There’s a time and a place and an order for everything. When and where you decide to teach your kids about cursing is up to you. Some parents will mistakenly attempt to keep their kids from ever hearing certain words or, worse yet, will punish their kids for saying them. This gives false power to a collection of sounds, and parents who do this are hopelessly inconsistent (“You can call your brother idiot but if you say shit when you stub your toe, then you’re a bad person”).
Let’s get one thing straight: There are no dirty words. Collections of sounds are neither clean nor dirty. There are mellifluous words, like mellifluous, and there discordant words like curmudgeon and almost unpronounceable words like rural, but there are no dirty words. And while many words have interesting histories, the ‘vulgar’ words of a language often have the most interesting etymologies and histories of all, like fuck, which may be a distant cousin of pugnacious. It’s also a fantastic example of a word whose onomatopoeic feel is likely a part of its success. Telling someone to ‘fuck off’ is much more pleasing to our mouths and psyches than telling them to ’swive off,’ which sounds like you’re inviting them to enjoy a lovely vacation.
So now I’ve convinced you to allow — nay, to teach — your children the entire lexicon of swears. But, you ask, in what order should you teach these words? Without further ado, the list:
poop, poopy, doo doo, doody
jesus, jesus christ
goddamn, goddamn it
motherfucker (uncle fucker, if you’re into South Park)
At this point, your kid is already past the age of 8, so they’re pretty much on their own.