She justifies it by saying, "I only ever swear for emphasis, I never swear at anyone."
But, of course, this is easier said than done—especially if you’ve been dropping four-letter words like candy for years.
Now, one mom blogger is getting real on the reality of swearing in front of her kids. In a new Facebook post, Constance Hall freely admits that she “sometimes” swears in front of her kids. “I justify it to myself by saying I only ever swear for emphasis, I never swear at anyone,” she writes. “You'll never catch me calling someone a name or screaming ‘fuck off.’”
But, she says, she’s not above saying "for f—k sakes" when, say, her baby went No.2 after she piled everyone into her car or “holy shit” when her baby painfully latches onto her nipple. “But my kids have never sworn, they know, mum can. We can't,” she says.
But, she says, she noticed that her son Arlo has been dropping the F-bomb lately, and his friends have, too. “Does it bother me? Not much, meanness would bother me more,” Constance wrote. “I certainly don't encourage it, have pulled him up on it and he appears to have stopped.”
Constance says she also realized that Arlo is at an age where his friends have a greater influence on him than she does and he copies them. “So while it's important to say ‘don't swear it's not cool,’ it's equally important to teach your kids to strive to find friends with similar moral codes to your family,” she says. “That way when they do ignore you and run off with their mates, they are in good hands, maybe cheeky ones, maybe sweary ones, but good ones none the less.”
Constance finished with this: “Our household might be a sweary one, but it's a bloody kind one and it's full to the brim with love.”
The reaction to Constance’s take on swearing was overwhelmingly positive, with many people sharing their own stories in the comments. "I have road rage it's bad and so yesterday my now 2 yr old blurted out 'F—k it' ..." wrote one commenter. "Yes I felt Mommy guilt to the fullest. I have to control this mouth and the F bomb."
"My 3 year old was only 2 when she yelled at me from her high chair 'mum don't you touch my f—king carrots!," added another commenter. "Was so taken aback by such a small person using a word so well in a sentence but I didn't say anything and she hasn't said it again!"
As you can imagine, there’s not a ton of research out there on the effects of swearing in front of kids. But Benjamin Bergen, a cognitive scientist at University of California San Diego and the author of the book What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in 2016 called “Go Ahead, Curse in Front of Your Kids.” In it, Bergen says that it’s fine to swear in front of your kids, provided you don’t curse at them in anger, use hate-filled slurs, and keep it to a minimum. He also points out that there’s no evidence that exposure to four-letter words “causes any sort of direct harm: no increased aggression, stunted vocabulary, numbed emotions or anything else." It just might, you know, cause some embarrassing situations for you at the playground or prompt a note home from school.
Like many things in parenting, choosing to swear or not in front of your kids is a personal decision. Just know that into every life, a few “s*&t!s” may fall regardless of your intention—that’s just how it goes.