My sons are in their game room while I cook dinner, playing some bang!-bang!-shoot!-shoot! game on the XBox Live. I listen to my middle son ramp up, the way he always does when he
looses plays games, first with a moan, then with a whine, followed by a few pre-pubescent girly-shreiks, then with a stream of half-baked expletives.
Except, this time, they weren’t half baked.
The first time, I thought I’d misheard the “what the h@##” but the second and third time, I couldn’t deny it. My 11 year old was no more than 20 feet away from me, shouting swear words like he owned the joint.
Oh no he f@#*ing di-int.
If you’ve every read my mom blog or my twitter stream, you’ll know that I am not afraid of a good, old-fashioned, all-American curse word. The same goes for my real life, perhaps to (an admitted) fault. I *like* cursing. It feels good. I get that. Still doesn’t mean I am evereverEVER going to permit my children to use that kind of language.
Hypocritical? I’d argue not. Being a kid means you just don’t get to do certain things, like drinking or smoking or driving or renting R-rated movies or having sex or saying curse words under my roof. I’ve set 18 as the swear-word age limit in our house, mostly because once you have to pay taxes, you will finally have a reason to curse. I, personally, was 18 years old the first time a four letter word crossed my lips and though I’m not delusional enough to think they’ll actually hold out that long, I expect my children to respect my home enough to speak with a shred of decency when they are in it.
So I turned the bang!-bang!-shoot!-shoot! game off and reminded my 11 year old that he is, in fact, only 11 and 11-year-olds sound ridiculous when bad words cross their mouths. I pointed out that he is not even *close* to unintelligent but cautioned that privileges like bang!-bang!-shoot!-shoot! games require a level of maturity which screaming curse words at the tv doesn’t come close to displaying. Then I sent him off to write 15 acceptable, practical and smart substitutions for every iteration of ‘what the ___’, some of which were clever enough that I might even start using them.
And if that doesn’t work, I have a bar of soap and I am so not afraid to use it.
Image: Creative Commons