Sep 1, 2011

Swearing: MG/YA

What are your feelings about swearing in MG and YA books?

This goes back to the inappropriateness in books for a middle school library post I wrote. There are times I am reading a book and I don't even notice the swearing. Then there are times when I notice the swearing, like it is too forced.

After being in a middle school I know that kids swear. And swear. When my son was in the hospital I rented him Call of Duty Black Ops. I wouldn't normally because it is a pretty mature game, but he had to lay in bed hooked up to an IV for three days straight--I pretty much gave him whatever he wanted. I was commenting on the swearing and he said, "Mom, I hear worse than this everyday in school." So, I know that for kids it is an everyday thing. But, what do parents think? I also know my own son choses not to swear, not matter how much he hears it. (He is only 13, he might start up someday, but I hope not).

If your son or daughter brought a book home from their middle school library with lots of swearing in it, would it sit well with you?


  1. I am not a parent, but it doesn't bug me as long as it fits. Kids swear, especially when in some of the situations in these books. I heard the "f" word on the bus when I was in 3rd grade. But I don;t think it is something parents should be sheltering kids form because they hear it daily. If that doesn't make them say anything, reading it in a book won't either.

    And good for your son for not front of you. I never swore in front of my parents until I had graduated from college...but I did it around my friends (but never at school, I was a goody goody and didn't want to get into trouble).

  2. I do know that he might swear around friends, but I truly don't think he has started to yet, much anyway. He says that sometimes he says it in his head. It will come. His little brother on the other hand will probably start throwing things out much sooner (he's 11)!  A lot of that ha to do with peers, as you know. My older son has way more like minded friends. My younger one doesn't. It's all part of growing up!

  3. I have a 12 year old daughter, and I wouldn't be overly concerned if she read a book with sweating - oh what am I saying she already has! She knows that swearing is not the best way to talk and that she will be in trouble if she does. Since I teach her age, if she read a book with a ton of what I see as gratuitous swearing I'd ask her how she feels about it, and use that to talk to her about it, but otherwise I'd let it go.

  4. I don't think I would be bothered if my (non-existent) MG/YA child read a book with curses. At work though it's frustrating because I want to recommend all these great books to my library kids but I don't want their parents to hang me if they find out there are curses.

    When I read them myself, I don't mind them there as long as it makes sense. Sometimes it feels very forced and doesn't seem to fit the "tone" of the rest of the book. That bothers me more on a writing level than on an anti-swearing level.