I have a question – at what age do you allow your child to start swearing? The adults in my household have some major potty-mouths and while we try (sort of) to keep it g-rated around the little ones the rest of the time we sound like the Osbourns. J is fifteen and told me to fuck off about three times yesterday. I know that all of you with your little ankle bitters are totally horrified that something so vile will someday be uttered by your little ones, but I was OK with it because it was in context. As in, it wasn’t your typical fifteen year-old teenage head case screaming “FUCK OFF MOM I HATE YOU!!” it was, “I’m trying to finish my homework so would you just fuck off already?” She’s a good kid, but I casually ask her if she’s a crack head every once in a while just to keep her on her toes. She just rolls her eyes and tells me to fuck off. According to 20/20 all kids who end up crack heads start off good kids, so I’m just practicing due diligence.
Every time J swears I tell her to stop swearing, but clearly she knows I don’t care because she tells me to fuck off when I say that. Should I care? I don’t. Is it all that bad that I don’t really care? I'm not sure. She doesn’t gratuitously swear (at least not around me), and the rest of her vocabulary is pretty impressive for a child that age. I heard her call her friend a troglodyte the other day, so obviously her potty-mouth hasn’t compromised her ability to use more sophisticated words when insulting people.
J did, however, get kicked out of homeroom the other day for telling a girl to fuck off because she’s stupid. The girl in question (part of the ‘Lu-Lu Lemon crowd’ as J calls them) did not know what an inauguration was, and was making fun of J who was trying to lead the class in a discussion about how important the impending American inauguration of Obama is to Canada. Granted, your average 15 year-old girl is a lot more focused on trying to find a way to meet the Jonas Brothers than she is on who our political leaders are, but J is the type of person who feels it necessary to enlighten the stupid. Should she have chosen a more constructive way to prove her point? Probably. But she didn’t get kicked out of class because she was wrong, she got kicked out for using the world ‘fuck’. Not appropriate for high school, but neither is being fifteen years-old and never having heard the word ‘inauguration’ before. Still, I was initially mad until J explained that the “fuck, you’re stupid” comment came after the Lu-Lu Lemon girl asked if inauguration was a basketball term. “Fuck, you’re stupid” suddenly seemed very appropriate to me.