Why I let my teenagers swear

Why I Let My Teenager Swear - A Lot


It’s totally my own fault that I find myself the menopausal mother of two teenagers and the younger twin terrors.

I could have had my children younger and not had all these hormones clashing with each other.

Too late!

Teenagers can really mess with your head (because their brains aren’t working well) and I’m lucky that really only one of mine is definitely trying hard to wind me up.

Take a bow Teen15.

His copious swearing is just one of his many attempts to drive me totally demented. But I’m not falling for it!

We have to pick our battles with all of the kids, and especially with teenagers. So I decided that I wasn’t going to let the swearing rile me up.

Would you do the same? Or is swearing a definite no-go in your house?


But swearing has its limits

Anyway, generally I just completely ignore his expletives and colourful adjectives… and have explained to him my limits:

No swearing when we are out

No swearing when the twins’ friends are in the house

No swearing when my friends are around

I will no longer tolerate it when he’s either 17 or stopped being so angry (whichever comes first)


The downsides of this policy

I have to listen to a lot of nonsense

The twins started to pick up and copy his swearing

He thinks he’s got one (or more) over me – I can live with that but some days it’s through gritted teeth


When the younger kids swear

When this started, I jumped on it firmly. They think I am totally unfair… but I explained that Teen15 was never allowed to swear at 8 years old and they can start when they are 15… but only until their hormones settle down.


The best advice I ever got about teenagers

Before my kids were teens I knew a mother of teens who always said:

Do not pick up the ball!  The kids will roll lots of balls at you, let them roll right by DO NOT PICK UP THE BALL.

I remember her wise words well partly because that mother died very suddenly, of a brain aneurysm, at 51, just the age I am now.

She’s lovingly remembered and much missed.


I loved her advice and love the advice to carefully pick battles with kids. Swearing is part of a rich Aussie vocabulary. And it’s better than punching holes in the wall… but let’s leave that topic for another time.


What balls do you let roll right by?

And do you swear much yourself?!!

Stay calm, I will if you will.



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  1. says: Me

    I totally agree – pick your battles. There are some battles I wish I had fought differently. As a rule, we don’t allow swearing in the house although I do know that K does swear – she doesn’t swear in front of us (sometimes me, but definitely not A). Having said that, I know that if I really want to wind A up, I can swear – which I did last night – and got the whole “You don’t have to use that sort of language – you know more words than that” to which I replied “Yes, I do know more words than that, but when you make me so angry and I can’t think of any others, you get the best” – he had no reply !!!!

  2. I can’t be a complete hypocrite, so I have always said to my kids that I don’t mind them swearing, as long as it’s not; (a) within earshot of a teacher or another parent; or (b) it’s used appropriately as an exclamation – not as a form of punctuating sentences.

    Saying that, Miss 13 has imposed a no-swearing rule on the house and installed a swear jar in the kitchen.

  3. says: Mairi Stones

    There has been lots of swearing in our house, sadly mostly mine. I don’t have a massive problem with swearing per se, but do believe it’s offensive to some so it’s best to learn time and place, which I hope I have instilled in my teens. I believe a lot of my own swearing was learned behaviour from a drunken parent who often swore, coupled with an inability to properly express myself so swearing was an easy option. Gradually as my emotional literacy has improved my swearing has decreased, though I still have the long term habit side of it to deal with. Anything done long enough does become a habit which can take determination to break.

  4. says: Fiona

    What an awesome quote! I’m going to bookmark this in my mind until I need to read it in another 7 years when my kids are teens!!

    You’re doing an awesome job! Fi x

  5. I drop the odd bomb. Maybe once a month – possibly at that time of the month 😉 I’ve never heard my kids swear though some of their friends do. I ask them not to and tell them we TRY not to swear! I will try harder from now on…

    It sounds very hard at your place right now. I hope the angry young man phase ends sooner rather than later! Bon courage.

  6. says: Bronwyn Joy

    Like the way of putting that (the ball).

    Swearing. For me I think it’s a time and place thing, rather than the thought they’re using the language at all, exactly. Not sure I’d be thrilled to have it hurled at me – will have to see how many balls are rolling by at the time I guess 🙂 I suspect I’d let that one roll by more easily than a lot of others I hear about.

  7. I don’t catch the rolling swear ball, but it has its limits. He can’t for example call me swear words. If it is something like “Oh for F%$k sake” I will cop it, but he can not call me any swear words.

    I had to then work hard on the next eldest as he took it as a green light for him to swear. He now knows this is not the case.

    BTW I LOVE the Yes your teen is crazy book. thanks so much for the recommendation. Nic x

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, it’s a fab book. I went to the launch of a new book by Joanne Fedler called ‘Love In The Age of Contempt’ all about we parents of teens, I think, rather than the teens themselves. So looking forward to reading that… if I can ever get the teens to bed. I do agree on the not being sworn at, that’s just too much to handle… I do try to ignore dark mutterings though… sigh…

  8. says: Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection

    Great topic Seona. The balls are flying all around here but not with my teenagers. Mr.11 is trying me everyday – no intact a few times day and I am trying to let the balls fly. Some days I am an expert and could teach lessons in ball flying, other days I am barely a student. Need to get his yes your teen is crazy book

    1. says: Seana Smith

      It’s a really good book, and I do find it hard to stay calm with all these hormones flying… and my own too… menopause meets puberty and teenage angst in an almighty crash. Think that I’m so focused on staying calm as all around me others aren’t. My older son who has autism specrum is less teenagery, but quite shouty and getting anxious. The twins have calmed down a lot actually so that’s great… but it feels as if it’s never been more vital to keep the heid as they say in Bonnie Scotland.

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