Speak On It: I Let My 8-Year-Old Drop F-Bombs

Do understand that the title of this Speak On It post does not refer to my own actions but to the title of the article I am discussing. Because although my children are not 8 years old, or even close to it, I will not be allowing them to curse. Period. Also understand I do not curse. I have many friends who do but I do not. And I normally do not take offense to cursing (unless it is clear the speaker is more concerned with squeezing as many profanities as humanly possible into a sentence rather than actually engaging in conversation).

The author of an article posted to the website Your Tango does allow his child to curse, on occasion apparently. The author, Tom Burns, describes how his daughter had been having a particularly difficult time and allowing her to curse seemed to help her to feel better. “I let her mark particularly bad or frustrating occasions with particularly colorful words. And it makes a difference.” I didn’t realize curse words are the only way to speak colorfully. I’ve seen this excuse used a lot to justify the use of inappropriate language. Seems rather limiting to me. It doesn’t say much for the English language if the most colorful way to express negative emotions is only with a four letter word.

Letting my daughter say “f*ck” when she’s in pain is the equivalent of taking a sad friend to a bar, buying them a drink, and sitting next to them in silence just so they know you’re there for them.” Um…but we are talking about a child and not a friend, right? Kids need parents to be role models, guides, protectors, teachers, providers, all that good stuff and more. And children are still growing up, still learning, still pushing boundaries…still maturing. Can we get back to the times when parents were parents and their children were their children and not simply friends?

Right now my oldest child gets corrected for saying “stupid” or “shut up”. Call me old school if you want, but rather than allowing him to get away with using such off-the-cuff language, I encourage him to be thoughtful, descriptive, and clear in what he is trying to say. “It was silly to me when he said that” or “talking about this bothers me” are just a couple of examples of what he is encouraged to say. As he gets older and as his language gets more and more sophisticated I will help him to use the full breadth of his language base to express himself. Because I’m not sitting at a bar with a with an old friend. I’m raising a child to know how to express and cope with feelings in an appropriate way.

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