They hear it in music, on TV, in the school yard and at home. It seems that the use of profanity is a little more “laxed” these days. Is it fair to tell teens that they cannot repeat what they hear in day-to-day life?
I’m not going to lie, I’m always quite shocked when I hear teens swearing freely in the presence of their parents and other adults. This is a touchy subject and I’m not here to judge anyone. I know that as parents we all have to pick out battles with teens very carefully. I do think that people need to have an open mind. If parents allow their teens to swear, that is their choice. The fact that a teen swears is not always a reflection of bad parenting. Anyone who has raised a teen should know that if they have their mind set on swearing regardless what you say, they are going to swear regardless of what you say. If this is the case, then hopefully there is an opportunity to discuss when filters must be used in order to respect everyone they encounter. Teaching respect is the key.
When I was a teen, I would never even THINK about thinking about swearing around my parents, let alone AT them. Yikes!! Is all I have to say! Did I swear? Absolutely... like a sailor, with my “cool” teen friends, but I would never ever let a bomb drop within my parents earshot! Heck, I didn’t even swear once around my father until I was 29! I let the “Eff” Bomb drop when I was talking about his medical treatment. When I realized I said it I immediately smacked my own mouth! LOL My dad just looked at me and laughed. “I think you’re old enough” he said!
As an adult, I will admit that I do have a potty mouth on occasion and YES, even in front of the kids... AND my mouth can be especially extra potty when I’m driving or having some drinks (but I never drink and drive)! When I do let some bombs drop... I do apologize. The daughter usually gives me a stern reminder that I am “making the devil stronger” when I swear. I have no idea where she learned that, but I’m assuming it was from school. LOL As much as possible, I try to use creative substitutes for certain words such as “Eff”, “Effer”, “Frig”, “Son of a Mama”, “Beeyatch” or “for the LOVE OF.... (whatever comes to mind)”. I know... they aren’t that creative, but I try to get used to saying the substitutes as much as possible!!
Personally, I’m not a fan of teens swearing and I don’t think it’s really necessary, but I have not had to enforce that fact. My boys (20 and 17) do not typically swear in front of me or around me and I hope that they will never swear AT me... if they know what is good for them!! There have been times when they are super upset at something (not me) or times when friends are around and they let a little #@$%!&@! slip. When that happens, I will usually joke about it by saying something witty like: “Do you kiss mama with that mouth?!?” or “Who raised you?!” or “Whaaaat (very high pitched) did you just say sir?!” or “Get me the soap!”... and I leave it at that. Then I get an apology and if their friends are around, they usually get a little chuckle out of it and say stuff like: “Ohhhh! YOU are in trouble now!” or something to that effect. Do I or would I ever wash a child’s mouth out with soap?? Absolutely not! However, I have not had to deal with a child who is super disrespectful in that way, so I can’t really judge people who do.
In conclusion, if teens feel that they are mature enough to swear then they should also be mature enough to know that it is important to respect those around them and know when to turn the filter ON. However, if a teen is swearing like a guest on the uncensored Jerry Springer show at me or around me, especially in the presence of young children, I will probably politely ask them if it’s really necessary, ask them to stop and ask them IF they have ever heard of swearing bootcamp, with a raised eye brow and hand on hip! =) LOL