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Meadowlark

Please answer these 2 questions (my dad swearing in front of my kids)

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I've tried and tried to get various people to stop.the.cursing. Seriously. But they just won't. In the end, my kids have already heard the words, and they know they are wrong, and that they shouldn't ever say them. They haven't said them. So the kids see the people, and I give the adults the stink eye when they are inappropriate. But what are you going to do in the end...not let them see close relatives, ever?

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I suppose only the OP has the context to know whether her father likely meant it as a threat or not, but I, too, thought it sounded like a threat to use really bad curse words around the kids.

Oh, it was most definitely a threat. In fact, with all due respect, he was acting like a complete and total jerk throughout the entire conversation. He spoke rudely and laughed condescendingly.  My dad is mellow and likeable 99% of the time, but holy cow, when the right buttons are pushed...he resorts to an immature child and is a complete ass.  Somehow this must've hit a nerve deep within that I didn't foresee, or at least underestimated.

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Here are a few direct quotes of the conversation:

 

He said-

 

"I guess we'll have to spend less time together then"

"You think that's bad? I could teach him some really good ones"

"You can't keep them from everything, they have to live in the real world". 

 

 

With regard to my children, grandparents who can't respect my wishes soon become distant grandparents.

 

I let a toxic parent back me down for years with her huff and threats and guilt trips. In the end she pushed too far and was willing to cause emotional harm and physically endanger the kids just to prove she could do whatever she wanted. I don't speak to her and neither do my children. Your situation doesn't sound quite as dire, be aware that some people get incredibly vicious once you start standing up to them. (Like I can't believe someone would do that, I need therapy now vicious.)

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My dad is mellow and likeable 99% of the time, but holy cow, when the right buttons are pushed...he resorts to an immature child and is a complete ass.

One of my late uncle is that way when drunk, another late uncle has serious anger management issues that needs counselling. When they are mellow they are really decent people.

 

Is your mom good at curbing his behaviour or she just let him be.

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I think #1 is kind of a moot question, because who's to say whether it's okay or not for someone else to do something?  It wouldn't be okay for ME to do it, and I'd sure prefer that my parents didn't do it, but whether it's okay for them to do it or not is out of my control.    I might still ask them to stop in the presence of my children, but if it's an old habit, I doubt it will die.

 

I'd probably still give it a shot and ask them not to do it, but otherwise I'd put more energy into explaining to my children exactly why I don't care for it.   If you like everything else about your dad, I'd then just let it go.  But if there are other important things that bug you, then maybe it's time to distance yourself a bit.

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His rights end where yours begin.  You don't have a right to ask, but you have a right to state the problem and act on your solution unless he presents one of his own. 

 

I disagree that she does not have the right to ask. Of course she does. She's the mother, protecting her children. Why would that be a "right", anyway? :confused1:

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You'd have to physically hit my kids or insult them for me to restrict access.

 

Simply disagreeing with you on parenting styles, cultural norms, or religion is not enough, if you are the grandparent.

 

I do not know a single adult who has ever said, "I'm so glad I didn't have a relationship with my grandparents. They swear so much! Boy, what a horrible person I'd have turned out to be."

 

 

Ever. In fact, I have never in my entire life heard anyone say "I'm glad I wasn't close with my grandparents." The only people who express regret at knowing their grandparents were sexually molested or physically abused. I would of course limit contact 100% (like, you can't be around my kids, period,and I'll get a restraining order if you try) in that case.

 

Swearing? Politics? Religion? Bring it on. To me it's worth it. Family is family is family.

 

I would tend to agree with OP's dad in this case. They're going to meet all kinds of people in life. They deserve to know their grandfather as he is. Knowing grandpa is too important to let little cultural details in the way.

 

My grandpa was a racist. But he didn't speak against my dad in front of us. But my mom knew he was a racist. We still knew him and loved him and got his hugs. He died when I was eight. But I knew him. I knew he told me to feed the cat ice cream. He told me what he thought of politics.He told me how he flew an airplane.

 

Swearing is an inconvenience. Grandparents are priceless.

 

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I suppose it hinges on definitions of harm.  If I thought that a grandparent was harming my child, I'd do something about it.  But it would have to be something pretty serious: physical or sexual abuse, or verbal abuse directed at the child; disregarding basic safety procedures - leaving bleach where a toddler could drink it or refusing to use car seats.

 

I don't think that hearing swear words causes harm.  It leads to some serious (and good) conversations about language register.  But it wouldn't be something that would lead to me causing a rift with a grandparent.  My sons heard some pretty interesting words on the bus when they were small, or for that matter from their dad in moments of stress, but both have grown up understanding when different registers of language are appropriate.

 

If the relationship is otherwise good, I'd back down: 'Dad, I didn't know this meant so much to you.  I'll just explain to the kids that that's how you speak but it's better for them not to while they are little.'

