Dear Grandparenting: My grandchildren have a little language problem. My father and his three brothers served in the armed forces during WWII and Korea. They heard it all, but there’s no way they could keep up with those kids in the profanity department.
I figured it was a phase but this swearing thing has taken a real hold. They don’t swear around company because I would kill them. But when they’re by themselves, it can sound like they they’re having swearing contests.
I will admit it feels good to let loose with a profanity should the occasion call for it. But this is simply way too much. How would you handle it without starting WWIII? Marlena Brookins, Bakersfield, California
Dear Marlena: Profanity regrettably is becoming ho-hum in these potty-mouthed times, spicing up the conversations of celebrities, sports idols and world leaders.
With civility and good manners in short supply all around, coarse language trickles down. Researchers maintain many grandchildren have a working vocabulary 30 to 40 swear words — when they start school!
Don’t wait to institute a zero-tolerance policy for profanity. Forcefully remind your grandchildren that your hearing is fine. Explain how repeat offenders will be dealt with. Set a good example, since children learn by observing family members.
Expletives aren’t going anywhere. They’ve been around since the invention of language, and occur between 0.3 and 0.7 percent of all modern speech. That’s a whole lot more than it sounds, since we use personal pronouns just 1.0 percent of the time.
According to various scientific studies, there are silver linings galore to swearing. Researchers contend people who swear may in fact be smarter, happier, healthier and calmer, besides being generally better communicators with superior vocabularies. Draw your own conclusions.
Grand remark of the week
Tim Osler from Cockeysville, Maryland had just sat down to eat his bowl of ice cream with grandson Brad when the phone rang.
When Tim returned from the kitchen five minutes later, his bowl was empty and so was Brad’s.
“I had to eat it to save it,” said Brad. “It was all melting fast.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.