Before I start writing this I would like to warn you that during this post, I do explicitly swear. So, if you’re not comfortable with it, then you should probably not continue reading. Although, partly, the reason why I feel I have to write that is why I’m writing this post.
A story that my family always re-tell about me is a time when I swore as a toddler. My Dad was a big swearer (seriously, every second word he ever said would be ‘fuck’) so I learnt it from him. In fact, almost every one of my siblings swears a lot and I think my Dad is who influenced it, but I don’t mind.
That ‘famous’ story that always gets re-told is that when I was a toddler I dropped some toys that I was playing with and my sister tried to help me pick them back up. Without hesitation, I pointed my finger at her and said, “You can piss off and fuck off an ‘all”. My family all froze in shock but laughed it off. To us, swearing isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t automatically have bad connotations but they were shocked at how I reacted and suddenly swore for no reason. In that situation I was in the wrong but not for swearing. The part I should have been told off for was my sister trying to kindly help me and me telling her to go away – that’s the rude part. The swearing shouldn’t be the problem here – the intent behind what I was saying should, and that sums up how I feel about swearing. Swear words aren’t automatically bad or rude, it’s the intent behind them that can be.
In reality, swear words don’t actually have any meaning in our language and we are the ones who put meaning onto them whenever we use one. Swearing can be just as positive as it can be nasty.
Much like almost every other person, my partner was raised to think that swear words were bad and had bad meaning, but that’s not how we’re raising Joshua.
I use swear words to express how I feel in a situation. I use them in both bad and good situations to enhance what I’m saying. Me and my partner will call each other ‘cunt’, ‘twat’ and many other names daily, but they are in no way a negative thing for us. We use them with irony or to actually tell each other how much we love each other.
Joshua isn’t afraid to tell you to “bugger off” and he’s either saying it to make you laugh by being cheeky or because he wants to be left alone. None of these reasons are wrong, bad or rude. He is either trying to make you laugh or tell you to leave him alone – the latter should be respected. If I’m invading his personal space and he doesn’t want to be touched or interacted with, fair enough. If Joshua ever used a swear word in a bad way, he wouldn’t be told off for using it but he would definitely be told off for being rude to someone. The intent and meaning behind his words is what will get him in trouble, not the use of swear words themselves.
Joshua doesn’t swear as such at the moment, but he is only two and a half years old. But I would be surprised if he doesn’t end up being a little swearer with how much swearing he hears. I won’t ever tell him off for swearing or discourage it, the only time I would ever say that he perhaps shouldn’t is when he goes to school. The reason why is because I don’t want him to get told off and made upset for no reason.
They are just words that actually have almost no meaning. When you take “fuck” out of any situation it can represent a variety of meanings. It can mean “fuck, I enjoyed that”, “fuck off” or can even be another word for sex. It doesn’t have a single meaning which shows just how flexible swear words are and how positive they can actually be.
Would you, or do you, ever let your child swear? What are your thoughts on swearing in general?