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You have a right to ask. He has a right you refuse. You have a right to restrict access. He has a right to get angry about that.

 

All of this. 

 

I also think a 7 yr old is more than old enough to be told that that language isn't acceptable for kids, and not to repeat it. 

 

My mom and dad never swore in front of me EVER. I still sounded like a sailor when I was in junior high. 

 

I DO sometimes swear in front of my kids, especially the oldest. He has NEVER sworn in front of me, and the one time my 6 yr old repeated something I told her it wasn't a nice word, mommy shouldn't say it, and kids never should say it. 

 

No big deal. 

 

They won't be permanently damaged by a few bad words. But your father should TRY to tone it down. However, if you swear a lot it's pretty hard if not impossible to totally stop on a dime. Habit and all that. So he should try, and apologize when he messes up, and you should not make a big deal of it, and the kids should be told to not repeat those words. 

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Here are a few direct quotes of the conversation:

 

He said-

 

"I guess we'll have to spend less time together then"

"You think that's bad? I could teach him some really good ones"

"You can't keep them from everything, they have to live in the real world". 

 

Sounds like yo have bigger problems than swearing. Way bigger. I can't imagine my parents reacting like that to anything I asked. Even if it was unreasonable. 

 

Actually..maybe my dad, but only in the heat of the moment, and he'd feel badly afterwards. For him to get that contrary he'd have to feel very attacked and embarrassed. 

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Your dad is old. Aside from the cursing, is he someone you want your kids to know? Do you want to spend his remaining years fighting about his vocabulary? Or do you want to let it go and just teach your kids not to say those words? It's really not hard to teach them that "When you're 70 and have your own house you can say what you want, but OUR house rules are Children Don't Swear." MANY happy, well-adjusted, fully-functional adults grew up hearing words that they weren't allowed to say. There is some merit in not sheltering your kids to the point that they are a big raw nerve when they get out into the world.

 

Or, is your father a bad influence in other ways and this is just one of many habits that you think are unhealthy for your children?

 

Yes, this! I'm thinking of that movie, A Christmas Story, lol. The kids heard all sorts of swearing but knew they shouldn't say it. 

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I do think it's harmful because I think it will desensitize them to that kind of language and make them much more likely to use it. I would ask that the behavior stop. It may be difficult for your dad to stop because he has been desensitized to it and has developed a bad habit, but all the more reason I wouldn't let my kids be around that. I wouldn't want them to have the same problem. I would let a little time go by and then try to resume the relationship. Your dad may have been hurt by your request, and may never want to talk about it again, but when he cools off, he may make an effort to curb the language.

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Judging by my parents, asking a parent with a longtime language habit to change for your kids is unlikely to work.

 

I would just explain the concept of "vulgar" vs "refined" to the kids, and that while some adults choose to use words like that, as a family you choose not to, and regardless, they are adult words that children may not use, and if 7 year old or anyone else uses them again as long as they live with you, there will be a consequence.

:iagree:

 

I wouldn't restrict a loving grandparent relationship based on language. It's just the way some people talk, 

 

It's fine to have a conversation with your kids about what is and isn't acceptable language and why. And it's fine to tell them they cannot speak that way. They can learn to be patient with Grandpa and hear his heart without fussing about the package. Valuable lessons.

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You'd have to physically hit my kids or insult them for me to restrict access.

 

Simply disagreeing with you on parenting styles, cultural norms, or religion is not enough, if you are the grandparent.

 

I do not know a single adult who has ever said, "I'm so glad I didn't have a relationship with my grandparents. They swear so much! Boy, what a horrible person I'd have turned out to be."

 

 

Ever. In fact, I have never in my entire life heard anyone say "I'm glad I wasn't close with my grandparents." The only people who express regret at knowing their grandparents were sexually molested or physically abused. I would of course limit contact 100% (like, you can't be around my kids, period,and I'll get a restraining order if you try) in that case.

 

Swearing? Politics? Religion? Bring it on. To me it's worth it. Family is family is family.

 

I would tend to agree with OP's dad in this case. They're going to meet all kinds of people in life. They deserve to know their grandfather as he is. Knowing grandpa is too important to let little cultural details in the way.

 

My grandpa was a racist. But he didn't speak against my dad in front of us. But my mom knew he was a racist. We still knew him and loved him and got his hugs. He died when I was eight. But I knew him. I knew he told me to feed the cat ice cream. He told me what he thought of politics.He told me how he flew an airplane.

 

Swearing is an inconvenience. Grandparents are priceless.

