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To wonder why my sister in law allows her kids to swear?

(37 Posts)
Freddiesfling Wed 08-Nov-17 12:29:34

Bit of background... my sister in law and I are very close, our children are similar ages and go to the same schools.
Our oldest boys are 11 and have just started secondary school, our daughters are 8 and 7 and our youngest children are 4 and 3.
She is a devoted mother and seem to bring her children up with good values and morals for the most part , however she swears a lot in front of her children and they in turn swear back including the 4 year old. These words are often on the extreme side of swearing also.

My children spend a lot of time with her children and they know I won't condone swearing of any sort... not that they or I are perfect but I don't think it's acceptable.
However the children's swearing have started being noted by others and when comments are made my sis in law will tell the children off halfheartedly and then say later they are just words so what's the issue.
I told her that I don't approve and things may get worse as the children get older but it doesn't seem to phase her and I have started avoiding her a little bit which is hard as she's my husbands sister!
My main issue is I don't want my children to be tarred with the same brush as both my oldest children and hers are very close!
Is there anything I can say/do or should I keep out of it?

Freddiesfling Wed 08-Nov-17 12:59:01

Any advice greatfully received!

swarley Wed 08-Nov-17 13:05:41

I get where you are coming from... its not nice to hear a child using 'bad' language, but its not really that big a deal in the scheme of things. Im always a bit baffled when people get so worked up over a swear word.
If the child in question is using this language in an aggressive or offensive way then yes i would probably distance my children too, but if its used in just day to day conversation i wouldnt see it as an issue.

AuntLydia Wed 08-Nov-17 13:06:19

I think the most you can do is ask sister in law not to swear around you and your kids as you don't like it. I don't think you can try and push her to change her own parenting in her own home.

What do your kids say about it?

5foot5 Wed 08-Nov-17 13:21:59

If they are used to hearing their Mum swear then there is a danger that they will grow up without a "filter" and might get in to trouble and cause offence by swearing at an inappropriate time or in the wrong company.

Quite likely your DC, well the older ones anyway, are quite familiar with these words but because of your stance on swearing they will know that these words are not always appropriate so they will grow up being able to filter.

Freddiesfling Wed 08-Nov-17 13:28:17

Twice this month she has been called into two different school cos her children have sworn one called his friend a fucking prick and the other was was a naughty rhyme that made up containing swear words so they are doing it through aggression and everyday play too!

Wolfiefan Wed 08-Nov-17 13:32:19

Because swearing is seen as a normal thing at home. It's not something they see as inappropriate.
My kids wouldn't be spending time with them.

AuntLydia Wed 08-Nov-17 13:34:10

If school are raising it and she still isn't changing anything then I doubt she'd take any notice of you! The insults would worry me - which adult is calling people a 'fucking prick' - that's horrible and way different to a kid picking up on the word shit when a parent drops something or whatever.

Booboostwo Wed 08-Nov-17 13:34:30

I use swear words in front of my DCs (6 and 3) but teach them that it's not the word that matters but the intention. If a child says "For fuck's sake" when a toy breaks I don't think it's a big deal. But swearing at a person with the intention of demeaning them in wrong. However, it isn't the intention that matters, not the word. A bully can say "You look lovely today" with a sneering tone that clearly intends the remark to be demeaning, so I think it's more important to learn about what we try to convey with words rather than banning certain words as such.

My 6yo is old enough to understand that socially some people object to swearing in any context, e.g. she understands she mustn't swear at school and has never done so.

So it really depends on how your SIL and her DCs use the words and what they intend by them.

Booboostwo Wed 08-Nov-17 13:35:51

Sorry cross post. The problem than I said not the swearing as such but the derogatory and demeaning way her DCs talk to others.

MyBrilliantDisguise Wed 08-Nov-17 13:37:05

Why would you swear in front of your children, Booboostwo? Can't you see what a disadvantage it is to the child if he uses language like that when he's young?

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 08-Nov-17 13:40:00

Swearing is normal, it is only inappropriate in some scenarios, some people choose to teach that by attempting to hide the swearing completely from children in the hope they don't even know the terms, such that by the time they do they are habituated against use by not knowing.

Others choose to teach the swearing and at the same time let them learn / teach them the times when it's not appropriate, this of course means that when the kids choose to swear they actually swear, many people think this is worse, than the kid without the vocabulary who uses other words for the same thing, so you'll get kids saying when they want to express anger against another:
You're a shit or You're ugly, depending on your viewpoint one is worse than the other.

You're SIL and you simply have different opinions about which. Your only option, as above is to indicate that when around you, you find swearing inappropriate and hope they value the situation enough to change the behaviour. That of course introduces other risks though, as they will no longer feel as comfortable and happy in your company.

