Sound Off! How Do You Disguise Bad Words?

03/17/2009 at 10:00 AM ET

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Every parent lives in fear of the moment their child will blurt out a “dirty” word. Whether it’s a curse word, something vulgar or an embarrassing phrase you don’t want repeated outside of the house, sometimes kids just say the darndest things.

So how do you keep them from learning bad words in the first place? Does your family have “code words” for certain phrases? Do you take great care not to expose your children to “bad words”? Or do you let your children speak as they please?

So here’s your chance to Sound Off! Tell us how you disguise bad words to your kids!


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Showing 83 comments

Jennifer on

Mother effer!! Cotton picker! Gal dang it! Shiz!!!

Krystal on

I do not censor myself around my children. I taught them from a young age there are words mommy’s and daddy’s use and some words that kids can use. My reasoning is that they will be exposed to it at some point and I’d rather layout the ground rules from the start.

Keis on

Whoa, @Jennifer. You might want to eliminate the “cotton picker” one. It’s has a history of racism attached to it in America.

Niki on

HA! I used to be a preschool teacher and when one of those “special words” would slip out-no matter how hard you try to not use them, every once in awhile, they do slip-we say “peanut butter” immediately after. Not ONCE did the kids catch the bad word… they thought it was hysterical that their teacher was yelling peanut butter!

lulu on

effen this or that. Ish instead of shi@&$. Mo flower.

brannon on

wow. my parents have recently spent so much time in the thinking chair for saying ‘stupid’ that we have gone to having grown up words (you have to be 25 to say them in my son’s mind :)) to help them out. not to mention bad words are even in children’s movies now and there are other words which may not be considered bad to some but i don’t allow my son to say. as i don’t expect he will never hear them, i try to tell him they are ok for adults but not for others. (on the cartoons i just tell him that its for their families to handle, he needs to worry about himself and respecting me…yada yada.) recently had a conflict with my dad saying damn and changing it to darn – better on his part but try to tell my son it has the same connotation🙂 tricky and no, i am not naive but i do teach and get tired of hearing children using adult language – in my mind, every time they tell me they said ‘shiz’ instead of its alternative i find very little difference!

Zaida on

I totally agree with Krystal.. To think for a second you could censor your child from anything really is silly I think. My daughter has heard those words im sure..I mean I certainly don’t go intentionally using them or whatever, but she knows the difference between big people words and not. I guess really the key is, when they pick it up and say it for the first time (because most of them do..usually at an “inaproprite” Is to not make a big deal out of it, but rather gently explain the difference between big people and little people words.

CTBmom on

While I try to not to say inappropriate words around my son, when I slipped…I simply explained to him that it was not a nice word and that he was not allowed to say it and I should not have said it either. When he did say a bad word, I would remind him he was not allowed to say it and then I gave him a word to replace it. When he was not quite 2 years-old, my sister accidentally said “Oh My God!” in front of him. The next day my son was happily playing with his blocks and knocked them down and squealed “Oh My God!”. I told him “that’s not a nice word to say…say “Oh My Goodness Gracious” instead. He grinned and said “Oh my goodneth gwaysheth!” I swear (no pun intended, lol) that was one of the cutest things ever!

madylane on

frick. jeez oh pete. holy rockets batman. shiznit. mofo.

Emily on

I stopped cussing at all now that I’m a mom. I figured I would slip up at some point and I would hate to hear a really bad word come out of any of kids’ mouths for any reason. Now, they have heard a few words because other people refuse to not say them, but they have yet to repeat anything.
I just think its trash talk, and if you have to worry about your kids hearing it, why bother even saying it? There are nicer things to be said.

Heather on

Growing up, everything from ‘shut up’ to the ‘f-word’ were considered off-limits and even into high school I had people teasing me (never harshly though – all in good fun) to ‘say a swear word!’ and I never wanted to or felt the need to. My parents used cover-up words like ‘sugar!’ or ‘God Bless America!’ (one of my mother’s most amusing when she was frustrated!) Certainly, I have heard the words in movies, music, and everyday life but I rarely use them. I think that kids are exposed to so much in today’s world that it just isn’t necesary for an ‘f-bomb’ to get dropped around a three-year-old. Its not preventing them from experiencing some amazing or enriching aspect of life and I’d much rather hear a “goodneth gwaysheth” come out of a child’s mouth than “sh*t!”