 

 

Me, Me, Me!  Now you have.  My maternal grandmother was evil.   I don't use that word lightly.   There are very few people in the world truly evil, but she was one of them.   I wasn't abused either physically or sexually.   But, yes, I'd rather have not known them.  I'd be more whole if I hadn't.   My maternal grandfather was a great guy, but did nothing to curb her, so I had lots of anger towards him too for a long time.  I saw them a lot until I was 8 and then we moved 1000 miles away.   I have told my parents the distance from them was one of the many benefits of the move.  I would have cut them off myself as an adult.   But, my mother kept hoping for a normal relationship with her mother.  So, I kept something up for her sake.  I think Grandparents are second in line only to parents in the ability to inflict deep wounds.  

 

My paternal grandparents weren't great, but I am thankful I had a relationship with them.   Their only problem was that they acted like parents not grandparents,

 

I am extremely thankful that DD has three lovely grandparents who act like grandparents.  We don't ask for any food, bedtime or activity rules while with them.   But, the second that it looks like one of them might inflict an emotional wound on my child ...    Mama bear comes out and that set of grandparents is going in a grandparent time-out, first offense of 3 months. 

 

eta:  The OP knows her father best.  If both her and her husband thinks the grandfather is a positive in their kid's lives.,  Then it is. 

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I do think it's harmful because I think it will desensitize them to that kind of language and make them much more likely to use it. I would ask that the behavior stop. It may be difficult for your dad to stop because he has been desensitized to it and has developed a bad habit, but all the more reason I wouldn't let my kids be around that. I wouldn't want them to have the same problem. I would let a little time go by and then try to resume the relationship. Your dad may have been hurt by your request, and may never want to talk about it again, but when he cools off, he may make an effort to curb the language.

 

He's 73 years old....letting time go by may mean he dies before they see him again. Seriously, if the man is a good grandfather, and loves those kids, then don't cut him off. Love trumps language. A 7 year old is more than capable of learning that just because grandpa does something doesn't mean he can. 

 

Heck, I drive, drink alcohol on occasion, and use the stove. My 6 year old knows mommy can do it but she can't. Kids are smart. 

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Me, Me, Me!  Now you have.  My maternal grandmother was evil.   I don't use that word lightly.   There are very few people in the world truly evil, but she was one of them.   I wasn't abused either physically or sexually.   But, yes, I'd rather have not known them.  I'd be more whole if I hadn't.   My maternal grandfather was a great guy, but did nothing to curb her, so I had lots of anger towards him too for a long time.  I saw them a lot until I was 8 and then we moved 1000 miles away.   I have told my parents the distance from them was one of the many benefits of the move.  I would have cut them off myself as an adult.   But, my mother kept hoping for a normal relationship with her mother.  So, I kept something up for her sake.  I think Grandparents are second in line only to parents in the ability to inflict deep wounds.  

 

My paternal grandparents weren't great, but I am thankful I had a relationship with them.   Their only problem was that they acted like parents not grandparents,

 

I am extremely thankful that DD has three lovely grandparents who act like grandparents.  We don't ask for any food, bedtime or activity rules while with them.   But, the second that it looks like one of them might inflict an emotional wound on my child ...    Mama bear comes out and that set of grandparents is going in a grandparent time-out, first offense of 3 months. 

 

eta:  The OP knows her father best.  If both her and her husband thinks the grandfather is a positive in their kid's lives.,  Then it is. 

 

So it sounds like this is an emotional abuse situation and I'm very sorry you went through that. :(

 

You are talking about someone who it sounds like tried to hurt you and your family emotionally and that's terrible.

 

However, I am talking about people who are basically decent but don't live up to our standards of a "good influence".

 

Surely you weren't angry at your grandmother because she was swearing or smoking or had boyfriends, right? It would only because she was cruel to you.

 

Note that people aren't allowed to smoke in our house or around the kids but we still know smokers and they just go to the smoker's pole.

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Me, Me, Me!  Now you have.  My maternal grandmother was evil.   I don't use that word lightly.   There are very few people in the world truly evil, but she was one of them.   I wasn't abused either physically or sexually.   But, yes, I'd rather have not known them.  I'd be more whole if I hadn't.   My maternal grandfather was a great guy, but did nothing to curb her, so I had lots of anger towards him too for a long time.  I saw them a lot until I was 8 and then we moved 1000 miles away.   I have told my parents the distance from them was one of the many benefits of the move.  I would have cut them off myself as an adult.   But, my mother kept hoping for a normal relationship with her mother.  So, I kept something up for her sake.  I think Grandparents are second in line only to parents in the ability to inflict deep wounds.  

 

 

 

eta:  The OP knows her father best.  If both her and her husband thinks the grandfather is a positive in their kid's lives.,  Then it is. 

 

my mother was an only child - or I'd think we must be cousins.  maybe they lied.  you just described my maternal grandparents.  I developed my working definition of what is evil from that woman. psychological and emotional abuse, is still abuse. and it still causes lasting damage.

