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DH swearing around baby...

17 replies

JayTree · 14/08/2002 21:42

I have 14 month old who is just beginning to pick up language and sounds. My dh is a wonderful supportive guy who really pulls his weight around the house - so I feel really guilty criticising him. However, despite being an educated well mannered bloke his language around the home is appalling, It has never bothered me before but I am now constantly irritated by it. It seems that every sentence is full of expletives. I am really worried that our baby will pick it up easily.
I have approached him about it on several occasions saying that I am concerned about him passing it on etc. but he just retorts that she isnt talking yet and she is just as likely to pick up on my constant stressful mood thanks to my excessive worrying!
Do other people worry about this sort of thing or am I being too neurotic and paranoid??
I feel like I am hitting my head against a brick wall on this one. We rarely ever argue but this has become a huge issue for us.
I used to be calm and laid back and am now permanently worrying about the smallest of things. I have a horrible suspicion that I am turning into the stereotypical nagging house wife. AAAAGH.

OP posts:

WideWebWitch · 14/08/2002 22:02

Jaytree, I used to swear like a trooper until I had ds and since then I haven't exactly turned into Pollyanna but I do watch my language. That's not to say that ds hasn't picked up the odd unsavoury expression in the car "why's he a tossard mummy?" - thankfully misheard but I sympathise. Mmmm. Not sure what else you can do apart from wait and see if your DH decides to tone it down without being nagged further. Since you've said your piece I think that's probably all you can do atm. It would annoy me too though.


threeangels · 14/08/2002 22:24

Hi JayTree. I will say that I did say the (please excuse me for saying this)the ass word one time and thats all it took for my 21 mo old boy to repeat it. When I heard it I immediatley drew his attention to something else so he would not try and repeat it again. I thought if his mind was directed right away he would forget. He did. Havent heard the word again. It only takes one time for a child at this age or even younger to pick up on a word. Im learning to be more careful. I really dont want him to be running around using bad words or anywhere epecially church which were always at because it to me makes people think the parents use these words in their home and I personally hate that feeling. I have myself thought this. It may take a couple naughty words from your 14 mo old to make your dh realize he really has to work on the problem. I know it is hard because I have been there many years ago. Sometimes you get so used to the words that it becomes like a natural part of your language. Something hard to control. Hopefully hell get a hold on it sooner. You are not nagging. No one wants their toddler to be using naughty words so young or even ever. Good luck on tackling this problem.


Loobie · 14/08/2002 23:00

i did and still(ashamedly) do swear like the proverbal trooper and neither my ds have copied me and they are now 6 and 4 so yours may not either if its not made a big thing out of


tigermoth · 15/08/2002 09:30

My sons each learned to talk in different ways and at different rates. Unfortunately my youngest son, aged just three, has a great ear for negatives. His first phrase, aged 1, was 'oh dear'

My dh and I both swear from time to time, especially in the car, though we both try not to. However, my 3 year old has already picked up a swearing vocabulary - luckily he can't say the words too clearly, but I have cringed when I've heard him in public. All I can do is distract him immediately, and double my efforts to clean up my act and tell dh about the incident. My oldest son was more immune and rarely repeated the odd bad words he had heard from us, so we didn't perceive it as a big problem. I don't see us swearing as a severe case of bad parenting, but I don't want my son to attract bad reactions by others when we are in public and later on at school.

Jaytree I think you are right to be concerned. Babies know far more words than they can say and it stands to reason that before they can talk they have to listen lots. If I could lend my toddler to your dh, he'd soon see what can result


Joe1 · 15/08/2002 09:34

I dont like swearing around my ds either, I have never been one for swearing and hardly ever swear but dh does say the occassional word but is getting better the more he sees ds copy words and actions, grandad is another I have to keep reminding. However, I did stub my toe and say 'Oh bugger' which he promptly repeated and the following day said it over and over for a while but hasnt said it since.


Enid · 15/08/2002 11:02

Oh dear, dd has started saying 'Oh bo***s' (she learnt it from dp, its one of his pet words). Unfortunately the first time she said it we fell about laughing. Now we ignore it or say 'Oh bother' and I hope hope hope she'll forget it before nursery starts in September!!


oxocube · 15/08/2002 12:13

Both my d.h and I swear from time to time and the children know its wrong to copy!! I occasionally hear one of them saying "bloody" but they would know better than to do so in front of us. Terrible double standard ,though. My d.s (7) is now starting to pick me up on some things saying "its really not nice, Mummy" which makes me feel a little abashed To my shame though, when my d.d was about 3, I did hear her talk about something being "flocking stupid" so they don't miss much !!


monkey · 15/08/2002 15:14

My dh also swears and blasphemes a lot in front of the kids (I did swear loads too, but I suppose because becasue I'm with them all the time it's been easier to stop). Anyway, I've asked him to watch his language loads of times - luckily he's always agreed with me rather than argued about it, but he still swears...