Bumbles on

Me and my partner went on holiday with his sister and husband and their 2 year old son. As this was a 2 week break together there was plenty of opportunity for 2 people who don’t live with a child to forget to cover up their language. So we spelt everything out, which got quite funny when trying to out do each other. They also used this tactic for as long as they could with discussing his milk at bedtime as it was always referred to as the M.I.L.K so he wouldn’t want it before his bath.

Meredith on

Keis, I don’t think Jennifer meant anything by saying “cotton picker” we can’t get too bent out of shape every time someone says something that offends us.

At any rate I try my best to avoid “bad words” when it comes to children, but sometimes it slips, as long as they know that they can’t say it. However, it is hard to convince them that they can’t say it, at least at first lol

Ann on

I don’t use swear words never have. When I drop something I say “oh no” why would I have to say “oh f***” what does that convey– nothing. Oh no implies I wished I hadn’t dropped it. It’s really easy to not swear.

j on

We’re more conscious of language now than before our daughter, but things do slip out and we explain it very much in the same way as Krystal … “grown ups sometimes use these words, but kids shouldn’t.” The thing we don’t censor is music, and right now her favourite is ‘The Clash.’ The other day she told my husband to “get off his *ss,” and I’m like “‘arse,’ Emeline, Joe Strummer says ‘arse.'”

normma on

my parents never really cursed around us, but when one of us kids said something, they (being professors) told us they were “adult” words and then proceeded to give a history lecture on how those words came to be. i remember being around seven or eight listening to the evolution of the word “damn”…it took away most of any of the appeal i thought the word had.

but funny story-years ago, my aunt was baby sitting us,and i guess her boyfriend forgot that there would be kids in the house, so he got home in a foul mood, complaining about some guy he worked with, and he starts off “i’d really like to f***ing…” before spotting us and stopping. but we didn’t hear him correctly, and thought that he had said “i’d really like a duck.” so now, whenever we’re in a seriously bad mood, we’ll say that in an angry tone. it’s too funny to stay angry when you’re growling “i’d really like a duck right now!”

Holly White on

I came up with some random words I told my son he could use at school if he was really angry so kids wouldn’t tell on him for having a potty mouth and he wouldn’t get in trouble with saying them in front of the teacher. Usually he will say ” You are a dot!” I used words like line, circle, plaid…:O It is funny to hear him say it-

Mrs Shhh on

Meredith and Jennifer, I have never before heard the phrase “cotton picker” to sustitute a bad word, could you please explain which one does it “disguise”? I do not think that phrase is nice for kids to hear as an interjection, but maybe I am getting it wrong.. As for my kids when something unexpected happens Daddy and I say oops, holly guacamole, or cheeseburgers!

Cassandra on

I grew up with bad words but I knew I was not allowed to say them. My mom is still going it with my 6-year old little brother. He knows what not to say, he says darn instead of damn, that kind of thing. I think its better for them to know the bad words and know they’re not supposed to say them then just shielding them all together.

Aurora mia on

Oh I have a lot to say about this. I work with special needs adults and have for many years. If I were to swear or use derogatory words, I could and would be fired. So, as a result, I dont use any. My hope is that when I use other words, I am helping my self as well as that consumer to choose other words. In my work situation, I believe it kind of holds us all to a higher standard. With my son, I wonder how it will go. We just dont swear in our house…altho, I cant say that in traffic and when my car breaks down that I can be so exact. We never use Stupid or Dumb or the dreaded “R” word ever. We use, Cheese and Rice, Holy Shoes, Holy Cats and Pajamas. My hope for my son is to teach him ways to express himself without resorting to hurtful words.

Becky on

This is not something I say, but thought it would be funny to include. Yesterday my 3 year old daughter was in the car with me and all of a sudden goes “You fugger mugger!”. Now, as horrible as that sounds, and I know what it sounds like, and she doesn’t hear that from her dad and I (she may hear other things, but we don’t say “that”), I was shocked and asked where she heard that and she said it’s from the movie “Robots”. I have to watch the movie to see, but she keeps saying “you fugger mugger” and it sounds bad. Actually when we got home she walked up to her dad and said that and he goes “WHAT did you just say?!” I had to jump in and explain. I had to warn her nanny today that if she says that, she is not saying what you think she is. It’s hard when they say things you don’t want them to because if you bring attention to it then they know it gets attention and they keep saying it, but it is hard to ignore.

