Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t Mind if My Child Learns to Curse

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started to watch my words. Not swearing around children seems to be a widespread social agreement, so my first instinct was to repress any bad words. I even looked for a chart to help me with that. On a normal day, I don’t really say that many curse words, but sometimes it is the best avenue to express a feeling or an idea. Excitement, frustration, joy, grief, or even love. Think about it. Cursing can be a tool, and like any tool, it needs to be practiced to be well applied.

Today, what keeps me up at night is not that my son will say a bad word in an inappropriate circumstance. I worry he will be racist. I worry he will be sexist. I worry he will be homophobic. Now that he is born, I don’t worry when people say a “bad word,” but I am mortified at any racist/sexist/homophobic joke or comment.

I find myself reading and thinking about philosophy and sociology a lot. If I am going to be careful with the example I can be for him, then surely omitting curse words is the least of my worries. If a baby is still full potential, why perpetuate social pacts mindlessly? Is it really our one dream to live in a world without curse words?

Of course, it is impossible to shield a child from hearing anything we believe is bad. I want my son to feel like he can ask if he doesn’t understand the meaning of a word or expression, not to repeat it because it was repressed and that feeling of it being prohibited made it funny or compelling. I rather spend my energy asking people to not treat others disrespectfully than asking them to use “shucks” when they spill coffee all over their work (or whatever situation calls for a well-applied curse word).

Ana is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Out of passion for learning, she started traveling to all sorts of different places. Fifteen countries later, she has now settled in Baton Rouge and works for a local architecture firm. Graduate school at LSU presented her not only with tools to advance in architecture but also with a deeper understanding of the culture and geography of Louisiana. It is a fascinating state, and Baton Rouge, as its capital, does not disappoint. Ana is currently starting her journey to a country she has never been to before: motherhood (except if you count a dog, a cat, and a fish). You can find her coming up with a myriad of house projects, trying new restaurants in town, park-hopping with her beagle, or enjoying a good movie with her husband.

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