Like threeangels said tho' - they can hear a word just once & repeat it, so maybe if dh swears and dd repeats it it might shock him into action & tidying up his speech in front of her.


Tinker · 15/08/2002 15:20

I think it's the tone that the word is said in that they pick up on, rather than the word. If you said f* in a neutral or sing-song voice, I wonder if they would pick that up? Who wants to volunteer?


ScummyMummy · 15/08/2002 15:49

I think you're right, Tinks. All the adults in our family have speech that is liberally peppered with expletives - though generally delivered in a fairly mild and everyday tone. But actually my boys don't seem to notice too much.. they pick up on heatedness not swearing per se. I agree with them. Personally I'm not offended by swearing unless there's malice behind it.

However, I do try and moderate my language around my boys, purely because I don't want thoughtless people thinking that they're rude and evil when really it's us, their parents and grandparents and aunties, who are stupid for allowing them to pick up language that can offend before they have enough impulse control or moral fibre to know when such words are appropriate! Once they know when and how to swear- ie: not in front of people who think it's rude and evil and/or would be upset and offended- I don't care what language they use.


JayTree · 15/08/2002 21:39

Thanks for all your comments everyone - I am relieved to see that it isn?t just me out there who is concerned about it. Your ancedotes have all made me feel a lot more relaxed about my concerns!
I think you are probably right, Tinker and Scummymummy - the tone of voice must play a huge part in their reaction. That has made me feel a lot better.
I guess it is really worth it to keep bad language to a minimum around children but I have to be a little bit more realistic. She will undoubtedly pick up some swearing from one source or another and most likely sooner rather than later. I will just have to deal with it calmly when it happens and not get too hung up on it. I am going to make a big effort not to turn it into a bigger issue than it is, keep my sense of humour with my husband and nag on more of a low key !! When they said parenting is like tight rope walking they weren?t kidding...

OP posts:

MABS · 15/08/2002 21:53

Interesting to read this thread as I could have written the first post myself Jaytree. Dh and I have had numerous (colourful) rows about this but it never stops him . We knew it had got bad when dd,then 4, told the school photographer to b*er off NO she didn't want her picture taken.

(great to be told this at the school gate of a little pre prep school with lots of snobby parents...)


JayTree · 15/08/2002 22:54

Hehee - sorry MABS, but that is such a funny story! I really sympathise but it did me a lot of good to read your post!
I think a lot of my hang ups about bad language come from my parents whose rudest word ever uttered was "bother!" As a teacher I was often really appalled at the extreme language used casually by very young children and always said that my children would be different...oh well, b*&&€r it.

OP posts:

WideWebWitch · 15/08/2002 23:07

Jaytree, also just remembered where I got it wrong, big time: I reacted strongly the first time ds told me to "Shut up" and he therefore knows it is a good one to wind me up with. I don't say it but my ex in laws do (to each other, not to ds) and he spends quite a bit of time there. I don't know why but it gets to me more than any bad language could. Anyway, he now knows exactly what to say to get my (negative) attention so I definitely got it wrong there to start with...and he knows much worse but I never react other than to say 'don't say that please' so he doesn't bother with them much. He also sometimes says to me "don't say bloody mummy, it's rude and people will think you don't know any other words Could be worse! And when he does occassionally swear it's under his breath and appropriately. Not sure whether that's something to be pleased about or not...


Jbr · 15/08/2002 23:22

I think the thing about so-called "bad" language is context. I wouldn't expect anyone including a child who had seriously hurt themselves to say "oh dear that really hurt" but if they started swearing at people then that would concern me as would "pass me the f**ng remote control and I'll see what crap is on" or whatever.


ScummyMummy · 22/10/2002 17:15

Well, I take it all back! I've been outed as a bad mum by one of my brats... Nursery teacher- giggling- reported that he'd said something unrepeatable today and when questioned said "My Mummy says that... but only when she's very cross!" I hung my head in shame.


SoupDragon · 22/10/2002 17:35

I get worried when nursery comment on DS1s "wide and varied vocabulary". I think they're being complimentary ...

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