HeatherR on

I tend to drop some 4 letter words here and there but I have explained to my sons (ages 4 & 7) that these are “grown up” words. They underdstand that this language is not for children to use. I told them that when they are making a mortgage payment, they can decide for themselves what type of language to use. Lol

Sarah on

When I’m around my nephew or my students I use “fudgesicks, freakin a, bollocks (they don’t even get it) or holy monkeys”

gigi on

thanks to MADAGASCAR……the whole house uses
“Sugar Honey Iced Tea!”

Carie on

I completely agree with Krystal and Zaida. My husband and his family cus maybe 5 times a year lol. I came from a family that could cus like sailors lol. I just made it a point to let my son know that those words were bad words and he should not say them. In a strange way listening to Greenday (which is one of his favorite bands) helped reinforce this. Whenever we listen to music that has bad words in it we simply make up different words to sing. For example, in the new All American Rejects song Gives you Hell..we substitute this phrase and say “Gives you a hug” or “Makes you smile”. This helps him use his imagination and reinforces that he shouldn’t say bad words. He has learned so well not to say bad words that I cannot say “Pooh” etc. around him.

Macy on

Here’s my question. Why are these words “adult” words…in other words, we, because we are “of age” can be immature and uncivilized? My view, and hate me if you will, is that everyone can decide to learn to express their emotions/feelings/viewpoints without resorting to gutter language. Let’s rise above, and raise children who also can express themselves with respect for themselves and others around them. Just because they will hear things on tv and out in the world, does not make it ok for anyone, child, or grown up to follow suit. I let my children know that using these types of words are not necessary to get their point across, and I have never had a problem with them wanting to use them. And trust me, I have NO problem expressing my distaste with something without dropping an f*bomb.

Louise on

When our son was aged 2 he picked up a very rude (but frequently used) Croatian/Serbian phrase from my husband and his friends/colleagues. One day our son said it very loudly in front of us whilst crashing his toy cars but I very sponteneously said “oh peaches and matches” which sounds very similar to the phrase and since then our son could be heard saying “peaches and matches” whenever he crashed his toy cars!

Aelys on

My mom would say “shrimp” instead of sh** so I picked that up – but then, she was also unconsciously cursing while driving so I picked that up too and in 2 languages nonetheless lol. I guess it’s OK to use the actual word sometimes so long as you explain to your kids it’s not correct to use them and corect them when they do (because we all know they’ll pick it up from someone else anyway)

Martha on

I guess I just don’t get it. What exactly makes these curse words in the first place? They may not have a particularly nice meaning, but neither does stupid or retarded. They are just words. I am not saying it is right for children to say them, I don’t allow negative words like stupid or retarded to be said either, I was just curious. What gives them so much power to adults and children alike?

Melissa on

We are very “free” with swear words. if one does slip out, or somebody else says one, or if we hear one on TV, we do not an issue AT ALL. We let them know, that those are adult words, but are commonly heard.
We feel that doing it this way will make swear words less tabu; therefore not making the kids want to use them if they are “no big deal”.

eva on

I am a very profane person,not proud of it but not truly ashamed either.I swear in Spanish or Russian rather than in English and though my daughter understands what I am saying her language of choice is English so she can’t really incorporate my profanity into her vocabulary.She has asked me about these words and I tell her that as an adult woman with a very stressful life and who works all day I have earned my right to be vulgar.She has no excuse to be vulgar because her life is stress-free and she is too little to get this angry.I told her that when she is an independent woman working 24-7 and knows the true meaning of hectic she will earn her right to curse too.

Lis on

Guess what? When children are taught that certain words are “adult words”, you are right, the child knows that they are not allowed to say this in front of their parent or else they will get in big trouble…

HOWEVER, (and this is just my own experience), I have have babysat children for many years, as well as worked at a day care/preschool, and as the old saying goes, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.” In other words, while your kids may not be saying these words around you, they DO say them when their parents are NOT around…

I think teaching children that things are “adult words” (vs. using holy moly, gosh darn it, etc.) is a double edged sword. Yes, they know that they are “bad” words and shold not be said, but on the other hand, they are drawn to, and want to use those words to make them feel more grown up (and will do so when mommy and daddy are not around)…

Just my two cents. I think you are much better off disguising words while children are young…and crossing the whole cus-word bridge when they are older and can comprehend better.

