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Stop the F'ing Swearing

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The Meanest Mom: Earlier this week, I caught my three preschoolers trading insults across the breakfast table.

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"Stinky butt!"
"Poop head!"
"Toilet face!"

Far from sounding cute or funny, these words struck me as offensive and disgusting. And then it hit me: when I use the grown-up term for "poop," I sound exactly the same way.

Most of us don't tolerate "potty talk" from our kids, yet in our adult conversations, we don't hesitate to use words and phrases that are much worse. Why? Part of the reason stems, I think, from the mistaken notion that using "bad words" makes us sound more authoritative, powerful, and cool. This belief is perpetuated by the fact that when someone curses, the room falls still and all heads turn.

Dropping the F-bomb draws attention to us all right, but never in a good way. Profanity is, at its least, unbecoming, and at its worst, portrays the speaker as both ignorant (of synonyms and social mores among other things) and immature. While this ugly little truth may not make us happy, it's a case that I've found hard to refute when I'm using the same language, essentially, as a 4-year-old.


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