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02nd Nov 2015

When Kids Swear: Are They Getting It From YOU?

Sharyn Hayden

At four, my son Jacob is getting more inquisitive all the time, and there is seemingly no subject that is off-limits.

Lately, he has been asking questions like: ‘Why do we have to have bones?’, ‘Why don’t you have a willy?’ and ‘Why haven’t you brought me to the moon yet?’ – questions that we try to answer as honestly as we can so that he has the right information.

The answers he got, by the way, (in order), were: ‘So that you can stand up tall to high five dad’, ‘I’m a girl, boys have willies’ and ‘We just need to save up for another five years to get a ticket for the rocket ship’.

Ok, when I said we answer him honestly, I mean in so much as a four-year-old boy can handle…

Since becoming a mother, I have heard myself saying really ‘motherly’ things that I know I have inherited from my own mum. Things like ‘Get up those stairs to that bed!’ ‘Hand it over this minute!’ and the ever-so-famous, ‘I am going to count to three. One..’

I can even feel myself acting like her a little bit, in the way I hold them tight at the front of their bellies, or brush their hair from their foreheads – it feels like a very inherited thing.

I wonder will Jacob know that he started repeating me from such a young age. Will he remember saying ‘Can I just have one moment to myself, please, mammy?’ when I’m trying to interfere with his bum-wiping activities, or the more worrisome ‘I am SO cross with you right now!’, or the hilarious ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, mammy.. RELAX’.

All of this of late has made me very conscious about the things I am saying in his presence, for fear of being repeated at an embarrassing moment in the future. And in particular, because this happened recently;

Jacob:  Mammy, do you know what f*ckers is?

Me:       (Frozen to spot, mind racing, thinking, ‘When did I curse in front of him? When did I do it?!’) Em.. no..?

Jacob:   It’s the Irish for ‘oh my gosh’


Bullet. Dodged.

(For now)


What funny things do your kids repeat from you? Email me at