F**k Yeah! Parenting Advice from A Foul-Mouthed Father

New blogger Doug Prochilo provides “colorful” advice for teaching children about cursing.

I was raised by the Princeton-educated son of Italian immigrants, a man who cursed like a drunken stevedore while admonishing me, that if I did the same, I would burn in hell for my sins. And, it was just this sort of hypocrisy that lead me to abandon Catholicism, swearing that I would never talk out both sides of my mouth like my father had done.

Instead, I would embrace foul language.

Not only did I embrace it, I got good at it. Real good. I can string expletives together like it’s my fucking J-O-B. This ability has served me well in life, earning the admiration of my friends, and the loathing of strangers in traffic.

It was all fun and games until my friends started to have children. Suddenly I was getting lots of, “Doug? Really? In front of Alec?” It was hard to remember to keep myself in check while kids were around, and I was mildly irritated that my friends were suddenly adjusting their standards. And then, I had kids, and suddenly I had a wife who was hitting me with the, “Doug?  Really? In front of Rami?”

So, I made an effort. I actively tried to catch myself. It was hard. Too hard.  How could I have a brand new glass go shattering on the kitchen floor without screaming “mother fucker”? Was I really expected to let an old woman cut me off on the freeway and not have the satisfaction of loudly announcing that she was “a useless old twat”? And, who made all these language rules anyway? Who decided that one word was worse than another?

I made ‘adjustments.’ I would catch myself and, if my daughter were around as the plasma TV fell off the wall, I would simply scream, “G-D Mother F-er!” It allowed me to release my frustrations without exposing my young daughter to any of these so-called taboo words. And, it went along swimmingly until she entered her elite LA pre-school. Several months into the school year I was pulled aside by the lead teacher who wanted to inform me that, “Often times when Rami drops a toy, or perhaps spills her snack, she has a tendency to just scream out, ‘Oh, F-it!’” All I could tell the teacher was that I supposed it beat the alternative and I was doing the best that I could.

With more children and age, I have improved. I no longer drop foul words into casual conversation, (“Could you please pass the fucking salt…”) However, there are certain situations that are my kryptonite:  primarily, the car—my fortress of solitude—where I seemingly live in an alternate reality where I am oblivious to what’s even coming of my mouth. Until, of course, I hear a shout from the third row of seats, “Daddy, is a ‘dizzy whore’ someone who drives bad?”

And, then, there are the unfortunate accident situations—personal injury, unexpected destruction, etc. Again, here I have no self-control or personal editor. I recently was alone with my kids for a night, and scrambling to get some semblance of a meal on the table. I opened the refrigerator door too quickly and a dozen eggs fell out, splattering into a gooey mess on the floor. This caused me to drop a succession of F-bombs for every single shell that had broken. My children came running into to see what had happened, and I told them I had just broken some eggs and not to worry.

During dinner that night, my oldest (and the biggest rule follower) paused from eating her spaghetti to casually admonish me with, “You sad a bad word.”

“I know,” I replied, “I was angry.”

“You said the worst word,” she countered.  “A lot.”

Now normally, I would have cowered and apologized, but this was happening on a night where I was alone with three kids and just not in the mood to suck it up. It was time for a life lesson.

So, like a mental patient, I turned to my daughter and said, “You know what? They’re just words. They mean nothing, really. Does it show a lack of self-control on my part that I used these words? Sure. But, here’s the deal: I never use bad words to hurt people. I only use them in frustration. It hurts no one accept the people that decided these are bad words. And, mark my words; you will use these words somedayAnd, quite frankly, I don’t care if you do.”

I was met with catatonic stares. Stares that said, I will NEVER use those words. And, to my knowledge, they haven’t.

Even when my middle daughter came to me in tears and proceeded to detail some particularly unreasonable mistreatment from her older sister, and I empowered her with, “Really? She did that? You should go tell her that was an asshole thing to do.”

My daughter was horrified. “I can’t say that.”

“I just told you that you could.”

“Well, I’m not!”

“Well, then one of us is gonna be frustrated all night; and it’s not going to be me, cause I let it all out with a few bad words.”

My daughter refrained from calling her sister “an asshole.”

While they’re all goody-goody now, I know in my heart that I am subliminally giving my children the greatest gift of all:  the ability to hold their own at a professional hockey game — should need be. My work here is done.

So, go fuck yourself.

 

Photo of Irritated young man courtesy of Shutterstock

Drawn image courtesy of:  bettyx1138

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About Doug Prochilo

Doug Prochilo is a screenwriter who pens great feature film scripts that never get made, and bad television that does. (See "Vampire Bats" on Neflix.) He resides in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

Comments

  1. GOLD! Pure gold. Love this post. I am almost peeing my pants right now. I can’t wait to show it to my hubby to prove I am not the only one who swears too much in front of the kids.

