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Kids & Cursing: What the $#&! Kind of Parent Am I???

By Serge Bielanko |

Are you !%&@ing talkin' to me?!

A few days a week, I pick up my daughter from her preschool, get her strapped into her car seat, hand her a Ziploc of Goldfish crackers and raisins, and pull away from the curb.

Then I roll up the volume of the radio on the Howard Stern show.

This makes me feel a little guilty, I guess, because some of the language is salty and I know it and I recognize that there are a legion of people out there who would raise their eyebrows at the fact that I am letting that kind of thing fly into my little girl’s ears like a nasty gnat.

But still, I’m not gonna lie to you: I put it on.

I love Howard Stern’s radio show and I don’t get to listen to it too much what with working and taking care of my two children and blah blah blah, and so the 45 minutes or so I spend in the Honda each day fetching my daughter from school is when I crank him up.

It’s not that bad, I tell myself.

She isn’t really listening.

And if the language really does soak in at some point, and one of my kids wants to try it out themselves, I’ll just take a fresh loaf of Irish Spring and jam it in their pie-hole, right?


Take it easy. I’m only !$#%@&! joking.

I know that’s not the way to nip it in the bud. Yet, truth is, the only way to nip your kids’ foray into cursing in the bud is probably to keep them from hearing it in the first place.

But, I don’t think that’s gonna happen over at my ranch.

See, my wife and I have been known to string a few oaths here and there. And yeah, there have even been times when we sounded like the Notorious B.I.G getting stung by a swarm of angry bees, right there in earshot our young ones.


I mean: How wrong is that?

That’s a question I have been asking myself lately, not really in an effort to tame my spicy speak so much as to really get to the heart of why I don’t seem to be all that worried about it to begin with.

I know people who get really flustered if you drop a cuss in front of their kids. People who will call you out on it. I think I wish I was that way too, secretly. But, it’s hard, you know? It’s really @&$!%*! hard when you’ve perfecting the art for so many years.

To be honest, I suppose I’m torn about it all in a way because, on one hand, I know that it’s probably not beneficial in any way/shape/or form for impressionable young ears to hear bad words. On the other hand I can’t seem to convince myself that they aren’t going to hear it somewhere/somehow anyways before long. In my mind, it’s almost like trying to keep them away from chocolate or fried food from day one. The more you try and ‘protect’ them from something that’s everywhere around them, the more they are going to want it in the end.

But I realize that that could be the lazy part of me talking there, too.

In all seriousness, most of the time, I refrain from talking like a sailor. However, I’m here to admit to you that I have my lapses. My kids have heard George Carlin’s list by now. I’m not proud of it. But still, at this point in time, I’m not losing much sleep over it either.

In the end, is cursing around kids a curse in itself? Am I relegating them to a life of  unsavory hobo-ness by dropping language bombs on occasion? Are they going to walk into their first job interview some day down the line and sit down in the chair and announce to the person at the desk, ” I really want to !$&%@#* work here, sir, because this has been my dream all of my $#@%*&! life.”

Or is it just another bump in the long road of decision making that they are going to have to travel down, no matter what?



You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep up with on Facebook.

More from Serge:

The Magic of Halloween: 20 Photos That Really Say It All

Watching You Watching Me: Our Family Through The Eyes Of Our Pet Fish, Fishley

15 Reasons To Love Kids & Their Pumpkins

20 Ways The Internet Has Changed Parenting Forever

Young At Heart: 15 Ways Having Kids Made Me Young Again




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About Serge Bielanko


Serge Bielanko

Serge Bielanko writes about fatherhood for Babble Dad and about marriage stuff for Babble Voices at He Said/She Said. His writing has appeared in Esquire and The Huffington Post, as well as on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. He lives with his wife and two kids in central Pennsylvania. Read bio and latest posts → Read Serge's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Kids & Cursing: What the $#&! Kind of Parent Am I???

  1. gwenhara says:

    Curse words exist for a reason. There are rhetorical situations that require cursing. I’m a firm believer in that. My parents swore around me and I didn’t pick up the habit until I was in college. I hate it when my parent friends make up crap words to hide cursing or cover their kids’ ears. For God’s sakes, revel in the decrepitude of the English language as you revel in its elitism. I do watch my language around children, but that’s out of respect for the parents and has nothing to do with any fear I’ll corrupt kids.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Thanks, gwenhara. I believe you and I are on the very same page here.

  2. Larry Rydel says:

    het serge…dont dwell on it! When my daughter was growing up, she used to always ask, “whats for dinner?” My reply was always the same, “dog shit on a stick” Her mom never said anything then, in fact it got to be a joke with us, even now as she is an adult. She rarely swears.(my daughter, now 30) .On the other hand, I can’t be caught saying it to the grand kids! my wife and daughter will both jump my case, every word I say, (By the way, I am a retired sailor, and I don’t say that many curse words!) So it just goes to show you, your damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Do what you think best!

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Hahaha! Great comment, Larry! Thanks for the good advice and the smile.

  3. jess says:

    I try to somewhat watch what I say in front of my son. He is still an infant now but I don’t want his 1st word to be fu*$ either. My parents swore in front of me.Not often but they did do it. I understood from an early age that I should not use that language. At least not around grown ups. That said I am more careful & more likely the belt daddy one for the racial/sexually degrading language that has been known to slip out of his mouth. He does not mean it so to say just has a bad habit of talking like his dad who is a racist/sexist A$$hole. Yes I have said this to both of their faces.I agree kids are gonna hear it no matter what but if they don’t hear it in constant casual conversation they are less likely to use it.

  4. Hootiemaniac says:

    Hooray! We’re not alone! I grew up the only child of divorced parents, residing full-time with my mom. My parents cursed from time to time, but I don’t ever remember being shocked by it at all. In fact, when I was in Elementary school (I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade), I had gotten “caught” cursing at school, and of course the principal had to tell my mom. Shockingly, she wasn’t even mad, because well, she was my role model, right? What she did was tell me that if I felt the need to express myself in such a fashion, that it was 100% okay to do it at home. I think that was pretty cool, and I didn’t always feel the need to do it at school. Now, I have 4 sons ages 12, 11, & 9 y.o. twins, who ALL have my sarcastic wit, which is a blessing and a curse (no pun intended). And yes, I curse all the time and I too, have felt exactly how you feel. I pretty much feel that they’re going to hear it almost everywhere they go, and they probably hear it more on the playground than at home anyhow. I also think that if you raise your kids with good values, then they are going to know when they can and when they shouldn’t use curse words, um…say like at a job interview. Lastly, I do want to point out, that even though my kids hear a barrage of descriptive words, they are mostly respectful. The only “bad” words that I have heard is my eldest son saying “pissed off”. By the way, I have also adopted my mom’s house rule, and the kids don’t use it…but I do.

  5. Jodi says:

    My husband and I do the same thing – not purposefully but it’s hard and I too refuse to make up silly words to substitute. It is part of life, my girls are 4 & 5 and they aalready understand grown up words and

  6. Jodi says:

    That they are not to repeat them. When I was growing up my parents let us watch R rated movies with the caveat that if we repeated the language we would only watch Disney movies till we were 40. We swore a heck of a lot less than all our friends as a result-it wasn’t treated as this taboo thing in our house. Its just words.

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