What the #$&!

A neighbor child who attends school with Lili got into trouble for swearing, and told her mother that Lili taught her the words.  I don’t doubt that Lili knows them, and I would be foolish to think that most kids never use them around friends.  I remember how cool it seemed to cuss.   It’s like a right of passage.

Lili knows it’s wrong, and that they are adult words.  I might be the minority, but it just isn’t a big deal to me if my kids swear, especially as they get older.  I expect them to know what is appropriate and what is unacceptable- for example, if we were heading to a movie and it was sold out, and my 12 year old said ‘This sucks’ not only would I agree, but I wouldn’t punish him.  If my 15 year old says to his 14 year old brother, ‘Help me clean this shit off the table so we can all eat dinner’ it’s fine.   It’s a word.  No one is insulting anyone.  Yes, there are better words that can be used, but really, it’s just not a big deal to me.

In April, Lili will turn 10.  I really don’t want her swearing, but I am not going to punish her for the occasional slip up.  I’ll correct her, and ask her not to say those words, especially in front of her younger siblings.  But unless she’s being mean and calling them names, or every other word out of her mouth is an obscenity, I’m going to let it go.

So back to the issue of Lili teaching another child bad words- the kids all walk to and from school, and apparently Lili was doing that old trick where you tell someone to hold their tongue and say ‘ship’ and ‘apple’ so they sound like shit and asshole.  The child went home and was doing it, and the mother came knocking on our door to tell us that Lili taught this to her child.


I distinctly remember being in elementary school (just like Lili is!) and doing the exact same thing on the bus rides to and from school.  Well, we had said ‘My father works in a shipyard cleaning ashes’, however it’s totally the same concept.

It’s just something that kids do!

Regardless, even if the situation were reversed, and Lili came home doing something I disapproved of and used the excuse that another kid was doing it too, I’d never go over to the other parent*.  If it was against the rules at our house, my child would be punished at home, and that’s that.  I wouldn’t feel the need to go place blame on another person’s child for my own kid’s actions.  Whatever happened to teaching your kid to take responsibility for their actions?  How many times when we were growing up did we hear ‘If so and so jumped off a bridge, would you too?’ when we tried to explain to our parents that all the other kids were doing whatever got us into trouble as well?

I don’t feel right punishing my child for this.  I feel like she’s just being a kid.  Aaron and I sat her down and told her it wasn’t nice to swear, and we didn’t want her to do so anymore.  Do you think the situation warranted more action on our part?

*If they were doing something dangerous that could potentially harm themselves or others, that’s different.


  1. 1

    That’s just f%^<ing stupid!

  2. 3

    Wow this is kinda ridiculous. That child is learning that anything they do can be blamed on someone else and that parent is blind if they think their child is only doing things of that nature because lili did it first ! I feel bad for both of her parents when she comes home doing things she can’t blame someone else for.

  3. 4

    I totally agree with you. They are going to learn swear words one way or another and I would prefer that my child knows and UNDERSTANDS what they mean! Maxx knows that he is not supposed to use swear words but an occasional “crap” will slip out and I just give him a look! I agree that unless the kids are using them to be mean to each other, like calling names then it doesn’t warrant a punishment! You talked to her, I think that is enough.

  4. 5

    wow. I don’t encourage swearing, but since I do nothing but, it is inevitable in our house. I want them to use the words properly and try to use others instead, but really don’t make a deal out of it. Kids are gonna do what they do, and cursing is COOL. Mom over-reacted!

  5. 6

    I too agree with you completely! It is completly absurd for her to tattle to you about the kids. Sounds like she doesn’t know how to deal with such petty crap as this. @@

  6. 7
    Jessica Lyle says:

    “…to tell us that Lili taught this to her child.”


    Seriously. I feel the same way as you regarding this issue. How old is the child?

