By: Ann Papayoti
Why do you talk that way at all?
It won’t be easy, but you can learn how to stop cursing so much in front of your children.
As a mother of Millennial and Gen-Z boys, I think I know why I may slip a curse word every now and then.
It’s understandable why so many parents are concerned abot cursing and foul language.
With as much time as I’ve spent in hockey arenas and on the sidelines of soccer, baseball, and football games — not to mention trying to be cool and play a video game with one of them from time to time — I’ve certainly been exposed to a few.
And then there’s “entertainment.”
With the stay-at-home restrictions due to COVID-19 and the irresistible binging of Netflix and Apple TV, my ears have been awakened to just how uncensored the streaming world of entertainment actually is — and I was worried about what I would see.
I was stuck in 1999! Violence is so yesterday. Seems we’ve been desensitized to that for a while.
Now, my boys would tell you they got instant eyebrow lifts and electric-shock treatments from hearing me speak this way, as I’m a parent who has always been strict with language.
In fact, they’ve each had their mouths washed out with their choice of flavored glycerin soap on more than one occasion.
And just like in the movie A Christmas Story, it would be for the “F” word — the forbidden one, the no hall pass, no excuses, unacceptable-in-our-home curse word.
So, why was I, now, dropping “F” bombs like a Netflix star? It’s simply science.
The science of cursing and bad language.
What goes in, will come out — i.e., input equals output
And because I understand this law of energy, it’s also why I’m so strict with my kids. If I allow them to casually curse, it would become their way of speaking.
It would become a habit that they may not want or may not serve them well later in life.
Another thing I’ve learned from sitting on the sidelines and in the arenas is this — how you practice is how you will perform.
So, what are you putting into your brain that’s coming out of your mouth in front of your kids?
If your goal is to learn how to stop cursing so much in front of your children, you likely need to check your exposure to the people, places, and things that feed your mental energy every day.
Who and what exactly are you reading, listening to, and watching?
Is there someone or something that you are exposed to that is filling your brain with curse words? A boss? A co-worker? A friend? A celebrity? An influencer?
Words are powerful. Words and the way they are strung together and used to create visual meaning and emotional impact are seeping into your subconscious, becoming part of your vernacular, and just when you least expect it —wham!
There they come, sailing out of your mouth like, yep, a sailor, as they say.
Think about it. As a child, you learned language by hearing others speak. You began imitating them. You’re doing the same now.
So, who do you want to be to your children and who do you want your children to be, when it comes to being communicators?
Whomever your greatest influencer is, know this — you’re the greatest influencer in your child’s life, up until they reach their teens.
But even then, the bonds you’ve created, the boundaries you’ve put in place, the attention you pay to them, and the example you provide will carry through.
Don’t believe me? Ask a teen.
With that said, here are 3 steps to take if you want to stop cursing in front of your children.
1. Stop cursing.
Period. Remember: How you practice is how you will perform.https://4e4c7b4983f220a9937ba5fcc6868487.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
If you curse in front of others, you will curse in front of your children.
2. Start practicing self-awareness and self-monitoring.
Just like you pay attention to your children, pay attention to yourself. Have curse words replaced your adjectives for everything?
Just like a public speaker who fills gaps with “um” as a habit, have you created a habit of using a particular curse word to describe anything and everything? Are you desensitized to it?
Or is it only when you’re upset? Or when you’re excited?
Now that I think about it, the “F” word can be used as at least six different parts of speech. Building your awareness will allow you to monitor your usage.
Perhaps you’ll decide to only use curse words as one part of your speech, like when something hurts (an interjection).
That’s the only time no one has to pay the swear jar (a.k.a., Mom’s Dream Vacation Fund) at our house.
3. Limit the source.
That requires your own personal boundaries on what you allow on your playlist and watchlist. If a person is the source, as much as you can, limit your exposure to them.
You don’t necessarily have to abstain from any entertainment you enjoy, but you may need to limit your exposure to the uncut.
I remember my parents both smoked when I was a young child. They were very open and honest about their desire to quit.
My brother and I deserved Emmy Awards for our stellar performances in the back seat of our ’62 Chevy Impala with our over-dramatic coughing — our endearing way of encouraging them towards their goal.
They did, in fact, quit smoking, and neither my brother nor I grew up to be smokers.
Remember, children learn what they live.
Recognize the source (the input) of your cursing, the reason for the output, and change the channel if you don’t like the show.
By the way, I chose Mandarin orange-flavored glycerin soap for myself and am planning to watch something squeaky clean on Disney+.