Not in Front of the Kid
Something about a kid being present brings out the best in people. Even a hard-boiled, foul-mouthed sailor will go the extra mile to clean up his act when a little kid is in the room. Okay, it's not so much the best as embarrassment about the worst, but it suffices. Like when you stuff all your clutter in a bag and throw that bag in the shed when your relatives visit unexpectedly.
Of course, the reason for the censor doesn't have to be a kid. Sometimes it's the Team Mom
, sometimes an authority figure, or a Morality Pet
of some other kind. The difference between this and Think of the Censors
is that that's a Leaning on the Fourth Wall
trope, whereas this is justified in-universe.
Supertrope to Curse Cut Short
and Censorship by Spelling
. Y cuando se utilizan otras lenguas para ocultar la verdad a los niños
. This may be a reason for the Swear Jar
. It's also why characters Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears
This is, of course, Truth in Television
. See also Not in Front of the Parrot
of Little Brother Is Watching
Anime and Manga
- In One Piece, Queen Otohime stops the fishmen from releasing years upon years of pent up anger and oppression in a brutal massacre with one simple phrase: "The children are watching."
- Invoked in One-Punch Man. Metal Bat promised his little sister Zenko that he would not fight in front of her, which she deliberately used to break up his fight with Garou when she was nearby.
- Watchmen: Rorschach starts to tell off his landlady for telling lies about him to the media, calling her a whore; she pleads with him not to say that in front of her kids: "They don't know." Rorschach pets that particular dog, because he can see a parallel between her kids and his childhood - except he was not shielded from his mother's profession.
Film - Live Action
Film - Animated
- Parodied in Bait and Switch when Eleya refuses to give her best friend and first officer any details on her one night stand because "there are ensigns present."
- In 30 Minutes That Changed Everything McGonagall tells Hermione's parents, who are adopting a seven-year-old Harry and his year-younger sister, that the two kids have a rather sizable inheritance from their parents.
Robert Granger: Bugger me!
Rose Granger: ROBERT! CHILDREN!
- In The Ultimate Evil, Nat makes dumb-blonde jokes at Valerie until she's about to say a more indiscreet joke, prompting Valerie to remind her that their current company includes Jade, who's a preteen.
Nat: How do you get a blonde off her knees? Cu—
Valerie: Ahem! I think that type of joke is a little off limits due to our current company! Don't you think?! *indicates towards Jade*
Nat: Oh... Right. Sorry.
Live Action TV
- In A Brother's Price some women talk about stillbirths and miscarriages in front of Jerin, and are told "not in front of the menfolk!".
- In Fire and Hemlock, Polly's parents try not to fight in front of her, and often send her to stay with her grandma for this reason, but of course she notices anyway.
- The hardened soldiers of the borderlands in The Wheel of Time series have a great deal of respect for Aes Sedai, and really try to watch their language. This causes some of them a great deal of difficulty.
- In Thud!, when Lady Sybil and young Sam spend time at Pseudopolis Yard, the officers begin combing their hair, speaking quietly, and wiping their boots at the door.
- In a The Savannah Reid Mysteries novel, Savannah asks Dirk if he wants ice cream, and Dirk replies, "Do bears sh-" Savannah cuts him off, saying that there's a minor in the house and he should watch his language.
- Salvatore "Sally" Sweet of the Stephanie Plum books is a walking Cluster F-Bomb, until he gets a job as an elementary school bus driver, whereupon he starts wearing a rubber band around his wrist as a pain deterrent for when he swears.
- Maureen Smith relates, in To Sail Beyond the Sunset, one of her many tactics for dealing with her many children. Retreating to another room for a serious discussion is futile; the children will hear. Better to simply speak in French. And when the eldest learn French, switch to Spanish. And when the next few learn Spanish, switch to German...
- From the Aunt Dimity series:
- In Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea, Sir Percy takes Lori and her five-year-old twins to his island castle. When Lori is asking a member of Sir Percy's staff about his experience with children, Sir Percy intervenes, saying, "Andrew's also had specialized training that fits him for the job. Damian and I will tell you all about it after Rob and Will leave."
- In Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree, Lori tries to warn Bill off a secret topic by saying, "Pas devant les infants," only to have her son Will ask, "What's 'not in front of the children'?" His twin brother Rob informs her that Nell is teaching them French.
- Subverted or played straight in the first episode of Arrested Development depending on whether its the tv version or the uncut version. When Michael is talking to his brother GOB about a magic trick he plans to do, GOB says "An illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money." He then notices a bunch of kids staring at him, jaws dropped. In the TV version, he quickly says "Or candy." However, in the uncensored version, he says "Or cocaine."
- One episode of Castle brought Castle's daughter, Alexis, into the precinct and subverts this.
Javier Esposito: Found your stalker. Franco Marquez, AKA Frankie Markie. Hayley filed half a dozen complaints against him. Says here that he even tried to break into her apartment and when she filed against him he showed up in court and called her a...
[stops, looks at Castle and Alexis]
Javier Esposito: B I T C H.
Richard Castle: She can spell, Detective.
Kevin Ryan: Probably better than you!
- Similar to the How I Met Your Mother example below, in the first season blooper reel, Nathan Fillion (Castle) accidentally swears in front of Molly Quinn (Alexis). Although she's not really a kid, she is a minor, and apparently Fillion gives her a dollar each time he swears in front of her.
- The commentary to the first season episode, "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins", includes a number of the actors and show creator, including Molly Quinn. Huertas (who plays Esposito) mentions a modelling gig in GQ with an a fellow actor in the episode, and Quinn interrupts with "Minor!" and Huertas stammers, laughing, to a halt. It wasn't a dirty story. It was GQ.
- Subverted in "Linchpin" when Beckett argues with Castle over an old flame of his, while Alexis was assisting Lanie in the lab.