Harley on

It’s inevitable that they’ll hear it somewhere thus explaining that there are some words for adults only. However, when I’m around kids I try to mind my language because I swear like a Marine (I’m a Marine brat lol). Sometimes I’ll just swear in a foreign language. If in public, my disguises are usually,

Holy Smokes Batman!
Holy Mac n’ Cheese!
Jesus (the Mexican) or Jesus H Cripes (again, the Mexican)
God Bless America!
For the Holy love of
Fandango, Frick, Fluffernutter, Freakin’ A
Son of a Carpenter, Son of a Gun, Son of

MIzMolly on

One of my son’s first words was sh*t. We rolled with it. There was some pride that he used it correctly when he dropped his truck. My husband and I both curse like sailors since grad. school… not sure why that happened. Luckily, our son has moved on to other nicer and more appropriate words. When he is older, we will simply say there are words that you have to be of a certain age to use. We really don’t get to hung up on language, rather there are far more important things we like to encourage. We also try not to use bad words in front of him, but sometimes in traffic we lose it.

Angelique on

Meredith #13 and Mrs. Shh #18:

Using the term “cotton picker” is almost like using the N Word. It’s not a term you want to use, unless you want to appear incredibly racist and insensitive, which I’m assuming you do not.

mom of 3 boys on

my children know that obscene language is ‘adult words’ and if I hear them saying them, they get in big trouble. They know they cannot say words that they shouldn’t say. I cant hide them from hearing these words on the street, so if I or my husband says a bad word, then they know better than to repeat it. But I do say things like Holy moly guacamole, or yikers. It’s all in the parenting – I’ve heard kids drop the f-bomb as well as other words and I flat out tell them ‘you’re too young to say that’.

sil on

My daughter knows that there are words she can’t say, and when me or daddy acidentally drop a bad word she tells us “that’s not a nice word, say sorry” so we say sorry and that’s it. I Think that is very important the way parents talk at home, I know she will probably learn new bad words now that she goes to school (she’s 4) but if she says a bad word I will explain to her that is not a nice word to say.
@ Eva:
sorry but I think you are wrong, just because you work and u are stressed doesn’t mean that you have the “right” to be vulgar infront of your children.
I’m not perfect, I do say bad words (in spanish or italian) but I know I don’t have any excuse to be vulgar, and I apologize with my husband or daughter if I drop a bad word.
Just my opinion.

j on

I just wanted to add that we don’t take it too seriously if my daughter “drops the f-bomb” out of frustration… I think I hate that expression far more than the word itself. When we do make a point of disciplining is if derogatory words are used towards someone else – we have zero tolerance for name calling.

Lorus on

I’m not a big swearer. I’ll say sh!t if I drop something on the floor, or I’ll use words if I’m quoting someone but other than that not much comes out. I told my 8yo that they were bad words and she was not to use them. She still thinks stupid is a bad word and will come home from school and tell me someone at school called another kid the “st” word.
I know all kids will go through the swearing phase. As long as my kids are smart enough not to do it in front of adults then I’m alright with that.

halifaxhoney on

I don’t have children but I do have a potty mouth. Hopefully by the time I have children those words will have long be eliminated by my vocabulary. When I was child my mother always said shoot instead of that colourful word for poop. Although I knew what she meant and it always made me laugh.

HeatherR on

Macy, you make a good point.

The reason I chose to tell my kids that they are “grown-up” words (instead of “bad” words) was to not be hypocritical. I felt that if I were to say that cussing is “bad”, then I am being “bad” when I cuss. So when I occasionally slip up with my language, it is easier to explain that I am a grown up and I can use grown up words.

With that said, I have also explained to my kids that cuss words can make you sound unintelligent and there are plenty of other words in the vocabulary to use.🙂

jenny on

I use swear words and my kids know they will get in sh*t if they use them. Although once they are old enough to know they can’t use them in school/ in front of company I don’t mind if they use these words. They are only words related to strong emotion and help get your point across when you feel strongly about something. who cares

Annie on

ladies and gentleman
i present
mommy swearing!!!
honest to goodness spoken by me in attempts to clean up my act around my kids, and after growing up in a navy house where F*#! is not so much a word, or bad word, but a comma in a sentance, that was allot of work!

