Cursing in Front of Children – Is it Okay?


Cursing in front of your children – Most parents have done it, but is it okay? Some say yes, while others highly discourage it. Both sides have, what they feel, are valid reasons for their opinion on the matter.

One woman says, “Yes, I swear in front of my kids,” and gives her reasons:

1) It helps enhance group solidarity and serves as a mechanism for stress relief.

2.) Saying the F word or any other commonly used expletive can work to reduce physical pain.

3) It’s been suggested that people who swear are more honest and trustworthy.

4) Self-expression should always be encouraged, in all forms.

5.) Swearing around your kids actually helps to demonstrate rules of etiquette dictated by society. (In some environments it’s okay to curse, while in others it is not.)

On the other side of the debate is this woman who says, “When parents use profanity in front of children, unpleasant behaviors can result.”

To summarize her thoughts, she states that if you swear in front of your children, whether it be in conversation, pain, anger, or frustration, then you should expect them to repeat your words when they are in similar situations. In addition to them simply repeating these words, by cursing at someone when angry, you may cause your child to verbally attack others in that same way.

Others claim that people who curse on a regular basis have a limited vocabulary, and when they do so they represent themselves as immature.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” ~ Neil Postman

As parents, we should ask ourselves what type of person we want our child to grow up to be. How do we want them to speak, to behave, and to react to situations?

Based on how we’re raising our children today, what kind of society are we building for future generations?

What do you think? Is it okay to curse in front of your children? Why or why not?

(Talk about timing – Right before I hit ‘publish’, the lady next door started yelling profanities at her two young children.)

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25 Responses to Cursing in Front of Children – Is it Okay?

  1. LindaGHill says:

    I have to say I agree with number 5 – but in theory, not in practice. I taught my children this when they were young, but I didn’t actually do it — often. 😛
    Having said that, I swear in front of my Deaf 14 year old all the time. … his lip reading abilities are very limited.


    • mewhoami says:

      At least you’re honest. Sometimes we do teach one thing and then behave the opposite. Maybe it’s a good thing, that in this case his lip reading isn’t the greatest.


  2. A.PROMPTreply says:

    You seem to be hitting on all the hot spots this week! Our dinner conversation this evening was all about your post about sex ed in schools and opting out, etc. Was most interesting hearing our son’s side of things on that one. As for this one, I think there is a limit. There’s a big difference between a curse word said in frustration of the moment and a curse word directed AT someone. You know?


    • mewhoami says:

      I must admit, knowing that my last post topic was the topic of your conversation made me feel a little special. 🙂 I’m curious about your son’s take on that subject. Maybe if you have an extra minute and you’d like to, you can post a comment about it. You are right about there being a difference. Words said out of anger can be the nastiest words of all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.PROMPTreply says:

        I’m glad you felt special….I wanted you to know your posts weren’t just forgotten when we left the blogosphere but instead pondered and carried on into “real life.” 🙂


  3. We were just discussing this the other day. I’ve changed my tune in recent years, although I still think there are etiquette rules that one must follow (depending on the culture you are in at the time – ie, at church vs. talking to a therapist) and issues of developmental stages. I use different language in front of my little kids who are mimics without deeper verbal understanding, but my teenagers can appreciate context and word choice. To them we are teaching “true profanity is not the language you use, but how you use language.” Words evolve, but disrespect, contempt, and general ugliness is the lowest common denominator. To hell with political correctness and judging people based on surface qualities like word choice, what matters is the heart. Sometimes the heart can best express itself with an emphatic %€!


    • mewhoami says:

      I think that we change our perspectives about things often during life. What was once wrong isn’t anymore, and what wasn’t is now. You have an interesting stance on this. I do respect that you teach your children about how to appropriately and respectfully use their language. Language is less about what we say than how we say it. You mentioned the heart being what we should look at. I’m reminded of this – “out of the heart, the mouth speaks.”


  4. I have to admit I have burst out a few choice curse words at home in front of our little ones. But that being said I think if swearing, in general, whether in front of kids or not, helps someone to reduce stress clearly one needs a better or bigger vocabulary. When you curse in front of kids you are showing its ok to do in society. You are teaching these words to your kids, who are not going to keep the use of them restricted to your presence only. They pick it up like normalcy like their minds pick up everything they see at that age. If they find they can get attention from using the swear words they may get more creative with them. We can’t protect our kids from bad influences when we are not with them, like at school, so we need to be role models for them to emulate at home.


    • mewhoami says:

      I completely agree with you about relieving stress. I relieve my stress just fine by using non-curse words. I second everything you said about setting an example for our children. We can’t control everything they learn, but we can certainly control what we teach them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t use foul language, and I don’t allow Mr. T to, either, unless it’s warranted. He is aware that there is a whole dictionary full of words that can be used in place of foul language and that he should expand his vocabulary instead of resorting to using the same words over and over. Those words are considered foul for a reason, and there is no need to pollute our minds when we can expand it 🙂


  6. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Cursing in front of, yeah, unfortunately never broke that habit . Cursing AT? No.


  7. April says:

    I have always told my kids that it was more fun to come up with creative words to express themselves. I used one word while my kids were growing up….damn…as in Damn Dog. Do I think it was okay? Probably not. However, I learned somewhere along the way that my husband and I are not the only influences in our children’s lives. Mine grew up with hearing damn from me, my husband doesn’t use profanity. I have caught my kids using profanity something that didn’t come from their home environment.


  8. markbialczak says:

    I agree with Sheena. The intent of the swearing is important, Me Who. I swore in front of my daughter, slipping sometimes. OK, more than I wanted to let loose a bad one. Never, ever, at her. I also tried hard not to swear directly at people in front of her, either. It was more like using a cuss word about a situation or while relating a story.


    • mewhoami says:

      Although I used those words a lot while my son was little, I haven’t done so slipped in many years. But, I do agree that he intentions behind the word have a lot to do with it. Words can either be hurtful or used simply in conversation. Either way, our kids learn from us, so whatever we want them to know or not know, we are their example.


  9. jaklumen says:

    This is the swear discussion I had with my daughter:
    1. I gave a list of several four-letter profanities.
    2. I gave the definitions.
    3. I said, “If you have to use these words, use them for what they mean, and don’t use them in polite company.”

    I thereafter proceeded to be a bad example, but, she chose not to swear. HOWEVER many of the media she enjoys uses pretty profane language. She got her mother interested in Homestuck, which often uses pretty salty words. They both have a mature attitude about it, so I’m fine with it for the time being.

    I think maybe I mentioned my son and his autism. We have endeavored to be more careful, especially as he lapses to echolalia from time to time- but- let me put it this way: he definitely knows how to use the f-bomb in the manner most people do. I doubt he understands what it technically means, but we do our best. He used the f-bomb with a social worker, by the way, and she didn’t get upset. I will go with that.


    • mewhoami says:

      I doubt that most case workers would get upset, simply for the fact that the majority of kids these days use foul language on a regular basis. If you’re son is only using those words every now and then, then he’s already doing better than most. My son is autistic as well, but understands what bad words are and that they shouldn’t be said.

      You make a good point about media. It is very difficult to find shows or movies without profanity. It’s hard to teach children one thing, when they hear the complete opposite everywhere else they go.

      It’s good that you taught your daughter to use her words appropriately and in the right company. That is a valuable lesson.


      • jaklumen says:

        Well, these days, it is much more out in the open than it used to be. But I’m sure you’ll agree that we both encountered foul language at school all the time– at the very least, during the secondary grade school years. When my daughter says as much, I nod and say, “Yep, I remember my classmates using these words all the time, too.”


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