Sense & Sensitivity

Reader Questions Where Son Learned Foul Language

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 10-year-old son came home from school spouting expletives like he was reciting a school play. I was shocked. We do not curse at home, and he knows that. I asked him where he heard this language, and he shrugged me off without answering. I let him know that he would be punished if he cursed again, but I want to get to the bottom of it. Clearly, he heard someone cursing, and I’m thinking it was at school. Should I speak to his teacher, or just continue to work with him on what he is allowed to say? -- Ending Profanity, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

DEAR ENDING PROFANITY: There are so many places where one can hear profanity these days that it may be impossible to pinpoint the origin of your son’s inspiration. Simply walking down the street, he can hear adults and teens cursing at each other.

Manage this one-on-one. Let him know the consequences of cursing. Remind him that he is not to do it, even if his friends do. Let him know what these words mean and how hurtful it can be when you use them. If his cursing escalates, then speak to his teacher.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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