OH SIT! (or if your my sister, oh knit!!)
or going old school with those who dont speak pig latin, my personal favorite, Itchbay!

hope it helps all, for those who wanna get loud but not so nastily. And plus which it makes those wonder when my kids start talking about debit………(yep, they are money smart at 2 yep thats it lol!)

Anthonette on

When my son was a toddler, I heard him say “dammit” a few times. That was my fault. At that point, we decided to express frustration in a different way. We use phrases from kid shows, like: “ahh, pickles” from The Higglytown Heroes, “tartar sauce” and “fish paste” from SpongeBob. My husband, myself, and my 5-year can still express anger and frustration, without using colorful language. My favorite is “ahh, pickles!” I’ve actually had to ask teenagers at the movies and the mall to please watch their language. I think people who curse don’t realize that kids shouldn’t have to hear them.

AD on

I say “Oh Dear.” My two year old now CONSTANTLY says it when anything goes wrong!!

ErykaWynter on

My best friend got me hooked on, “Shut the front door!”

Lisa on

Fungus instead of f*ck. That’s the big one that I use, even in front of my students. They think it’s hilarious. Sugar instead of sh*t.

JMO on

Hmm I don’t have a solution but I’d like one on something lol.

I have twin almost 4 yr old nephews. The boys find amusement in the words, “boobies”, “poopy”, and my one nephew just started using the “shut up” word alot. The boys are in daycare so they can picked up this “potty” talk there. The problem is they constantly say it. The other night we were eating dinner and they just kept going back and forth giggling. Of course they were told if they continued they’d have to go in time out. The problem is my one nephew is disabled and is a lot more behind then most 4 yr olds. However he’s still highly intelligent (we call him our Rain Man)! So we know he understands but how much we’re just not sure.

We’ve tried ignoring the words. We’ve tried tellin them that this kind of talk is not nice. But nothing seems to work and it’s very annoying esp in public.

What kind of things can you do to get kids to stop using “potty” talk???

should we continue to ignore it and hope that it just gets old for them? Even though they’ve been in this phase for about 4-5 months now??

brannon on

kind of shocked tbh – for a blog where so many usually have something to say about everything, no one seems too opposed to what’s being said here. interesting…

Aya on

Macy,I agree.I applaud my parents for the way they raised us when it came to swearing.We heard these words everywhere,in school etc and Lis, this was exactly why my mom and dad taught us this way.?You can’t sensor everything everywhere.

My parents’ take on swearing was “only stupid uneducated people swear”

That really took away the desire to swear.As a child (well maybe in our family), we all wanted to find more better words to use than the other.Mine was always imbecile or “ferme la bouche” lol.My little brother heard the word “oxymoron” in school and started using that one.

Lol, its pretty funy when you think about it because they didn’t mind us using those words that practically meant the same thing,just as long it wasn’t the “bad” ones.

We are still the same today in our own little way.None of us ever say the F word,lol cause that was the only outlawed word that would get you a wooden spoon across the backside and copying 500 lines from the Bible.

CTBmom on

I read somewhere, where someone was having a problem with their child(ren) and potty talk, so they made the rule, that if they wanted to “potty talk” they had to keep it where it belonged….in the bathroom. So the kids would go into the bathroom and get it out of their systems, so to speak, lol.

Jennifer on

re: my cotton picker comment. I can see how that might be considered a racist comment. However, in my sleepless mommy-fog, it just didn’t dawn on me as I am NOT a racist of any kind! It’s a phrase I heard a little old man mutter a few years ago and it seemed so cute and harmless IN THE WAY that it was said. Yes, I’ve muttered it to myself when I’m frustrated, no, I’ve never said it to someone or even said it in the vicinity of another person. Sorry to offend anyone…and thanks to the mommy that stuck up for me!

