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Swearing off cussin'
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It’s not that I’m a cussin’ machine or anything like that. But, it’s not uncommon for me to use an expletive every now and again. OK, sometimes it’s more like one or two or three—or more—expletives daily.

So, I wasn’t surprised when my neighbor’s kid rang the doorbell to alert my husband and me that our 8-year-old had cursed while playing with other boys on the block. I tried looking incredulous as I gasped and asked, "Wonder where he got that from?"

My husband’s a very smart man, so when it comes to grand opportunities like this to analyze my character, he usually stays quiet, pleading the fifth. Truth is, we both know exactly where (or from whom) our son picked up cussin’.

Strange this is, I never cursed as a child. One of my best friends—let’s call her Macy—did enough of that for the entire neighborhood. Macy would especially let go in the heat of a challenging game, usually when she was on the losing end. My dad insisted that Macy was a bad influence on me and he warned my mom of this much. Yet, he knew better than anyone that I needed not look beyond the confines of our home to get a good ole’ lesson in cussin.’ My mama was a master at it. She and her friends would get together on weekends and pepper their conversation with salty words well within earshot of us young’uns.

Still, I didn’t develop a penchant for cursing until after the birth of my second child. The stress of mommyhood played a big part, and I noticed a progression on the cuss-o-meter after I had my third child. I’ve justified cursing all these years by saying things such as, "Well, at least I’m not a hardcore curser" and "I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain." For example, I never use the f-bomb, preferring the milder four-letter words as a vent of frustration or to assert my authority.

But the most recent report out on one of my cussin’ kids (note: we received similar feedback some years ago with our oldest son) has me re-considering my bad language. I’m also persuaded—and challenged—by a recent conversation with an acquaintance who gave this opinion of people who curse: "Of all the words in the English language, you mean you can’t find any better ones to use?" Ouch!

Of course, chastisement doesn’t always go over easy. But, she’s right. So, for the sake of building my vocabulary and being a better role model for my boys, from this day forward, I’m swearing off cursing. Bleep!

Kysa Daniels is a journalist, non-profit professional and mother of three boys. For more Adventures in Parenting and parenting tips, e-mail