I feel free to curse in front of my children.
I have been a potty mouth all my life, in Japanese and in English, and most likely I will continue to be so. I saw an Instagram quote saying, “Libras are fluent in at least five languages: English, Profanity, Sarcasm, Truth, and Love.” Yes, we are.
For the first fews years after my kids were born, I thought maybe I should stop or at least curve my cursing. I sort of tried; but it would inevitably pop up here and there. Old habits die hard. Then I had a second thought and I stopped stopping.
I told my kids that I will keep talking the way I always have (including cursing and what not) and I personally see there is nothing wrong with that: however, they are not allowed to curse. Not until they are 18 and they are out of my house and making their own money. At that point, they can express themselves however they want and accept the rewards/consequences of their choices. Until then, I told them that they are not allowed to curse anywhere because if they do people are going to think that I’m a horrible mother and some child protection people will take them away and put them in foster homes and they won’t live with me ever again. They were pretty young but they understood that my threat was not entirely true, yet, they got that I meant business.
Yes, I can possibly keep my house curse-free if I try very very hard but the world is not. They have to know that it exists and they have to figure out their own relationships to it. I can’t stop my kids from hearing things from other adults, YouTube, social media, and whatever else. It is out there and I’m only one person trying to stop the tidal wave should I choose to “protect” my kids from it. And it’s not a real protection. Allowing them exposure and experience is. Having a dialogue and offering guidance is. It is biologically and physically impossible for me to “protect” them at all times for the rest of their lives. But I can give them experiences that helps them to nurture their own abilities to observe and participate and contemplate and discipline and understand and tolerate and adjust. They can decide to go curse-free or they can learn when and when not to curse and how.
This goes beyond cursing. I let my kids watch TV, have cell phones, eat sugar, and whatever. But I make sure that I tell them that TV rots their brains. I read them an article saying that children using electronic devices is equivalent to adult snorting cocaine or injecting heroin; same pleasure center in brain lights up. Eating sugar, for kids, is as bad as smoking for adult. That’s another article in New York Times. I tell them that they can watch/listen/eat whatever but they have to be mindful. They have to learn to discipline themselves. They can watch an episode of their favorite shows on YouTube but I also force them to meditate everyday. They can have a can of soda now but if they do, they can’t have an ice cream later. If they decide that they don’t want the soda now, they can have ice cream later. Don’t let it control you. You have to learn to be the master and find the balance.
It is a constant struggle, never ending dialogue, and ceaseless negotiations. They are kids, after all, and they like easy things. They like sweet things. They like junkie things, mentally and gastronomically. And just like adults, they don’t respond well to just talking. I have to show them how I find the balance. I binge watch a show then read books and meditate. I bake cookies and toss salads. I have lazy days but I keep up with my workout program. I curse but I treat my friends with love and care. I don’t hide things and feelings from them and I make sure that I explain. So much so that they roll their eyes when I talk about shit.
We all remember what it was like being kids? Being teenagers? We knew when adults lied and we never listened to them. We resisted all their attempt to put us in whatever the molds they wanted us to be in. My parents were very strict. I mean, my curfew was 7 pm until I graduated from high school. They told me not to do this and not to do that…. But I did all of these things behind their backs and I lied about it. In some ways, that may be the natural process of families and growing up, lol, but I wanted something different for me and for my kids. I am still their mother and I don’t need to be their friends. I got friends and so do they. But they need that one person who would get with you truthfully because s/he loves them so fiercely. I wanted to be that one person who tells the truth and force them to eat vegetable and got their backs forever. I am hard on them. I yell at them and I force them to do things they don’t want to but I also talk to them about it. And although I tend to think I’m almost always right, lol, I make an attempt to really listen before I speak. I also make sure they know that I love them. So very much. I tell them and I do things to put smiles on their faces. Parenting is fucking hard. Trying to find that balance is a bitch. But I think my kids know that I’m doing my best and I hope one day they understand why I kept on cursing.