When I was small, my parents didn’t swaer around me or my sisters. I suppose it was the good parenting thing, as children are notorious for picking up phrases and words quite quickly once they reach a certain age. Even when I was older, the ‘f’ word was never used, and there were a whole host of other words that never ever featured. Years later I discovered that my Father certainly knows and will use on occasions the ‘f’ word. It’s just that he refrained from doing so around his children until long after we all passed 18.
More often these days I keep hearing foul mouthed parents with their little children in tow. These children will sadly become the foul mouthed future of our society. I remember living in Durham, and hearing the mother next door shouting to their child who could have only been no more than 8 “Put your f**king shoes on!”. Predictably, that evening when the child came back from school, he spent some time gleefully in the back garden repeating the phrase his mother had managed to ‘teach’ him that morning over and over again at high volume.
More recently I have heard through the paper walls that divide us from nextdoor, the same foul mouthed language being used when trying to get children ready for school. Is it only me that regards swearing at small and easily influenced children to be very bad parenting indeed? Whenever I am around my neice and nephew, I always am careful to modify my own language. I actually find myself doing what my parents did, and cutting out all those swaer words and slang which would raise eyebrows at playgroup if the little child started repeating them. The word ‘poo’ has been dusted off and brought out of retirement. What a strange word that is. At least children won’t be learning the words ‘shit’ and ‘turd’ off me.
Zoë tells me that I’m from a privelaged background, and I guess she is right. But it still doesn’t change the fact that teaching children foul language is very wrong and very bad parenting. It’s just a shame that it seems increasingly other people don’t share that view around their own children.