How to Safely Start Cursing in Front of Your Parents

Four tips for keeping the soap out of your mouth.

By Brooke Mondor, Brookhaven College


Growing up in a semi-conservative household, the only times I heard my parents curse were when they hurt themselves or were being really serious.

So, when I started incorporating curse words into my vocabulary in middle school and beyond, I had to be pretty secretive about it. Until recently that is, when I decided that I’m a grown ass woman and I can say what I want (kind of).

My journey was not an easy one. I had to be smart if I wanted this to go smoothly, and it had to go smoothly because if I just started dropping f-bombs left and right, I would have either A) Given my parents a heart attack or B) Gotten myself grounded.

I realized that serious precautions had to be taken. So, I came up with four ways to start slowly mixing colorful language into my everyday conversations with my parents: Do it when they do it, start small and use it for comedic effect or emphasis.

Cuss When They Do

Monkey see monkey do is—in my opinion—one of the easiest ways to start out, because it gives you a clear line of plausible self-defense. The dialogue will probably look a little something like this:
Parent: “Dammit, I forgot to mail this letter.”
You: “Oh, damn that sucks. Let me do it for you tomorrow.”
Parent: “…What did you say?”
You: “Hey, you said it first.”

This is easier to get away with the older you get. Results may vary with this one depending on the severity of your parents’ strictness and which words you decide to use. Which brings me to my next point.

Start Small

If you have strict or even semi-strict parents when it comes to cursing, they will definitely not appreciate you waltzing up to them and casually dropping harsh expletives. (Unless you’re very confident that they won’t mind or just living on the edge, I suggest avoiding that.)

In my experience, starting small is the best decision you can make. Eventually your parents will get used to hearing you say the less-offensive curse words, so when you do finally start using the bigger ones, they won’t be so off guard.

Ass, hell and damn are good ones to start with. Plus, if you get questioned about why you used one of those, it’s a lot easier to come up with an excuse than if you started off with motherfu*ker.

Comedic Effect

Once you’ve gotten a little more comfortable with cursing around your parents, it’s time to try cursing for comedic effect. When you watch movies or TV shows these days, there’s rarely a character that doesn’t use at least some sort of expletive when delivering their joke. Kids do it, grandmas do it—even teachers do it.

People think cursing is funny if the timing is right, but if you abuse the comedic power of curse words and use too many or at untenable times, it won’t turn out well. You’ll look like an idiot and everyone will think you’re not funny, plus they’ll think that you don’t even know how to cuss. Don’t be that guy.

If you don’t have natural comedic timing, try gaining inspiration from your favorite potty-mouths on TV. There’s definitely plenty to choose from.

Curse for Emphasis

This strategy is the reason most people curse to begin with.

Curse words are bold. Direct. They get the point across that you mean business. Since my parents hardly ever cursed when I was younger, I knew shit was getting real when I heard “Clean your DAMN room!”

That word and the tone alone hit a switch in my young brain that made me think oh god what have I done? The fact that they cursed sparingly really gave those select few words power over all of the others.

Whether you are telling your parents about your bad day, that idiot in your class who sucks or even about something awesome that happened, try to slip some curse words in there. If they question your word choice, just blame the excitement of the moment. You were so into the story that you just couldn’t contain yourself!

But, like I mentioned earlier, it’s best if you don’t start off with hard cursing straightaway.

A little hell and damn never hurt anyone, but sh*t-for-brains and f*cktard may raise some eyebrows.

Keep in mind though, that not all parents are made the same, and results will vary.

Some of you will never be able to muster the courage necessary to cuss in front of your parents and that’s totally OK. For those of you who decide to test the waters and venture into the unknown, keep my sage advice tucked into your brain folds and good luck.