My Son Wants to Use Stronger Words
A reader asks, “I have a question I’d appreciate being posted anonymously, please. My 12-year-old son came to me with this: he would like permission to use some “stronger” words to use on certain occasions. He had some good friends who use words like “cr-p”and “dang”, and he says he feels left out when all he can say is “oh, man.” Lol. I want to tell him to always have his words be kind and good, etc. But, barring swear words of course, IS there a place for stronger words in a young man’s vocabulary?”
I have really mixed feelings about this one. Most of those things don’t offend me and you’ll occasionally hear some strongish interjections around here (but no profanity). However, an old friend once challenged a group of us at her house for a mom’s night out to consider our hearts.
Yeah, once again, it’s a heart issue.
If you use a sanitized swear word because it’s socially acceptable, how is your heart any different than if you are swearing? Christ makes it very plain that our hearts are what matter. It made me rethink a lot of things. Why did I feel the need to say something stronger than ordinary language? Was I railing against God’s providence? What ever happened to “I have learned in all things to be content?”
All that to say, that I’m not upset if I hear a son express surprise or dismay, but we discourage even sanitized cursing (jeez, dang, durn) that just seems to be another way to express ungodly anger or expressions, such as using the Lord’s name in vain or calling for His curse on something or someone unjustly. We tell them, “You speak English. Say what you need to say in real words.” (This works just as well in any language. 🙂 )
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Another big issue, though, is his desire to fit in at the cost of using words your family doesn’t. That’s a dangerous path to start on. Are other kids making fun of him? Is he just wanting to be like them?
It’s probably time for a talk with him about friendships and leadership, dares and teasing. Most kids feel very socially awkward in the preteens and early teens and it may be just a passing desire to be more comfortable, but there’s no time like the present to talk about peer pressure and how to stand strong while the temptations aren’t all that big!
Young men (and women) need to be prepared to be leaders in their friendships.
They need to know how to respond to teasing by laughing themselves, ignoring it, or teasing back, but not by getting defensive or angry.
They need to know how to respond to dares. Teach them only cowards do things they don’t want to because they’re afraid of what their friends will say.
Especially, they need to understand that a true friend doesn’t tempt you to do wrong but encourages you to righteousness.