I can’t trace why, but I’ve never been much of a swearyface.
Where many teens or twentysomethings, already educated in expletives, escalated to coffee (or stronger stuff) during the crunch of post-secondary education, that’s when I began swearing.
Even then, though, it was more of an unintentional outburst when things got really crazy. These days, I let the odd profanity fly around friends, but mostly keep it cuss-free on the reg.
This comes in especially helpful around youngins and the public (he says, as a media guy, like he’s not also part of “the public”), as soapymouth is my default state.
I’ve heard many a horror story of toddlers learning to swear like proverbial sailors because they heard it from their parents, and continuing to employ them in their regular vocabulary due to the reaction they get.
I’ve also seen many a video of said youthful obscenities, because it’s tough to not get caught on someone’s phone these days.
Let’s face it. Kidlets are going to swear, eventually. Be it something they pick up from family, friends, strangers, media, or the internet, it’s gonna happen, especially approaching the ’tween and teen phase. And I’m equal to that.
But, for my part (the part of a prude), I’d prefer that my little’s source for foul language not be me. And not from a deluded sense of superiority over others. It’s just that that’s not how I carry myself day-to-day.
Plus…it’s been a lifelong amusement to find alternatives to common expletives.
If it’ll help, I’ll share some of them with you here.
The granddaddy of all cusses, the proverbial F-bomb, is most commonly replaced in my lexicon by the word “frick.”
Use it in a sentence, you ask? Why, of course! *ahem*
“Good crikey frick!”
Other uses include, “frick off,” “what the frick?” and the ever-popular, “frickity frickin’ frick frack.”
Depending on how interested your little ones are in Star Wars, a solid alternative might be “Good Babu Frik!” but don’t blame me if you get serious eye rolls for that.
My second favourite not-swear is the S-word, most commonly associated with, um, poop.
With all thanks to Germany, I exclaim “Scheiße!” (pronounced SHY-zuh) on a regular basis to express frustration.
If something is an “S-word show,” it comes out of my mouth as a “gong show.”
My parents used to say, “Ah, sugar!” but the cognitive dissonance of hearing the poop word replaced by the sweet word was too much for me to employ in my later years.
Even the word “crap” or “crud,” I replace with “crunch,” thanks to Strong Bad from the Homestar Runner internet cartoons of the early aughts.
And, because my international inspiration knows no bounds, my Chinese heritage requires by law that I exclaim, “Aiya!” as a form of verbal facepalm.
And, while your mileage (kilometerage?) may vary, I’d be fine and dandy with my 11-year-old using any of these interjections in place of their more inappropriate originals.
Perhaps I’m overthinking it. Perhaps I’m just an all-around goody two-shoes (legit; I neither drink nor smoke). Perhaps I love words (I seriously considered a career as an etymologist) and love using silly words in place of serious words even more.
Thankfully, my overthinking, prudish, easily-amused, word-loving self is much less likely to be posted to the internet for saying “Oh, crunch!” in front of my child.