The new parenting: Teaching kids to swear ‘appropriately’

Parents had a problem with their autistic son.  He kept swearing.  They claim they tried to get him to stop, but they couldn't.  So instead, they at least taught him how to swear in "appropriate circumstances."

Instead of teaching Malcolm to stop swearing, we would teach him how to do it correctly and appropriately, so he could avoid confrontations with authority figures and get along with other kids.

We walked Malcolm through the definitions of various swear words and the phrases in which they usually occur. “S—” is poop and means something is worthless or hiding something that is wrong or worthless. “F—” is sex and indicates doing something harmful to oneself (“F— me”) or someone else (“F— you”). We also struggled to teach him that “f—” has many variations and is often just used as a placeholder for more socially acceptable adverbs and adjectives “A——” refers to your anus (he knew that) and is a name for people who are unpleasant to be around.

Driving through the city, a car squeezed in front of us without signaling. “See Malcolm, that guy’s an a——.” Pointing to a giant billboard that said “Rep. Kingland is here to serve you!”: “That’s bulls—, Malcolm. Do you understand why?” “Because he doesn’t want to serve us?” “Exactly.” And when we realized that we left our shopping list at home, “F—!!” “Do you understand why Mommy said that, Malcom?” “She’s mad?”

Malcolm began his foray into socially acceptable cussing with our pets. He hates animals... One of the miniature poodles first felt his ire: “Get away from me, you a——!” And, more recently, when our large boxer was barking at him outside (which really scares Malcolm): “F— you, Gus!”

I think the parents gave up too easily.  Later in the article the parents admit that they were able to get Malcolm to stop other anti-social behavior:

We taught Malcolm that hitting and name-calling were not ever allowed, and we emphasized the point by threatening his use of the computer or video games.... Those obstacles were fairly easy to overcome[.]

If they could stop him from name-calling, they certainly could have stopped him from swearing.  Certainly as an autistic child he would be more difficult to teach, but I think, given what they were able to prevent him from doing, it seems clear they could have stopped him from swearing if they wished to.  I think they used his autism, however tragic, as an excuse to justify allowing and even encouraging their son to swear, raising a foul-mouthed child when they clearly did not need to.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.

Parents had a problem with their autistic son.  He kept swearing.  They claim they tried to get him to stop, but they couldn't.  So instead, they at least taught him how to swear in "appropriate circumstances."

Instead of teaching Malcolm to stop swearing, we would teach him how to do it correctly and appropriately, so he could avoid confrontations with authority figures and get along with other kids.

We walked Malcolm through the definitions of various swear words and the phrases in which they usually occur. “S—” is poop and means something is worthless or hiding something that is wrong or worthless. “F—” is sex and indicates doing something harmful to oneself (“F— me”) or someone else (“F— you”). We also struggled to teach him that “f—” has many variations and is often just used as a placeholder for more socially acceptable adverbs and adjectives “A——” refers to your anus (he knew that) and is a name for people who are unpleasant to be around.

Driving through the city, a car squeezed in front of us without signaling. “See Malcolm, that guy’s an a——.” Pointing to a giant billboard that said “Rep. Kingland is here to serve you!”: “That’s bulls—, Malcolm. Do you understand why?” “Because he doesn’t want to serve us?” “Exactly.” And when we realized that we left our shopping list at home, “F—!!” “Do you understand why Mommy said that, Malcom?” “She’s mad?”

Malcolm began his foray into socially acceptable cussing with our pets. He hates animals... One of the miniature poodles first felt his ire: “Get away from me, you a——!” And, more recently, when our large boxer was barking at him outside (which really scares Malcolm): “F— you, Gus!”

I think the parents gave up too easily.  Later in the article the parents admit that they were able to get Malcolm to stop other anti-social behavior:

We taught Malcolm that hitting and name-calling were not ever allowed, and we emphasized the point by threatening his use of the computer or video games.... Those obstacles were fairly easy to overcome[.]

If they could stop him from name-calling, they certainly could have stopped him from swearing.  Certainly as an autistic child he would be more difficult to teach, but I think, given what they were able to prevent him from doing, it seems clear they could have stopped him from swearing if they wished to.  I think they used his autism, however tragic, as an excuse to justify allowing and even encouraging their son to swear, raising a foul-mouthed child when they clearly did not need to.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.