Sara on

I don’t have kids yet, but I have been in situations where swearing is not appropriate-most recently when I did volunteer work for a faith-based organization. I tried to substitute “sweet” words-like sugar, fudge, and Krispy Kreme-for ones that are considered a little “sour” or not suitable for that environment.

dawn on

I usually try not to curse in front of the kids,but if I feel the need to use those words,I’ll curse in my native language,or I’ll substitute other words, like-holy crap,blooming/bloody hell,dang it,etc…

galaxie78 on

oh fun!
okay in our house we use..
Oh Shrimp
Crumb or Crumb Bum!
Oh Fish!
Cheese n’ crackers

and occasionally the real words pop out and my 5 1/2 year old tells me to go wash my mouth out with soap

Tracy on

When I was first nursing my daughter, it hurt so bad, but I had a 3 yr old running around and one time I just came out with “Son of a mother father!!” It was the funniest thing, I wasn’t even trying not to cuss and that came out, haha. Too funny!!

I also say “Oh snap!” instead of the other “s” word, lol.

Maire on

I am 17 and I never cussed unless I was alone. My parents always cussed and we would be in trouble if we said anything close (frick arse etc). We still get in trouble if we say shut up and stuff like that in front of my dad but my mom is much more linient. As a child my parents told us that they would wash our mouths out with soap for saying bad words. Which they attempted to carry out so we knew they were serious. They went as far as opening a fresh bar of soap getting a washcloth ready and bringing us into the bathroom. We would then cry and promise never to do it again. I was about 4 or 5 when that quit working.

I do remember that I would say that the tape is bi…ing when the white noise would come up at the end of a VHS. I was corrected right away but I could hear my parents laughing about it before they said anything.

Now, I cuss a lot around my friends but try and keep it clean around adults. I was talking to a teacher (after school) that I am really close to about cussing and I said that I have a problem with cussing too much. She said that she has never heard me say anything worse than that I was pissed off. So I guess my parents taught me well🙂

Sher on

Once when my daughter was about 18 months, we were in a shoe store and my daughter started to walk around the store and at the top of her lungs was yelling “Asshole, Asshole” and I was mortified! I grabbed her quickly and said “No Jadey, it’s Ahhh sooo” and I put my hands together and bowed like a Geisha girl!

Within a minute or two she forgot the other word and continued to say “Ahhh So” for the rest of the day~

And old fashion but understanding mother. on

i know half of ya that says i never cuss, is a freaking lie. We all do it, some more then others. But it happens it happens. I think parents should just teach their children what is comfortable with them, And in their lifestyle. and so forth. Not everything is by the books any more. next people are going to try and cover up all sense of violence on tv. I grew up watching bugs bunny cartoon, where elmer fudd tries and blows daffy or bugs heads off. And i knew that was a adult thing to do, and i sure in the hell didn’t go shooting people. I knew better.

natalie on

i loved reading your stories. i remember when i was in preschool, i must’ve been around three or four, and a kid came to school one day and repeatedly said the word f*ck. every kid picked it up of course, and i went home to my mom and started screaming f*ck, f*ck… i don’t remember her reaction but my mom is generally a person who doesn’t curse and she doesn’t tolerate words like damn, holy sh!t and so on, so I’m pretty sure she lost it😉
My dad on the other hand never censored himself around me and my sister when we were growing up. So when i was around ten I cursed like a sailor, but has since stopped because I realized there’s no point in cursing. It only makes you look bad in the eyes of the people around you.
But when it comes to cursing around young children, I don’t think censoring your language is the way to go. Why? Well, take a look at the American society in general. 1-year-old tots are watching tv, 3-year-olds go to the movies and watch movies in the line of Shrek where so called bad words are uttered in every second scene, 5-year-olds are watching Hannah Montana, 8-year-olds spend their weekends in malls around older kids.. It’s inevitable. Your children WILL hear these words, and when they do, it’s up to you, their parents, to teach them not to use those words.
Using words such as f*ck or c*nt around little children is crazy but telling them that oh my god is a bad phrase is also crazy – since when is that bad? goodness gracious is just silly. no 2-year-old will be able to say that. in that case, it’s better to teach them to say gosh or jeez.

Amber on

My personal choice in this matter is not to let me child hear profanity come from my mouth and I also ask close friends and family not to use bad words around him. I don’t want to censor him from all profanity because it is just a reality, but I feel that he shouldn’t hear it from me or other rolemodels. When you have to use four letter words to express a strong feeling or opinion you aren’t thinking hard enough to use words with actual meaning. Since becoming a parent, I stopped using profanity so that I can teach my son to think before he speaks and to use smart wording.

