On Children and Swearing

My children have learned to speak, and along the way they’ve learned words that seemingly have power. They know their “potty talk” like poop, caca, pee, and wiener. They also know, and have used (accurately) hell, damn, shit, bitch, and fuck. I’ve used all of them in their presence. My wife doesn’t like those words (as swear words, she uses “bitch” scientifically), but they don’t bother me one whit. Do we [coercively] prohibit our children from using them? Of course not. I simply explain to my kids that certain people, like mommy, don’t like to hear those words, so it would be courteous to not use them around her. The potty talk is much more common than the swear words, but they’re pretty good at watching what they say around others that might take offense. I do likewise. And that’s today’s two cents.


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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.