Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Youth Culture Update: Teens: watch your mouths or face fines!

A few weeks ago I was taking my three year old son swimming when some teens came into the locker room.  They were carrying on a conversation littered with colorful language.  My son is quite adroit in his language skills, and the last thing we need is for him to pick up swearing at such a young age.  I have to admit that I was bit rude in my tone as I told them to watch their choice of words.  They looked over, saw us and immediately responded with an apology.  I actually felt bad because their tone was much more respectful than my own.  With this experience fresh on my mind I was curious when I saw a headline about a Dallas area teen that was fined over $600 for swearing in school. You can read about the article here:

Aside from wanting my son to pick up some of the more eccentric words of the English language I have a pretty passive stance on the issue of cursing.  For many it is little more than a bad habit and reflection of the language use of their peers.  For others it is simply a filler word when they want to put an emphasis on something.  And as demonstrated in my experience in the pool locker room it can be turned on and off at will. But where does all this stem from? I believe that many youth swear as a means to reflect the intensity of emotion that they experience in their lives as adolescence.  There are occasions where an alternate swear word just doesn’t capture the emotional experience that teens are facing. 

So I think cursing should be addressed in some situations, but the majority of the time I would rather ignore the swear words and take the opportunity to address deeper issues.  For me it is the process of choosing my battles.  What do you think? Should we fine it or forget about it?
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