Lisbeth on

Hee Hee, I just usually say “Sweet heavens”. And, instead of saying “I swear to God” (blasphemy) I say “I sweat to Batman!”

Silvermouse on

That’s how I was too, until I got into high school and hung around friends. Now that I’m in college, my parents still scold me for swearing unless I am REALLY upset about something and cannot control myself. I think I’ll be free around my children because I feel that if you use something in moderation, kids won’t think anything of it. *Same with alcohol. I also plan on not telling them that smoking is bad because I’ve been bashed on letting my sister smoke cigarettes. I’d rather her not do it, but who am I to tell my friends and sister not to? It’s her choice, not mine.
I also agree with Natalie, you cannot shelter your children forever, or you might damage their social lives. Better to let the tides carry them.
I also hate it when parents use strawberry for s*** or fudge for f*** when kids are young. What if they really want a strawberry or piece of fudge? They would be afraid to ask for it because they’d think that fudge and strawberry were bad words too or not know the meaning of it.

Michelle on

I have tonned down my usage of profanity since my daughter was born 5 years ago but I have not quit altogether. I admit to using the real deal. I do not make up cutesy words to disguise them. It is what it is. But we have explained to our daughter that those are not words for children to use. She’s pretty good about not repeating them. There is no use in sheltering her. She hears it on TV, in stores, on the playground. I say- lets get it out in the open. It removes the mystique and hopefully, the shock value of them.

Adrienne on

I dont disguise anything. My daughter doesn’t walk around saying the naughty words because she’s been told that they’re naughty. Now, don’t get me wrong I dont allow people to scream F*$# and S*#& in their faces, I do swear. Like a sailor in fact. It’s just part of who I am. My children are 6 and 1 and they’ve never said a naughty word. Ever.

Cindyjo on

I am a great fan of WC Fields’ take on expletives…Great Googly Moo! That’s what we use to express frustration or anger in our home. I was always taught that there is nothing wrong with expressing your frustrations, excitements, or anger. The challenge became how to do it creatively. My parents used “flitter” or “shoot”. If I or my sister ever said an actual “curse” word, we were immediately challenged to find a dictionary and come back to them with a word that can be used in the same context and, yet, show our emotional connection to the situation. It helped develop a love of words and got me out of a lot of trouble when in social settings. Many times the adults never understood what the words I used meant. I now use the same method with my children and they always have fun trying to find out new words to show how they feel.

Keeana on

I say:

Son of a Mother

and my favorite:

Shut the Front Door (instead of shut the you know what)

I really try not to say naughty words anymore now that I’m a mom.

Mary on

This is funny.
I’m not sure if I repeated any but this is what my friends and I say.

Fudge Nuts
Freaky Fish
Farmer John
Oh My Banana’s
Holy Snap, Crackle, Pop
Corn Chips

Laney McDonald on

Instead of “damn”, I say “chikusho” which is the Japanese word for it or “darn”, and instead of “sh–“, I say “kuso”. F— is replaced by “fudge” or “fudgsicles”.

My daughter said “Damn it” once. She heard my cousin say it and just repeated it, and I just told her “that’s not nice” and gave my cousin the death glare.

I tend to swear alot, but when I’m around kids, I try to watch what I say. I would say some of them in Japanese instead of English.

emily on

No way. Example is the way to live. Kids aren’t dumb.

Mary Ellen on

I’m not sure how these all came to be, but with my nieces my sister taught me that we don’t say ‘bad words’ around her daughters. Instead we use the following; sugar, oh fudge muffins, bundt cake (the first word rhymes with a horrible word), apple butter (for a$$h0l*), she’s such a buttercup (you can guess). Anwyays everything pretty much has a food related tag word for all those ‘bad words’. My nieces do know what a real bad word is and have taken to charging the adults a dime for every bad word that slips out. When they hear them on the radio or in a song, they immediately stuff their fingers in their ears and scream the theme song from the Smurfs. It’s quite comical actually.

aimy on

Well, I don’t have any kids but my friends (when he was 14) dad believed in free speech so, my friend would cuss.I too, believe in free speech.

katie on

shut the front door is my favorite. and what the french toast!

