Watch Your Mouth

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I do try to not use the bad words in front of children. Not just mine, all children. I hate hearing people walking around areas with a dense population of littluns swearing their heads of as loud as possible. It’s rude, it’s unnecessary, and to be honest I don’t like it even when little ears aren’t around to soak it up and regurgitate it out later, and they really do.

I said “goodbye Hot Stuff” to The Boy, and Miss Rose immediately said “goodbye Dot Huff”. She soaks it up, and spits it back out, even when I don’t want her to. For this very reason I try to limit how much of things I don’t want her to repeat that she hears. Unfortunately there are times it is just not possible, and from my own mouth not just the mouths of strangers.

I recently went to get into a nice hot bubble bath with Miss Rose. She was happily splashing and playing, delighted at our shared experience, and as I lowered myself (a little too quickly) into the bath, through the layer of frothy rose scented bubbles, I found myself being violated by a red plastic octopus which went where no octopus had been before. And hopefully no octopus will ever go again! Needless to say I leapt into the air, wrenched said octopus from the orifice in which it was lodged, and screeched a rather potent word.

Miss Rose watched this, giggled, and carried on splashing. Apparently unperturbed by both my recent octopus related abuse, and the choice of language that was still echoeing around the bathroom.

The thing is, there are lots of things which grown ups can do and say which children can’t. It’s one of life’s cruel double standards which will annoy our children until they’re eighteen years old and can do and say whatever they want.

I drink wine in front of Miss Rose, she isn’t allowed to. I drive a car, she has to stay strapped in her carseat in the back. I walk around in high heels, she has to wear pumps. I stay up late, she has to go to bed. As she gets older and understands more she will realise I watch violent films, sexy films, and she can’t. I go out dancing and drinking (albeit not often… but it has been known) and she has to stay home. These are all things that you are not allowed to do as a child and, if you try, you’re prevented. Swearing is the same.

If Miss Rose did repeat one of the words shouted by the kids in the street or by myself when I manage to trip on a mega block, fall over a pink ride on truck, smack my head on the book case and some how get my arm stuck in a shape sorter, then she will be reprimanded. No it isn’t fair, yes that is just how life sometimes works.

By no means am I suggesting that hearing swearing the same amount as all other words is right, but sometimes in life it is the word which just comes out and is aptly used. I hate hearing “F*cking pass the f*cking ball then you f*cking c*nt” from gangs of men playing ball in the park, but that is different.

Watch your mouth, kids are sponges. But also accept that nobody is perfect and sometimes grown ups say and do things they wouldn’t let their kids say and do. That’s okay, we’re all human and when our children are adult these words will intersperse their vocabulary in the same way as ours.

If you’re a swear-word-free parent then I do admire you, because I know you are out there and I know that many of you would consider parents who occasionally swear following octopus violation to be having as negative an impact as those who swear constantly, and that’ s okay because I understand. I’m not saying it’s right or good to swear in front of your kids, I’m saying that sometimes it’s forgivable and sometimes we all need to cut ourselves some slack.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!



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