Mamabear4180 Wed 08-Nov-17 13:44:04

I've got a friend like this, absolutely lovely mum and we've been friends since we were in junior school.The only thing about her parenting which bothers me when we're together is she turns the air blue. I mention it now and again if it's a 'proper' swear word like fuck or shit but ignore things like crap or bloody etc. My eldest DD is 14 now and never been influenced by my friend and her DC. Funny enough her DC don't swear very often, it's just her!

In answer to your post op, I'd say if it's bothering you and affecting your own DC then you can ask her to stop when you're all together. That's reasonable.

FrancisCrawford Wed 08-Nov-17 13:52:09

So one of her DC has called an other child a “fucking prick”?, got the into trouble for it and she doesn’t see there is a problem?

I think you’d be spitting in the wind if you try to change her. In all likeliehood her poor DC regard this method of communication as everyday language.

notquiteruralbliss Wed 08-Nov-17 13:56:31

You can't do anything about the swearing, but you can ask them not to swear at you or your DCs (we are a family who swear a lot but there's a huge difference between calling someone a fucking cunt and saying oh fuck when you have forgotten to something) and you can use the fact that the cousins get into trouble st school etc as a way to remind your DCs about the need to be context sensitive.

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 08-Nov-17 13:59:34

I dont think she will listen to you. The best you can hope for is natural consequences where her children are punished at school and don’t like it so curb their swearing. As for being tarred with the same brush. Your kids need to just be themselves and they know full well in your family, you don’t speak to people in this way.

usualGubbins Wed 08-Nov-17 14:00:22

I think it's really important that children learn that swearing isn't appropriate in many environments. Personally I'd be quite affronted if a nurse, teacher or professional swore at me - it's simply not necessary if you have a good enough vocabulary. No, you can't hide them away from swearing, but if it's not used in the home then they will realise that there are times and places where it shouldn't happen.

Ragwort Wed 08-Nov-17 14:01:08

It's different parenting styles and it is very, very difficlt when you don't agree on something. I really dislike swearing and would never swear (even on Mumsnet grin).

I remember when I was involved in our local playschool and a child frequently swore (the F word) - we constantly said 'we don't use that word here' and her reply was 'it's what Mummy says all the time' grin.

Freddiesfling Wed 08-Nov-17 14:04:44

By the way I am no angel and swear now and again I'm far from perfect but what gets me is her children use it all the time sometimes as normal speech and other times when upset and angry and used as an insult!

PricillaQueenOfTheDesert Wed 08-Nov-17 14:07:47

My parents NEVER swore in front of me and my brother. I looked such a fool when I didn’t know what Knob meant and I was at secondary school! A guy called Glen who was ginger and referred to as Copper Knob, i presumed Knob meant Head! Uhh o I’m squirming just at the memory.

At 4 and 3 I wouldn’t want them know any expletives, but at 8 I’d be using words like Bugger, damn or flipping heck. Don’t shield them completely or they risk not knowing how to use expletives at all and who wants Ned Flanders from The Simpson’s style of “swearing”

Freddiesfling Wed 08-Nov-17 14:13:07

Oh god there ls no chance of my children turning out like that.. they are pretty wild and streetwise!

DixieNormas Wed 08-Nov-17 14:17:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ttbb Wed 08-Nov-17 14:18:16

Children will pick up bad habits no matter who they are talking to whether it's fink (instead of thing), fuck or, pardon. The best you can do is teach your children how to speak and make it clear that just because someone else does something doesn't mean that it is correct. Tbf I can imagine a lot of linguistic habits far worse than a few curses.

MrsPinkCock Wed 08-Nov-17 14:34:43

She won’t listen and she won’t learn. She’s the source of the problem and until she addresses that she can’t expect the DC to follow suit.

DH and I swear like troopers but we don’t do it in front of the DC (except when the odd one has slipped out when we’ve injured ourselves!) we told them that they may hear swearing but they absolutely do not repeat it. They are 11-14 and I’ve never heard any of them swear.

I used to swear as a child because my parents did it from me being young - I could never understand why they disciplined me for it when they did it so regularly themselves. And the discipline didn’t work. I kept on doing it because they weren’t leading by example.

allegretto Wed 08-Nov-17 14:40:10

I don't think it's fair to always blame the parents. I have three children - two don't swear but the littlest swears a lot! He loves language and he loves swearing. He is friends with a Russian boy at school and they teach each other swear words in different languages. blush If you heard him in the street you might think he got it from his parents but I really don't think he has - and if we draw attention to it, it gets worse rather than better.

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