Shelly Lockhart on

Thanks to Spongebob Squarepants, my 5 1/2 year old daughter uses “Barnacles” or “Tarter Sauce”.

Brittany on

I was raised in a Christian household. My parents didn’t use bad words (swear words–whatever you want to call it), so I don’t. I expect my kids not to either. I was also taught that disguising them is no better than actually saying them, but I can’t help saying “dang it” sometimes :o)

Jess on

I’m not a mummy but I do regularly take care of my 4-year-old cousin. At 16, of course I’m gunna use the occasional “bad word” but I’ve found it pretty easy to not say them in front of her.

I have a bad trait of saying “bloody” but this has only slipped out once or twice in front of her … I just carry on like nothings happened and she takes no notice.

I try to avoid some of my friends when I’m with her, though because they don’t realise when they are swearing and they come out with some awful words. Other friends (only a couple) are really cautious and like me, if they go to swear they’ll change the word at the last minute to “sugar” or “flipping”.

There’s also “foosh” (is barely ever used, normally when she’s not even around as an alternative to the swear word as I’m not a fan of it!), “grr” that I use A LOT.

It’s cute, because when I “grr” she’ll “grr” back and then we both just giggle.

I also change “shut up” to “ssh” but she loves singing the song “Shut up in your face”. However, she doesn’t use “shut up” any where else which is good. =)

I’ve seen and heard a lot of youngsters swear and it’s awful in my opinion. I’ll hear them say the s-word or even the f-word in front of their parents or peers and I think “Really?! My mother would have killed me!”…I don’t even say those in front of her now. Yeah, she doesn’t so much mind me saying “cr*p” or “bloody” because she says it but I would NEVER say that in front of her. I think it’s highly disrespectful, in all honesty.

Emily on

‘oh sugerlumps’, works really well

Vanessa on


Does this ‘free speech’ policy apply to professional work settings, church, and whatnot as well? And if your blue tongue makes someone uncomfortable, do you tell them too bad, you have the right? That’s not a very considerate way to raise children.

Brittany on

My parents always used “oh, Suwannee”, or “I Suwannee”, as in the Suwannee River, and my music teacher always used “Christmas cookies”. Also, “stupid” was banned at my aunt’s house, so we always had to say “silly” in place of it.

Silvermouse on

Vanessa, you seem to be archtyping “Free speech people” as not being considerate. If probed, I, a free-speech raised person, didn’t even know the curse words until 12-13 years of age when I heard them in school, though I am psotive that my parents said them, but I didn’t think any of it.
To me, if you don’t mention things to children or say it in private to your spouse then there are no worries. I think that by saying that curse words are bad, we just encourage our children to use them later on. I feel the same about drugs and alcohol with the teenage population because the teens I know that have been having a glass of wine with their family at dinner for years never party as much as those who see alcohol as a drug, and not as a traditional beverage for dinner.
So by saying that somehting is particularly bad, do we increase the chances of it being abused later on in life? I suppose I’ll get major flames for this, since I do not believe in sheltering children from the outside world and its harsh realities.

Silvermouse on

I agree with you about stupid, *awful sounding word* Though I did read James Marshall’s “The Stupids” when I was around 8-9. Ahh, those were the days when people allowed their children to humorous reading material and didn’t rely on television to humor their kids and Cookie Monster didnn’t have to eat vegetables *seriously, the monster is a COOKIE MONSTER* -you could almost apply the curse words to that as well. My college friends are outraged at this development. Is this actually true, that these overbearing parents have corrupted Sesame Street? AAAAAH my childhood (I’m 20 lol and plan on finding those old seasons for my 10 year down the line kids to watch lol)

12 year old on

Ok I am NOWHERE near being a mother…….. but I go to a public school….. and like almost all of the kids there cuss like sailors…… including this kid who rides my bus…. hes really funny.. but he cusses alot. I dont cuss… theres probably about 10 kids in my grade who dont cuss…. but when I am really tempted to.. I use:
What the fudge!
What the Fugg!
Son of a biscut!
Bass Hole!
Shut the fudge!
Dont’t pee me off!

and alot more….

Natalie on

You can say gosh darn it!

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