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Cursing or not?

In our house, we do our best to not use swear/curse words. We find substitutes. We say things like "holy guacamole", "cheese and rice", and "shut the front door". So we were out with some other moms today for a playdate and my 4 Y.O. son says "shut the front door" and one of the moms went into hysterics....maybe not hysterics exactly but she was visibly (and obviously) upset. I explained to her that it was what we used instead of cursing or swearing. She then said to me that it didn't matter, that it was clear what he meant. I, of course, never intended for him to yell it in public but I still don't see that it was "harmful" because there was no cursing or swearing involved. I grew up in a family that swore...a LOT and I didn't want to do that around my kid and have him running around saying f*^# and sh*t and so on. I think what happened wasn't bad at all. Thoughts? What could I possibly do differently?

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Asked by jessflynn at 5:16 PM on Dec. 29, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 9 (363 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I don't see any problem with what your son said.

    Don't think you should do anything different.

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 5:21 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • I see no problem with it- however my son got in trouble at school for saying 'What the Spark!?" (like the transformers) on numerous occasions as well as saying 'What the ...' So clearly others have a problem with it... not sure why but be careful before he starts school.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:24 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • I laughed just reading what your son said. I personally wouldn't have a problem hearing that, but some parents are really uptight and always will be. Don't let it get to you.

    Answer by Ballad at 5:32 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • My oldest son went to a Baptist pre-school & I can't tell you how upset I was when I picked him up from school 1 day & found out that he had been sent to the principals office & spanked for saying "darn it". I don't swear, but I do say "darn it" & "shoot". They told me the same thing, they knew what he 'meant'. Needless to say he didn't stay at that pre-school.

    I get teased because I say "shoot' instead of other words and called a goody two shoes, but my son gets spanked for saying "darn" -doesn't seem right to me.

    I had what I called "Mom's Dirty Word Rule" if you say something on mom's dirty word list you clean something dirty. Now that didn't have to be a traditional 4 letter word. "I hate you" was on the top of the list, but things like darn, shoot, etc. not on the list.

    I've heard parents got upset about what was meant. & then I've gotten flack over being too strict. I think I'm in the middle.

    I think she was silly.

    Answer by ohwrite at 5:38 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • We don't cuss, period. I grew up in a house where the idea behind not cursing is learning to control your anger and your tongue. If you are still using substitute words, you aren't controlling your tongue. I think if you can learn that lesson, it's a good thing. I am teaching my kids the same thing, but I don't mind others using substitute words or cussing if they prefer.

    Answer by missanc at 5:50 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • What could you do differently? Find a playdate mom who doesn't have a stick up her you-know-where.

    Answer by gdiamante at 9:04 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • I think its funny. Clearly the other mom has the problem here, not you. I'd say that most moms wouldn't be offended by this and they'd get a kick out of it. Nothing to worry about.

    Answer by jenny3344 at 11:47 PM on Dec. 29, 2013

  • That is a pretty funny "alternate" phrase! At first, I wasn't connecting it to anything, just "shut the front door"! And I thought it was hilarious. Only in reflecting on why another mom would get bent out of shape about it to the degree described did I connect it to its "edgy" counterpart.

    I guess if he delivered the line (you commented later that he "yelled" it) directly at someone, angrily, it could feel as jarring as if he yelled "Shut the fuck up!" in the situation. From your description, it is hard to tell what the scenario actually was like. (It's just not clear: Did he just bust out with it kind of randomly while playing, or expressing general frustration about something, or did he use it "in context" like essentially telling someone--child OR parent--to SHUT UP, except with different words?)
    That could account for the mom's reaction.

    REGARDLESS of language used, I think you just acknowledge kids' feelings.

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:09 PM on Dec. 31, 2013

  • By the same token, REGARDLESS of right/wrong or fault/innocence, I think you just acknowledge adult feelings, too! She got upset & I would hope to show understanding for her perspective even if I don't share it, while also hoping to shed light on the occurrence for what it meant for my child (you did explain to her.)

    For me, the context would play into this as well. If she witnessed him essentially screaming the equivalent of "Shut up!" or "Shut the fuck up!" at someone, I think the issue, regardless of wording, might be the interaction itself. That's something I could acknowledge. I'd probably have responded (to my child's outburst) in the moment...just reflective listening that warmly acknowledges what's going on/why he said that, and also facilitates the interaction plus models a more acceptable alternative: "You didn't want Jacob to say that" or "You didn't like him saying No! But Jacob's not finished with the truck yet."

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:21 PM on Dec. 31, 2013

  • She just has a stick up her ass. You are doing just fine.

    Answer by theMOMmission at 4:42 PM on Jan. 29, 2014

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