A lot of us moms play video games with our kids and get fired up. Part of that emotion might result in cursing in front of a child.
Our culture is one that inhibits emotions. A generation ago we were taught to speak only when spoken to and hide your emotions under that sleeve. But that’s a lot of baloney. Demonstrating emotion in front of children is healthy and natural. That’s what cursing in front of a child is good – it teaches them that momma is human, too.
Of course, we should qualify when cursing in front of a child is good and when it’s bad. Some curse words are racially charged while others are downright offensive. It is never okay to use some curse words. However, personal expression among piers or by one’s self is a natural and reasonable characteristic – even in children.
The level of alarm dictates the appropriateness of the curse word
Playing video games with my son gives me pause to remember that having older kids has it’s own advantages, too. Where intimacy rules the nest while they’re young, children sometimes distance themselves from parents who fail to interact with them in the ways they find normal. Video games are an extension of the modern child – like it or not. Here is the world where they interact and learn to conquer their inhibitions while dealing with their emotions while polishing their skills.
Someone rear-ends me in a car? That’s cause for an explicative. Someone kills me in a video game – that’s not the time to curse in front of a child.
Suddenly, you’re sitting there with console and hand and have just won that video game fight. You hear the dreaded work “S@#$ Mom! You killed me!” You are a little taken back at first, but then realize it’s a point to be addressed. How are you going to handle this situation? The reason cursing in front of a child is good has everything to do with the reason that explicative is used – and which one is used.
When is it a curse word?
You can either make the use of curse words a negative experience or one for a positive teaching lesson. I’ll assume you don’t have your head in the sand about the fact most children are going to curse whether you’re around or not. The ideal parenting situation is that they are comfortable testing the boundaries on parents (instead of someone else), so that you can guide them in the proper etiquette and technique for effective expression.
A word is a curse word when it is derogatory in nature, and it is used without premeditation.
Many people believe that cursing is a sign of a limited vocabulary. I believe that if you have a large enough vocabulary that it is possible to find different words to use rather than cursing. The other side of that coin is that many people believe that it is just part of the culture. As parents our kids are going to curse if we want them to or not. It can also be looked at as though they are just other words – but that’s a mistake. Sometimes at the moment, people need to use those words of absolute emotional conviction.
This debate has gone on a long time. Many times the answer to why cursing is wrong is based on the ideal that it is a sin. In addition, another reason that cursing is wrong is because words have power. It is important to know that when our children begin using those words, it also can be hurtful to those that they talk with. Teaching them these points is the first step in teaching responsible cursing.
Pro of Cursing
There are several reasons cursing is okay:
- Social Bonding – Some people believe cursing can increase the social bonding. When used in a social situation, it can be a sign of openness, that you are easy going, as well as just being fun.
- Power – Many believe that cursing offers kids power. Through cursing, some individuals will be empowered to react to their situation. It can be seen as being confident and having a high self-esteem.
- Self-Expression – Cursing can be a way that people can express themselves. It can also be something that some people find important, and that makes them more lively.
Cons of Cursing
There are also several reasons for why cursing can be bad:
- Unacceptable to others – Many times cursing can turn conversations into aggressive conversations quickly. Some curse words are racially charged while others are downright offensive. It is never okay to use these words.
- Bad Self-Expression – Cursing can offer a bad impression, it can endanger relationships, and it can make you unpleasant to be with. Having a bad attitude, or showing your lack of character as well as reflecting ignorance are reasons that one should not curse. Negativity is no way of life.
- Poor Use of Language – Cursing is not a sign of good language, it can be abrasive and shows a lack of control in expression. Cursing lacks imagination as well as the ability to communicate clearly.
- Decline of Etiquette – Society looks at cursing as the decline of politeness. It also can offend individuals as well as make others uncomfortable. Children and adults will be left out when they don’t know the rules of etiquette.
As a child I never dared to speak to my parents using curse words, but I used them with friends as a way to look cool. As I got older I realized these social rules were shallow and lacking maturity – about the same time all my friends realized it, too. We grew out of it when we realized we wanted to be adults, to emulate adults.
Having teenagers, I know that they curse. My children are not afraid to curse in front of me. I’m not afraid to call them out on it. They know I would rather them use better adjectives and we work on controlling our outbursts and effective communications.
In contrast, my daughter is five and I am concerned that she will pick up the habit of cursing. For this reason I hold my tongue and also displine my other children to avoid bad self-expression and poor use of language around her. I want her to learn to be expressive in a positive manner. We can have different standards for age groups. But it is a regimented system, and at some point I’ll accidentally let fly a curse word. When it happens I will use the moment to teach my daughter about cursing. However, I will accept my daughter’s sense of expression as I hope she will learn to accept mine. Together, we can work on the best ways to communicate.