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Swearing in front of children - is it normal in Polish society?


Da driver
5 Apr 2016 #1
Live in London. I have a real issue with my wife's relatives (brothers and sisters)swearing in front of my two year old girl. I am not talking about the occasional "bad" word - I'm talking about repeated use of "****" kurwa" and other such words in most sentences over an extended period. I've tried talking to them but they take no notice. I'm English she's Polish and we have a lovely little girl. Their attitude is - our kids take no notice of us swearing so why should we stop in front of your child? In my mind that's missing the point. Most people I know would not swear in front of impressionable children. It's a real source of tension with my wife. We can't ignore her family but I will never accept their disgusting swearing.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
5 Apr 2016 #2
We can't ignore her family but I will never accept their disgusting swearing.

Then don't. Tell them that if they want to be around you and the child, the swearing has to stop.

For what it's worth, it's the problem associated with lower class Poles. Well educated Poles would never swear like that in front of a child.
Lyzko 37 | 8,566
6 Apr 2016 #3
I never experienced such per se here in Maspeth!

On the other hand, there are more old grannies around, even more than in Greenpoint, so perhaps my observation's not entirely fair:-)

Poles tend to be a little more modest while gabbing on their iPhones than, say, the Russians in my experience.
Wulkan - | 3,243
6 Apr 2016 #4
Da driver, I think you are over sensitive, one day your daughter will have to come out of her bedroom and face the harsh world, do you realize that?
Atch 17 | 3,686
6 Apr 2016 #5
Yes but that time hasn't yet come. She is two years old and entitled to have her childhood respected. She's also at the age where children pick up language very quickly and it's only a matter of time before she'll start repeating these words herself.

@Da Driver. Of course that can be dealt with by simply telling her that it's not a nice word for a little girl and she mustn't say it. Kids will generally accept that. You'll find that by the time she's four she'll have the usual young child's disapproving attitude towards swearing and will take great pleasure informing on other children 'Daddy he/she said a bad word'. She may even correct her swearing relatives 'that's not a nice word. You shouldn't say that'. So don't despair!

the swearing has to stop.

Unfortunately Delph as you pointed out it's a cultural norm and I think even if they wanted to, they would find it very difficult to break the habit. K*rwa is used almost as a form of punctuation, occurring numerous times in a sentence and to eliminate it from their speech would require huge concentrated effort.

@Da Driver, as I say, they are most unlikely to stop. This is one of those situations where you and your wife need to be singing off the same hymn sheet. Unless she agrees with you that it's an issue, then you won't get anywhere. Unless your wife backs you up, your only course of action, if you don't want your little girl to hear such language is to keep her away from her mother's family - what a Pandora's Box that would be. I presume these are mostly younger male relatives of your wife? What about the grandparents? Polish women rarely swear, how about Grandad?? Probably your only option is to let it go, if you don't want this to escalate into a major family/marital row.
dolnoslask 6 | 3,072
6 Apr 2016 #6
Atch, "t's a cultural norm" It never was 50 years ago, if I used that word as a kid my father would stuff a bar of carbolic soap in my mouth, must be something that grew out of communist time, or the general slide / decay of social standards worldwide

But from experience It does seem to be the thickos who use it in every sentence , same as English speaking thickos that use the F word all the time.

Not good to swear in front of kids really, but nowadays some parents just don't seem to care if their own kids swear , they probably leave it for teachers to sort out in the classroom
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,872
6 Apr 2016 #7
meh - it is only words - who cares?

As long as children are aware of 'register' ( that means time and place for you "thickos")

Honestly its just so lower middle class to get upset about eg 'fart' .

My Polish outlaws were always swearing esp the mum, (something that sounds like kurwa but means chicken?) now the kids' dad tells them that 's.h.i. t is a 'swearword'. But he doesn't support them. so.....who's got their priorities f.u.c.k.e.d.?

Deeply silly people.

Having said that , two years old IS a bit young, and at that 'parrot' phase. OP just stop inviting them round for another two years.
Atch 17 | 3,686
6 Apr 2016 #8
(something that sounds like kurwa but means chicken?)

Kurcze (not sure if that's the correct spelling). That one's not swearing Roz. It's quite acceptable for 'ladies' as is kurde. It's kind of like the equivalent of feck. But if a two year old picks up on k*rwa it's the equivalent of them going around the place saying f*ck which I don't think most parents would be too happy about. But as I say if she does pick it up, at that age, she'll stop saying it if she's told that it's not a nice word for children to use.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,872
6 Apr 2016 #9
That one's not swearing Roz

I know it isn't in theory - but when some mad old bat is screaming it regularly as though it were, it doesn't sound any better tbh.

Yes my dad had to stop saying f.u.c.k when I was about 2. He is far from being uneducated or thick I should add...:)
dolnoslask 6 | 3,072
6 Apr 2016 #10
The odd accidental F coming out in general conversations does happen, I have done it myself only to turn round and find a friends kid behind me, I just apologies ..

But those who use it in every sentence all the time at work and at home are thickos for sure.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,872
6 Apr 2016 #11
The odd accidental F coming out in general conversations does happen

exactly - I mean what are you supposed to do when you, e.g. drop a brick on your foot
dolnoslask 6 | 3,072
6 Apr 2016 #12
Roz Oh Sugar sticks my foot hurts in front of the kids , Oh F that hurt at all other times, (erm well not in front of the parish priest maybe)
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Apr 2016 #14
Unfortunately Delph as you pointed out it's a cultural norm and I think even if they wanted to, they would find it very difficult to break the habit.

