I Let My Kids Use Shed Words

photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc

photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc

I had a work colleague stop me last week and say “I overheard your Daughter be rude in front of you… I’m surprised she spoke like that.”  My response? “My kids are allowed to use shed-words in appropriate situations.” 

She looked a little astonished, to say the least.

When something pisses my kids off enough though, they’re allowed to vent – shed words and all.

okay, i admit to being a little unorthodox in my parenting

I probably need to explain the term ‘shed words’ here.  It’s a very Australian phrase which translates to ‘swear words’. The words you use in the shed, when you hit your thumb with a hammer.  You get the idea?!

Now there are provisos to the use of shed words.  The kids now that:

  • they’re not allowed to use shed-words in company
  • they’re not allowed to use shed-words which are directed toward either of their parents or a person of authority
  • and they’re not allowed to use shed-words in general conversation

(Shed words used by our family are fuck, fucking, shithead, asshole and dickhead.  By no stretch of the imagination is the c-word ever allowed. Ever. And I get the impression, after a little internet searching of swear words, that our shed-words are pretty tame by comparison to what is out there.)

When the kids were younger, Husband and I had an unspoken agreement that you didn’t swear in front of them.  As they’ve gotten older though, I in particular, have become a self-confessed potty-mouth (clarification coming: only 2 short years ago, I was offended by the excessive use of swearing.  I still am.  I work with kids who think nothing of telling you to go fuck yourself without a blink of an eye.  That’s not okay. At all.)  Now, if I’ve had a bad day (of which there’s been a few of late) I come home and I vent to my ever patient Husband – shed words and all.  He smiles, he nods, I vent and I feel a little better.

why should it not be the same for my kids?

They have bad days too, don’t they?  Such-and-such was a right-royal-pain in class and disrupted their learning to the point of boiling-over frustration, but they’re not allowed to say so…?  I don’t think so.  If you think so-and-so was a disrespectful pain-in-the-ass, you can let me know.  Get it out, vent, clear that negative energy and get on with the rest of your day.

but it doesn’t mean that they get to cuss whenever they want

For my kids it works a treat.  Mum lets rip whenever she feels it is deserved (all but rule 1 applies to me… after all I’m a grown-up and am responsible for my own actions), so they can do the same.  They honestly don’t do it all that often, but when they do, they know that it is allowed and they know their boundaries.  They know there will be consequences (and oh boy, there’s a whole other post able to be written here) if they break the rules outlined above.

so yes, my kids use shed words and i permit it
does that make me a bad parent?

I don’t think so.  If anything I think it makes me a better parent.  I’m teaching them boundaries, respect and appropriate social behaviours.  Which in turn is going to make them better adults.

Your thoughts on letting kids swear?

Do you let your kids swear or are such words completely taboo?  I’ll leave you with this question:

if we teach our kids when these types of words are able to be used, are we not educating a more polite next generation?
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3 Responses to I Let My Kids Use Shed Words

  1. Tasha Chawner March 26, 2014 at 7:05 PM #

    And sharing these wise words from a dear articulate (yet sometimes potty mouth) friend:

    Our creativity and individuality comes out when we limit our swearing and use it for max effect when fully self expressed with other intelligent vocab… being a lazy limited vocab potty mouth, even when selective in delivery, is not so pleasant.

  2. jade March 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM #

    ♡ this! swearing is not a problem if people understand in which situations it is and isn’t appropriate. i firmly believe that it is the intent of the words that is more important than the actual words themselves.

    • Tasha Chawner March 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM #

      I couldn’t agree more Jade – the intent is often more hurtful than the actual words used.

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