been living with a woman for the last 20 years and they are not married. But, they havn't said a thing about this being some sort of sin. Sorry I'm rambling, but it has upset me terribly. Good grief - I know how to speak around a child and I don't like them using my relationship with my granddaughter against me. Whew...thanks for listening.

Michelle December 16, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

Anon - Oh what a fun day! It's a shame that your daughter won't let your granddaughter stay with you this summer. That has to be hard -- for all of you. I do hope that you find a way to work that out. Unfortunately the mom gets to rule the roost, and feelings are inevitably hurt. I hope the venting helped some - I know it does me! Good luck!

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