I hate to agree, but I do.

But in this case, I'd simply put the foot down. If they can't stop it, then they don't see the child, end of story.

(having said this, the wisest advice is not to marry into such a family that finds swearing in every second word to be acceptable)
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,024
6 Apr 2016 #15
Why do such standard things that are present in countries all over the world, get turned in to 'is this just something that people from your country do?'

As has been mentioned, people from the lower classes tend to swear more, as they do in America, England and elsewhere. More educated or better brought up people do not swear in front of their kids.

So to answer the topic title, no this is not normal in society in Poland.
jon357 71 | 20,037
6 Apr 2016 #16
As has been mentioned, people from the lower classes tend to swear more, as they do in America, England and elsewhere.

This is true, however it occurs far more within the Polish language. If you walk round town here, in the daytime, and count the number of times you hear the word "kurwa"...

Worth remembering that it means "wh0re". Interesting what that says about the psychology of the nation as a whole that they chose the word "wh0re" as not only their favourite obscenity, but one that an awful lot of people in Poland parrott out several times a minute.

More educated or better brought up people do not swear in front of their kids.

This is also true, however its the tracksuit-wearing, mulleted, church-going, bigos-eating ones ones further down the food chain whose use of it you (and the poor wee kiddies) hear.

So to answer the topic title, no this is not normal in society in Poland.

It is very much 'normal society'. Every society is comprised of different elements and the poorer and less-educated are the vast majority. Hence hearing it all the time.

I favour this approach:

Then don't. Tell them that if they want to be around you and the child, the swearing has to stop.

Having said that , two years old IS a bit young, and at that 'parrot' phase. OP just stop inviting them round for another two years.

Brit/Pol divorc
6 Apr 2016 #17
Regardless of whether your wife's family swear in front of your children, they will have a fairly extensive profanity vocabulary from a fairly young age. The important thing they need to know is when it's okay to swear and when it's not.The role of the parent here is to model the appropriate behavior.Your wife is not at fault for the unacceptable behavior of her immediate. Looking from the outside Da Driver is punishing the innocent on this one.
dolnoslask 6 | 3,072
6 Apr 2016 #18
Jon "church-going, bigos-eating ones ones further down the food chain whose use of it "

Wow I never new that going to church and eating bigos made me swear, I learn something amazing here on pf everyday.
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,024
6 Apr 2016 #19
@Jon

I see generalizing is something you're a fan of. So the tracksuit wearing skinheads (very few Polish people have got mullets, it's not Texas) are also the church goers. It's interesting to see how your mind works. This lot, who do all these things and eat these foods, act like this.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,872
6 Apr 2016 #20
The important thing they need to know is when it's okay to swear and when it's not.

exactly. My 17 year old swears like a trooper but tones it right down for school and in front of little ones...:)
She can even swear in both languages...the Polish TA at her school really liked her cos she would tell the others to shut it when they started swearing in Polish..:)
Atch 17 | 3,686
6 Apr 2016 #21
But if you take the 'you can't come round here anymore' stance it has much wider implications and it can lead to a major marital dispute. Plus of course it's not just a question of them not visiting the OP but the OP not visiting them, so what about Christmas, birthdays etc. I can't see the Polish wife agreeing to that. If the grandparents don't swear then the little girl could be visited by them but she couldn't visit their house as there's no guarantee that a swearer might not show up during the course of the visit! I think trying to keep the child away from her Polish relations is not a practical, workable solution unless the OP is prepared for a family feud. Besides it's quite possible that wifey will go behind husband's back and let the child have contact with the relations anyway.......so really, if wifey doesn't agree that relations must make an effort to moderate their language then the OP is stuck with it.
jon357 71 | 20,037
6 Apr 2016 #23
very few Polish people have got mullets,

Thousands have. Not the mullet you're thinking of, but a different kind, the Polish Mullet, where they leave the back of your hair thicker than the rest. Less hassle than to carry round a sign saying "provincial".

I see generalizing is something you're a fan of.

What else can one do when talking about large groups of people. Unfortunately the near constant swearing, particularly 'kurwa' comes as part of a package of behaviours. Not all 'kurwa' swearers dress like that however yes, extreme behaviours and habits in any society tend to come as part of a cultural/socioeconomic package.

And to keep to the thread, it's the OP's house and daughter and if some guest (an in-law or not) offends their host, they can either apologise and stop doing it (pretty hard for such an ingrained habit) or they can stay out of his home.

I wouldn't allow that in my home here in Warsaw, he doesn't need to allow it in his home either.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,872
6 Apr 2016 #24
the mullet is only fashionable with kids in hot countries like Spain because it saves the back of the neck from being burnt.
It is NOT a socio-economic class marker
jon357 71 | 20,037
6 Apr 2016 #25
It's going off topic a bit so best switch this to random, but the Polish Mullet is a bit different. There are some pictures of them somewhere on here.
sledz 23 | 2,250
7 Apr 2016 #26
I'm talking about repeated use of "****" kurwa" and other such words in most sentences over an extended period. I

This kind of talk is common place in the Polish communities of Chicago.
Its nothing new, maybe the PC police tell you what you want to hear, but you know, come on now:)


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