Adults seem to take for granted that being crude is part of the nature of boys. “Let boys be boys,” they say. Let them make jokes about body functions and use crass language. We can’t expect them to be careful in their speech. Well, here’s news for all of you: I am raising four masculine boys and I don’t allow them to speak or act crudely. And they don’t!
The other day, D (nearing 12), brought up the subject of crude talk. Some of his friends have always been looser in their talk than we allow here. As he gets older, the tongues of many of his friends are getting worse. Was I being too strict? He wanted to know.
Here are some of the reasons I gave him for our rules against being crude:
1. We are not beasts
Unlike lower animals, humans have reason. We can regulate our behavior. We are not subject to impulses. We should be raising our eyes to Heaven, not lowering them to earth. We should speak about the higher things in life.
2. The saints are not crude
If we’re raising our kids to be saints, why would we allow them to form habits that will hinder them later? If they will later have to overcome bad habits of speech, why not make their way smoother by helping them resist forming such habits in the first place?
3. Controlling our tongues keeps us from sin
A person with a crude tongue as a kid is going to have a hard time not slipping into obscenity and profanity as he grows older. Learning to bite our tongues before we say something crude forces us to think before we speak. That habit can help us avoid gossip, suggestive talk, lies, and backtalk.
Is it a sin to talk crudely? Most of the time it isn’t. But if we want to be holy, we also have to avoid the near occasions of sin. We have to work on our attachments and imperfections as well. Crude talk is certainly an imperfection. So we do our best to avoid it in our house.
For more on a related subject, read my post on Raising boys to be men–not beasts.
Share with us: What rules does your family have about things that are not strictly sinful? How have they helped you raise your children in godliness?
8 thoughts on “Why I don’t let my boys be crude”
I would say that you are teaching your sons self-control. They are lucky to be learning it now and not having to unlearn bad habits later. It’s so difficult to overcome them.
Good to hear from you, Ruth Ann. Yes, that’s exactly it. We all need self-control, and certain of my boys have a tendency to speak before they think, so they especially need to work on holding their tongues.
We use the word “noble” around our place a lot (I have three boys age 5-8). It’s not noble to talk like that (we call it “base humor”), not fitting to the dignity of a child of God. I have no tolerance for it. We also talk a lot about how people make laughter, and making people laugh, like an “idol”….preferring to please others and experience delight by saying goofy or “un-noble” stuff in order to get a laugh, rather than to glorify God with more dignified, sober behavior that, as you say, reflects “higher things”. Lord knows, the goofiness and idle/useless talk that can get stirred up among boys is hard to tamp down, and it’s not sinful, but nor is it fruitful and allowing it to go unchecked, in my opinion, is not desireable. I tell my boys, when they are with friends, to do less talking and more doing…..to DO things together that develop their mind, strength, speed, etc….so that they can BE more like the characters they can become so obsessed with CHATTERING about (super/battle heroes, movie/book/game characters, etc.). We keep media very limited in our home, but these topics will inevitably come up with other kids a lot, and this is my approach. Get smart. Get strong. Get fast. Don’t sit around TALKING about some fantasy world characters….BECOME God’s heroes.
I’ve never seen your blog before…stumbled upon it looking for ideas to teach mental prayer to my kids. Hoping to get some help with that. God bless you and yours.
Great advice! I wish your boys were in our neighborhood.
Thanks for this I will use the points when I reprimand my boys for their crudeness. I will usually remind them that their crossing the line and take something away if I have to.
You’re welcome, Joanne. Glad to help.
I would also add, “My job as your parent is to turn you into a decent, civilized human being who can be an example to others. Civilized people don’t behave that way.”
Amen to that. You always hear about wives having a civilizing affect on their husbands, and I think, “What were their parents doing?” My boys’ future wives (if any) should not have to act like a mother to them.