  2. I swear so much when I’m driving that my son must have developed a pavlovian reaction…One day I slammed on the breaks and hooted the horn as the car in front of me stopped abruptly. My son who was about 2 years old muttered ‘fucking wanker’. I’ve failed to stop my kids swearing, but I have taught them that you don’t swear at school or at grandma’s house because it upsets people and that you never swear AT people. However, when you drop a heavy weight on your foot you are entitled to swear your fucking head off. They’re grown ups now and swear fluently. It hasn’t stopped them being extremely articulate young men.

  3. I don’t feel so alone anymore. Just the photo that accompanied the article had me in stitches. The article itself was a bonus!

  4. I always tell my kids, “you know how there are some things that only grown-ups can drink? There are some words that only grown-ups get to say.” As my boys got older, I explained that it’s a social custom that you only swear with your peers and not those who are older then you. The bigger the age difference, the less swearing should go on. Just to cut down on problems.
    I did give up swearing once for lent back in high school. But that summer I worked with a bunch of bitchy middle aged women who cursed like crazy and I’ve never put up much of an effort to stop since. What for? I think swearing well is a great fucking skill to have!

    • Sorry, I do have one story I meant to share. When my oldest was about 2 1/2 and learning to talk we were in the car and he started saying “fuck” over and over again. Each time I happily replied, ” that’s right sweety, truck!” Finally in confusion he said, “truck?” Yup, truck. LOL

  5. Rebecca says:

    HAHAHA! Conversation we just had with my 3yo today:

    What do you say when the tree starts falling? (Expecting “TIMBER!”)
    Her answer? “Oh, crap!” Noo… try again.
    “Oh Fuck?” (much laughter) Nooooo…. try again….
    “Oh, Shit?” (More laughter!) Nope… try “TIMBER!”
    “Awwww….. damn”

  6. This is hysterical! My karate sensei is exactly the same way..he can’t complete a sentence without inserting one of “The 7 Deadly Words”…and he’s Italian, too! I love it when he texts me (he also uses the funniest vocabulary!)…

  7. f yeah! says:

    I like you’re thinking. If they don’t let the f bomb slip a few times and get in trouble as kids, how will they learn to use it as adults? Better to drop it in kindergarten than a job interview. Let them fuck up when it doesn’t count!

  8. HappyGoLuckyBrightNSunny says:

    I have this convo with my nearly 6 yr old almost daily. He laughs when someone sings bad words in the car or hears them on TV when watching non PG shows. My mom, his gramma, NEVER uses foul words. However, she recently went to a Vietnamese restaurant. I told her that you use the name of the restaurant AFTER saying the word for soup, which of course in Viet is Pho (Pronounced Fuh). “So, Ma, for instance if the restaurant is ‘King’ how would you say the name?”

    “Pho-King. Oh my GOD!” Yep, I made her say it. After 40 yrs I FINALLY heard my mom use the *F* word. It was brilliant. This was, mind you, over the phone as she was sitting in the restaurant at the time. My 5 yr old, sitting next to me listening to the convo, also put the phrase together and said *fucking*. He immediately started to cry & buried his head in the cushions of the sofa in absolute horror. After my wife and I picked ourselves up off the floor, tears dripping from our chins from laughter, we consoled him and let him know that it was OK. We say bad words all the time. It’s no big deal. Sooner or later, you will too. And it’s OK. They’re just words. We laughed in hysterics for days.

  9. Merv Kaufman says:

    Reading this “confessional,” I was reminded of an incident that occurred when I was maybe eight. It was a Sunday morning and my parents were still in bed. I waltzed into their room and asked (innocently, actually), “What’s a God Damned Son of a Bitch”? My mother practically leaped out of bed—not to admonish me or wash out my mouth with soap but to say damning things about her hated older sister whom, she felt, had allowed her son to use such language. Mom demanded to know if it was my cousin who’d used such language. I confessed that, when we were out walking, he’d shouted it at one of our neighbors. “Uh-huh, uh-huh, you see!” my mother snorted at Dad, who frankly didn’t know what to say. Anyway, I never used those words again around my folks and was happy that it was Cousin Don who was called down about it and not me. Frankly, I think it OK to swear, but, truly, kids don’t really know what
    the language signifies, thus usually parrot what someone older has said or shouted. Until my daughter became a teen, I don’t remember any expletives being tossed around in my house.

  10. Fucking awesome article and writing! I think this guy should have his own reality show FATHER KNOWS BEST!

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