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No F*&king Swearing, Please

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: Now that I'm a mom, I hate four-letter words spoken in front of my kids.

woman reading to boy
"Daddy, Mommy read me this book last night before bed, and it had really bad words in it."
"She did. Interesting," my husband responded to my five-year-old. 

"Yeah, it had 'stupid' and 'hate' in it!" he said, slapping his hand over his mouth.

That's right. That's how strict I am about bad language. My five-year-old thinks he's being naughty if he says he hates something. That's also how much I hate little kids using foul language.

So imagine my discomfort when we went on vacation with family recently and unresolved ghosts jumped out of closets. One thing let to another and some "f*&k you's" were hurled in front of the children.

"Please don't speak that way in front of my kids," I implored. Not that I've never sworn in front of them, but I want my children to know I think it's wrong.

"F*&k you, don't tell me how to talk!" was the response to my request.

Also, we live in Los Angeles, and sometimes we'll be walking in Hollywood (okay rarely, but it happens), and a group will walk by chatting and it's like we're being assaulted by rappers, "That f*&king bitch ... I told that bitch she can suck my d**k ... that's right ... stupid bitch ..." And I almost drop my baby trying to cover my older son's ears.

I'm not a prude, but now that I have young children, curse words sound violent to me. Each one punctuating a thought with a small, fierce punch in the face.

So call me old-fashioned, but I don't want my son exposed to that, and I certainly don't want him throwing them.

Dani Klein ModisettDani Klein Modisett is the mother of 1-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 5-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth...stories you won't read in Parents magazine." An anthology of stories from this show will be published by St. Martin's Press., in stores in May 2009.


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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
praying4baby#2 September 21, 2008, 10:57 AM

I agree!! I think people only sound uneducated when they resort to curse words. As my mom always told me, “Filthy people use filthy language!”

cara September 21, 2008, 12:53 PM

I don’t agree. Although I dont think you should push your children to curse, I have witnessed many who do not ever utter a curse word and yet act in deplorable manners, gossipping about others, being judgemental, just not being good, kind people at all. And I know others who curse like truckers and would not ever speak badly behind anothers back.

Suzanne Eller September 21, 2008, 3:29 PM

I think words are powerful, and teaching a child young to be respectful and understand the weight of words is important. I love what Cara says, taking it a step further, to teach them to respect others as well.

Maxine September 21, 2008, 3:30 PM

Personally I feel that most of the last couple generations of Americans have forgotten their English classes. They only use their favorite swear words (usually F@#$)instead of all the adjectives they learned. Then again I think they also like to shock people, but having heard it so very much people aren’t shocked, they are disgusted with other peoples ignorance.

Me! September 21, 2008, 8:30 PM

Being assulted by rappers : )

M.L. September 21, 2008, 10:57 PM

I agree I feel the same way. When we’re in public and we hear curse words, I explain to my childern those aren’t words we use.

R.C. September 22, 2008, 1:48 AM

Maxine I like your comment, the truth is and i forget the name of the sociologist who said it was that people curse when they cannot think of another word to put in its place. It is true that alot of people are ignorant when it comes to their volcabulary, and although i do agree with all the moms and dads out there who do not want their children to hear that sort of language its not going to stop anytime soon. Just look at television its full of it, and what about school? The only thing we can do for our children is say that man are woman has a bad potty mouth and go about your way. But if anyone has a better solution such as the t.v. episode (What would you do)then let me know. In the mean time its monkey hear no evil speak no evil see no evil.

AlternaDad September 22, 2008, 3:04 AM

My mother felt the same way you did about swearing. When i was 6 I got an ulcer because I was so worried that I had used the “f-word” that my mother would find out and not love me anymore. Seriously… using such language to her was such as serious offense, she despised those words SO much I figured she must despise me too. I was throwing up I felt so guilty. I won’t do that to my kids. They will know right from wrong without me freaking out if they accidentally hear the f-word. Give them an explanation, not an ulcer.

Jaycee♥ September 22, 2008, 8:12 AM

Just explain to your kid the f-word and you know, let them use it when they’re 18(or 21 in some states and countries) and yeah, not in front of kids and teens, just in front people their age(eg. your 18, you mentioned the f-word to your friends your age, and accidentally, a 14 year old hears it, please, don’t say the f-word infront of minors) much better, explain.

Anna September 22, 2008, 11:18 AM

I totally agree with this article. I think one of the best things that i learned growing up was not to swear. Yea, i experiemented with bad words when I was a teenager but I never really got into it. thanks Mom!

Anonymous September 22, 2008, 11:22 AM

stupid and hate are not swear words

Shannon Smith September 22, 2008, 3:14 PM

I agree in that I don’t like it when people are cussing up a storm in front of my child. My mom ran a shelter for women for a bit of time. One day a couple of the women got into a verbal fist fight so to speak. The “F” word was flying every which way. I went out there and told them if they wanted to use that language, they could walk down to the next block. The cussing was in no way acceptable in front of the children. Disagreeing is one thing, but there are plenty of ways to disagree without cussing like a sailor.

I agree with R.C. who mentioned it only shows your ignorance when you use so much bad language to get your point across. It doesn’t impress anyone outside of their teen years. Often times though I think that somebody who is using it in a fit of rage, thinks they are somehow scarier when they use bad language.

Chris September 22, 2008, 9:11 PM

Do I swear, yes. Around my kids, sometimes when I bang my foot on something it flys out. I turn and remind my boys that these are mommys words and they aren’t allowed to say them.
I know that realistically, they are going to learn the curses from kids at school and it’ll start by the second grade, when that time comes I’ll explain to them again they aren’t to use those words with anyone especially not an adult.
And I know, by the time they are teens they will be cursing up a storm when they talk to their friends (my 13 year old niece is proof of this), but they will not be talking that way to an adult, or around people they don’t know (her mother has taught her to respect others in that sense). I can at least teach them that much.
I curse, but not around other peoples children and not even around adults who I know don’t care for it. I can still be me with my friends, but still be considerate to others that I know don’t care for cursing.
That is what I want to teach my children, to be able to be themselves however they choose to express themselves, but to still be considerate and use common sense around others that may be different or express themselves differently as well.
Freaking out about what they hear won’t help. Talking to them will.

youngmum November 6, 2008, 12:20 PM

We get it in England too. I almost got in a fight with this chavvy lady today about it. I mean she looked disgusting, talked disgusting… I may be younger than most mothers but it’s no excuse to think i’d swear around my kids.

pittypat July 30, 2009, 5:47 PM

I am from the South, and my parents are definitely old school. So its not so much the cursing from Pawpaw as the “n-word” and other racist slurs. While my sister and I have tried to keep this from the kids, my brother makes no such effort and even uses the word in front of his four year old. His wife will say, “Now, Daddy, we don’t use that word.” and then he will say he’s sorry. But its too late then - the kid has already heard his dad and his pawpaw use the word and laugh about it. Sisters kids are grown now, and my brother’s four year old along with two great nephews are the ones I’m now trying to keep from becoming junior racists. So “curse” words are definitely NOT the only words with the power to be bad.

B.G. October 6, 2009, 5:42 PM

I live in Manhattan, so my kids do hear swear words on the street. Incredibly, I’m able to let them know that those words aren’t acceptable in our family. If I were to police everyone else’s language, I’d walk around very angry indeed.


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