Castle: Okay, we slept together, a long time ago! What's the big deal?
Beckett: No big deal, sleep with whoever you want, the more the merrier!
Alexis(clearing her throat) I have those toxicology reports you wanted, Lanie. (Castle glares at Beckett, who looks suitably mollified.)
- The third season of How I Met Your Mother had a blooper reel which gave us this trope. Cobie Smulders swore over screwing up a line in front of a six year old.
Smulders: No, I'm gonna totally fuck...! [hand in front of mouth]
Wide-Eyed Kid: ... Did you just say the f-word?
- Dexter: Debra won't swear in front of Dexter and Rita's infant son. She's dropped f-bombs on live television and in a hospital waiting room full of children, though.
- There's an episode of Night Court in which a guy dressed as Santa Claus is brought up before Judge Stone for something involving a prostitute, and there's a kid present, so Stone has people do this.
- On Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Loren often finds himself cleaning up his language whenever Brian is around. One ep had Loren telling some friends about a burlesque house where the girls lift up their...voices! To sing so beautifully!
- When we meet Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, everyone spends most of a season trying to keep the slaying away from her. They don't talk about it in front of her, except insofar as they can do so in code (they mostly fail).
- They even trying spelling things on occasion, only for Dawn to remind them that she's 15.
- On Greek, one character does this while he's discussing a Friends with Benefits relationship and sees a Nun: "Fu ... n Buddies."
- In one of the sketches of Studio C, it's Bring Your Daughter to Work Day and the dads are cops at a murder scene, so they all have to change the terminology they use to make it child appropriate, like gunshot wounds are "fairy kisses" and blood is "glitter."
- It backfires when one dad says "No, dear, the pony was totaled, it's gonna have to be compacted and sold for individual parts."
- On Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond’s mother says she and her father would argue in Italian so their kids wouldn’t understand. Robert tells her they’re near fluent.
- In Mass Effect 3, Jack has become a teacher at Grissom Academy and has agreed not to swear for the sake of professionalism. This gets turned around when Joker snarks that they could probably buy a cruiser with her Swear Jar.
- Mother 3: During Flint's Freak Out resulting from Hinawa's death, one of the villagers pleads with him to control himself because Lucas and Claus shouldn't see him behaving like that. His pleas go unheard.
- In the best ending of Undertale, Alphys and Undyne, after some egging on from a friend, are about to kiss, Toriel jumps in the way, saying, "Not in front of the Human."
- In the episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd where he reviews the Halloween video game, The Nerd appears to subvert the trope by swearing like a sailor in front of kids and shitting in a trick-or-treat bag. However, a sharp eyed viewer will notice that he never swears while in the same frame as one of the kids. The Nerd may avert the trope, but James Rolfe plays it straight.
- Adorably, a little boy invokes the trope in this Not Always Right story.
- In The Christmas Tree of Might, Chi-Chi shuts Goku down before he mentions oral sex. Also, Dead Zone Abridged points out that she doesn't allow him to swear, presumably also for this reason.
Goku: So, what am I getting for Christmas?
Chi-Chi: The same thing as last year, Goku.
Goku: Ohhh, you mean that thing you do with your mouth-
Chi-Chi: Not in front of Gohan!
- The Simpsons:
- Grandpa Simpson babysits Selma's adopted daughter and modifies his old war stories to be baby-friendly.
I was just telling her how we chased the teddy bears into their cuddle bunkers, [in a creepy voice] then had to tickle them out with machine hugs and fun throwers! [sinister zoom-in] They say the more soldiers you tickle, the easier it gets. Well, sir, it doesn't.
- Moe does a similar thing while babysitting Maggie, telling her a bedtime story which is a cleaned up version of The Godfather. This was after he decided against reading her Alice in Wonderland, which he thought was a novelization of a porn movie called "Alice In Underpants".
- In "Who Shot Mr Burns? (Part 1)", Homer sends Bart and Lisa out of the house before unleashing an Atomic F-Bomb.
- When Skinner and Mrs Crabappel begin their on-off romance, they encounter resistance from parents who accuse them of behaving inappropriatly in front of the students.
Helen Lovejoy: We're talking abot S-E-X! In front of the C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N!
- Tiny Toon Adventures: The episode "To Bleep or Not to Bleep" turns on this trope; Buster discovers the key to curing Fowlmouth of his swearing habit is that Fowlmouth can't bring himself to curse in front of young children.
- Time Squad: In one episode before Tuddrussel and Larry have a heated argument they briefly hold it so they can send Otto to go outside and play. Keep in mind, the series takes place on a space station, so "outside" is outer space.
- Averted in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Old Wounds", in which Nightwing describes the events leading to his break with Batman and abandonment of the Robin identity. One of the last straws was Batman roughly interrogating a mook in front of his family, ignoring Robin's objections.
- In the Family Guy episode "Farmer Guy", Lois has this reaction after discovering that the farmer they borrowed the house from is housing a meth lab in the basement and tries to keep it from Stewie by spelling the words out instead.
Lois: You mean, like D-R-U-G-S? But aren't those I-L-L-E-G-A-L?
Stewie: What? What's she talking about?
Lois: Uh oh, someone's getting cranky. I think he needs a N-A-P.
Stewie: Man I gotta crack this code!!
- In Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems", security footage of Stan shows that he's been watching his language in front of the Twins with this line;
Tape!Stan: Hot Belgian waffles! Wait, I'm alone. I can swear for real! (Takes deep breath) SON OF A- (Tape ends)
- Happens in the Coneheads pilot, when the neighbors bring over a ring-shaped coffee cake that Beldar thinks is an "edible senso-ring" and therefore inappropriate to show in front of his and Prymaat's daughter, Connie.