I can’t remember what my first swear word was or how old I was when I learned to swear, but I’m fairly certain I learned it from my older brothers. I grew up in a household where swearing was inappropriate at all times, where English teachers avoided the subject, and in a society (the USA) that didn’t allow swearing in television or radio programming. Naturally, if adults failed to instruct kids on the art/tact/humor/usage of swearing, then it was up to kids to fill in the blanks. Call me crazy, but this does not strike me as the best possible solution. This has got me thinking about my own kids. Should I provide them with instruction on swearing?
I’ll admit that I’m a bit late to the game for my daughter as she already entered elementary school. I know she has learned the more obvious expressions, but I’m also aware that elementary kids lack a certain sophistication when it comes to wielding language. Of course I want my kids to know what swearing is, why people do it, what the words mean, and when (if ever) it is appropriate to do so. Besides, I’d rather my kids feel comfortable coming to me for answers instead of fearing some kind of almighty wrath if they dare to utter some taboo phrases in front of mom or dad. If I taught them to use words like vagina and penis instead of cute euphemisms, I might as well teach them things like, “You bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep!” You all know what I’m talking about. Now, if I can just find a copy of Dick and Jane Swear, I’ll be ready for my first lesson.
Photos courtesy of Mel B. (Flickr)