  7. 8

    That just crazy. Kids are kids and they are going to do things like swear. My kids know that it’s not appropriate language, but I’m not going to yell and punish them over it. Occasionally my 7 year old will ask us permission to say a “bad” word (when he’s quoting someone or he thinks he heard something). Ha ha! But then again my daughter’s second word was “dumbass”! Ha ha ha!
    Yeah, kids could be doing a lot worse than swearing!
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  8. 9

    I agree with you. At our old house, the neighbor came bellowing about how he found the word ASS written on the dry erase board after my son was there playing and how it couldn’t possibly be his son. Maybe it was, maybe it wasnt…he made such a HUGE deal about it, but yet it was okay for his son to be a bully and kick our cats, but heaven forbid, the word ASS gets written on a board and my son is the devil reincarnted~ smh

  9. 10

    Now that’s just plain stupid. I don’t doubt it happened but if you don’t want your child swearing then punish your child. If Lili is such a “bad influence ” then keep your child away. Stupids that makes me mad

  10. 11

    Ok, so what did you say to this mom?? How did you keep a straight face? I know I would of jumped all over her ash! I kind of agree — I don’t want my kids swearing, but I know they do around their friends (I hear it on the Xbox live) and have heard Maddie’s girlfriend say “what the hell” No biggie….I just remind them that you can’t do that at school its inappropriate to say it to an adult…..and so forth — where did they learn it? WHO CARES! They all do and I know I cuss (not often around them) but its out there.
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  11. 12

    We live in a household where we feel that if you put too much emphasis on something then it WILL become a big deal. We don’t censor movies or ourselves all that much. We cuss around our kids and like you , we expect them to remember that a few words are ok to know but to not use. This is a tad off track, but we plan on using the same concept when it comes to drinking and alcohol. If you do it at home and it’s not all that cool then you’ll never be one of those crazy kids who does it too much.

    Interesting topic today!

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  12. 13

    Cussing is also a big deal in our home and something which is NEVER allowed in our home. I do also feel that you have a point of not going to the other parent – it was still one’s child who made the choice to cuss or use that word although it was taught to her/him by someone else. If my child cuss and was taught that by someone else, I would punish my child because he/she made the choice to use it.
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  13. 14

    I think you handled it just fine.

  14. 15

    Ugh…”language” or no…sounds like that mother was just looking to place the blame for her child’s behavior. I think there’s a way to approach another mother about something – even along those lines – but it sounds like she came at you in a very accusatory manner. This sounds like a smaller example, but if that mother continues to blame others for what her child is doing, she’s certainly not doing her child any favors, either.
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  15. 16

    When the mom told you, you should have giggled and said, “Oh that’s so cute!”
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  16. 17
    Mary Beth Elderton says:

    My son learned the words from me while he was still in his car seat and I was driving the Houston freeways. The key is to teach them when and where it is okay and appropriate. Sheesh! Over reaction much?

  17. 18

    I completely agree with you! I wouldn’t have punished my child for something like this either. Kids being kids. I just can’t imagine running to another parent to tell them their kid taught my kid a bad word lol (of coarse, like you said, I would if it was something SERIOUS going on.. just not over a bad word). I’d talk to my child about what is okay and what isn’t for us/our family/our home.

  18. 19

    I think this is exactly where bullying starts. Parents refuse to take responsibility for their own children’s behavior and instead pass it off on other parents and other kids. “Well my kid wouldn’t be a bully if your kid wasn’t such a wuss!”

    These people need to mind their own business and butt their “apples” out of yours.
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  19. 20

    Great post! I actually have a bit of a potty mouth and I’m worried what my daughter might say shortly, but you’ve really put it in perspective. I completely agree with your handling and I feel that parent is out of line with their approach. I’d want to know, maybe, but that’s what kids do! Then again, maybe not. I guess I just don’t feel what Lili did is a huge deal and you’re talk with her, in my opinion, is sufficient.
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  20. 21

    I think you handled it just fine – the bigger deal you make of it, the more they do it.
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  21. 22

    I agree with your policy on cursing.

    And although your kids KNOW curse words, it wasn’t YOUR daughter getting in trouble for cursing in school… she obviously knows when it’s inappropriate.