 

I'm so sorry my father turned down a job promotion/transfer to another city far FAR away from the woman. my entire family would have been better off with no contact with the poison she spread. I do think how she treated my mother and father was one facet of what drove my father to suicide when I was 12.  my mother was a doormat to her mother, and grandmother - an evil woman -  had far far too much influence on her grandchildren. the damage is very very very long lasting, even to my nieces and nephews dealing with the fall-out.  I'm  the most "normal" of my siblings, and I had a lot of damage.

as I was learning how to deal with her - as an adult, I limited my contact one 15 minute phone call or as long as she was polite. (frequently they were only 5minutes.)

 

I have a friend whose father took a job in another country to get his children away from his parents.  now that she's an adult and has become better acquainted with those cousins who had contact with her grandparents.  she said it's almost a given that every single one is messed up. - she's *VERY GLAD* to have grown up on the other side of the planet.

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Surely you weren't angry at your grandmother because she was swearing or smoking or had boyfriends, right? It

 

there were things along those lines that severely harmed my relationship with my mother (specifically her choice of entertainment - to which she regularly exposed adolescent/teen me, and my children (and I was *limiting her*), and the boyfriends she chose to be involved with when I was a teen.  it wasn't the idea of a boyfriend per se - it was who she chose, how she behavied, and despite all the evidence it was a very bad situation - she wouldn't end it.).   it also isn't "movies per se", but the ones' to which she chose to drag me. or any of the other stuff - per se. but THE HOW.  e.g.my dad having a beer/wine with dinner with his friends - fine.  someone getting completely smashed in front of kids - not fine.  someone using a swear word occasionally to emphasize something - maybe fine.  someone using a swear word every. single. sentence (I've encountered people who talk that way) - not fine to me. (eta: for the latter - usually people who swear that much, have other issues)

 

if my mother had acted like a responsible adult, things would have been different.  (if she was a responsible adult - she would have made more intelligent choices.).

it does come down to responsibility.

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"Grandpa curses. I don't like it, but I love him. Just because you hear him curse doesn't mean it's ok for you to, and I will discipline you for doing so. You are responsible for what comes out of your mouth."

 

I would not ever interfere in a grandparent/grandchild relationship merely because of cursing.

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So it sounds like this is an emotional abuse situation and I'm very sorry you went through that. :(

 

You are talking about someone who it sounds like tried to hurt you and your family emotionally and that's terrible.

 

However, I am talking about people who are basically decent but don't live up to our standards of a "good influence".

 

Surely you weren't angry at your grandmother because she was swearing or smoking or had boyfriends, right? It would only because she was cruel to you.

 

Note that people aren't allowed to smoke in our house or around the kids but we still know smokers and they just go to the smoker's pole.

And what if one of those smokers called you to yell at you? Things like how dare you tell them when or where they can smoke, they'll smoke when they want and you can't stop them. Things like 'well, you wouldn't know if I smoked around your kids when you're not there!', or 'now I want to smoke around you all even more!'

 

No, they haven't actually physically hurt the kids. But they are making the relationship difficult and emotionally unsafe.

Yes, I really had this exact conversation with my parent. It was indicative of deeper dysfunction, I couldn't allow my children to learn that people are allowed to treat you so badly if they share blood. We no longer see them.

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"Grandpa curses. I don't like it, but I love him. Just because you hear him curse doesn't mean it's ok for you to, and I will discipline you for doing so. You are responsible for what comes out of your mouth."

 

I would not ever interfere in a grandparent/grandchild relationship merely because of cursing.

 

Although I agree with your Grandpa curses comment, I disagree about "interfering" in a grandparent/child relationship. That doesn't even make sense to me. Grandparents don't have license to behave any way they want just because they are grandparents.

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And what if one of those smokers called you to yell at you? 

 

 

I think I specifically said that people trying to hurt me or the kids is not okay. If someone tutored my kids and then called me to yell at me, that would not be okay either.

 

Yelling, hitting, sexually abusing, not okay.

 

I am sorry I did not include "emotional and verbal abuse" in the first list of things because clearly that is a source of confusion. I do believe that emotional abuse is very real and harmful.

 

My point is that there is unsavory, impolite, uncouth behavior, but that's not harmful in and of itself. 

 

Relationships with relatives beyond mom and dad are to my mind an extremely important part of a human being's life and it is for that reason that I will defend my kids' right to have friends beyond those who I think are up to my standards of behavior. It is because the kids are important and I love them--not the other way around.

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Sorry Tsuga, my response was a bit over emotional. I get what you're saying. I just tend to err on the side of trusting the parents, who have the context, when they feel the line between uncouth/damaging has been crossed.

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Grandparents don't have license to behave any way they want just because they are grandparents.

 

But I never said that they did ...  :confused1:

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