Danica wrote:

You have a small child, so I hope you can help.  I just started dating a guy with a 4 year old child and I am having an issue.  It’s not with the child, it’s with the adult.  He swears constantly around his little boy (and we’re not talking “crap” or things like that, it’s full on Fbombs and things of that sort), and it drives me crazy.  I talked with him and told him I feel it’s inappropriate to swear around a child-in my house we couldn’t even say “crap, damn, fart”, or call each other names-and he said he’d work on it, but he is just as bad as he was when we talked.  How do I get him to change his ways?  I want his child to grow up in a more wholesome verbal environment than he is.




That’s a toughy, Danica. While you (and many others) may feel the language is inappropriate, it may be tough to prove that it’s actually damaging the child unless the adult is swearing AT the child.  Yes, it may be a bad habit to pick up and it may hamper the child later in life when they feel the need to swear in moments where finding constructive ways to express anger/frustration/elation (take your pick) is hard to do, but there are plenty of people (celebrities and non-celebs alike) that turned out just fine after growing up in swearing households.

My parents were relatively strict with what language we used around the house.  I couldn’t say “damn”, “ass”, the s- or f-bombs, “fart”, or a handful of even “harmless” swear words like “crap”.  In junior high, I remember letting a swear word rip in front of my brother.  The holy-shit-you-said-SHIT face he displayed was priceless, but it wasn’t the last time I swore either.  My parents taught me (my dad, specifically) taught me that there is a time and place for offensive language, and if overused, it can make you look like an uneducated moron.  Perhaps in this situation, it may be time to teach both the child and adult that same lesson, and teach them more constructive ways to express themselves.

However, IF the adult is aiming these words at the child (or at you), I suggest you be as stern as can be and let the adult know that you feel this behavior is not acceptable at all.  That kind of swearing is more verbal abuse than expression, and should not be tolerated by you or by the child.