How We Handle Swearing With Our Kids

big family little income -1
Not sure what this thing with the arms is about. Destined to be one of my life’s mysteries, I suppose. Ahh, well.

That our kids don’t sound more like truckers is a total mystery to me.

I confess, I don’t hold back at home. I mean, I don’t intensionally cuss and carry on, but there are moments which just seem to call for a bit of language. When someone ignores the rule about no food in the bedrooms and you find banana ground into the carpet, or someone’s given your keyboard a drink of water.

Or when you’re suddenly woken up by your four year old, perched at the end of your bed yelling, “AAAAARRRHHHH!”

She wasn’t even doing it at me!? She was screaming out to her brother in another room because they were playing How To Train Your Dragon.

Now to give me some credit, even while being shocked out of a very pleasant slumber, at some level I did attempt to edit my outburst. It’s just, unfortunately, I cropped off the first word of the expression instead of the last.

“THE FARK!” I yelped.

I have a similar problem when I try to stop ‘for fark’s sake’ from coming out in its entirety: try as I might I only seem to be able to drop the ‘for’.

And yet our kids aren’t prone to stringing together expletives every time a sibling pisses them off – something which happens a hell of a lot more often than the banana thing. But when they do, we obviously pull them up on it. The rule is, while we don’t recommend it, they can swear if they want with their friends, but if they get caught by an adult and then they have to cop their punishment on the chin. It’s a useless rule we’ve obviously worked backwards from the standpoint they’re clearly going to swear anyway, but hopefully they can be taught to curtail their cussing around adults and not answer back if they’re pulled up.

I thought we were pretty clever to come up with this arrangement, but it turns out we’re not alone.


The word drifted up from around the side of our house where some friends of ours were parking their cars. I also recognised the tone. It spoke of pain. Over the years I’ve used a similar one when a toddler decided to jump onto my lap and pretend to make wine with my grapes.

It was followed, very quickly, by the usual response.

“I. Beg. Your. Pardon,”

“Sorry, Mum, but you hit me in the head with his foot!”

I later found out, in getting her kids out of the car our friend had swung her youngest child around and hit her oldest in the head with a pair of size two feet, hence the outburst.

“That’s no reason to swear,” said our friend.

A toddler feet first to the head? Personally, I think it’s the perfect reason to swear.

“Sorry, Mum,” said the young wounded master as I walked around the corner to greet them, “but you should be happy. I could have said farking hell.”

Should have been, but from the look on her face I don’t know that’s exactly how she saw it.

And while I didn’t hear what she mumbled next, the installation of glass barriers on the counters of banks these last ten or so years has meant I’ve become quite proficient in reading lips, and I’d bet the farm and the milk run I recognised a ‘for fark’s sake’ sneaking it’s way past her lips.

Which is probably why we’re such good friends. If we all keep this up, one day our kids might even work together at the same interstate trucking company. That’s the farkin’ dream, isn’t it?

“Raising a family on little more than laughs”

Sharing is caring. Plus it really does make a difference. Thanks heaps.


  • Mummy daddy words….you have to be a mum or a dad to say them, and oh I do! My kids should sound like they belong on a mine site, but surprisingly they do not swear at all. My eldest has started saying sugar honey ice cream tea though….sounds nicer than shit!

    • My kids are always telling me if you see Kay can you tell her that I love her – I don’t even know a Kay?

  • Just last night my hubby and i were enjoying dinner whilst our three kids were not, my asd 7 year old asks, ‘how much more of this shit do i need to eat?’ I tried not to laugh, i told him ‘ you can stop now and eat this shit for breakfast’

    I dont care about swearing unless it is directed at someone, seems it was the usual response necessary from a teacher but i am more lower class than most middle class teachers.

  • My 4 boys are allowed to swear at the football (on the TV) and if they are seriously injured.
    The football since it seemed hypocritical for dad to be dropping F bombs every time his team dropped the ball but they weren’t able to equally express their feelings.
    Also who doesn’t want to drop an ‘ahh shit!’ When you stub your toe?

  • Hahaha I swear. A lot. I tell the Little Mister that he’s not old enough to know how to use those words and that to be honest, grown ups are being a bit naughty when we swear too. My husband is a bit of a grouch about my potty mouth, but honestly I don’t think I’ll care if he swears when he gets a bit older, as long as it’s in context and never uses it at school or to put someone down or because he can’t think of anything intelligent and sounds like a FIFO worker on swing (I’ll be the ‘there’s a time and a place’ type of parent I think)!

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