When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles ‘em. No, you had the right answer this afternoon, but the wrong reasons. Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they’re not attracting attention with it. Hotheadedness isn’t.
I am committed to writing appropriate books for the middle grades. This means no bad language, no gratuitous or explicit violence, and no sexual content beyond what you might find in a PG-rated movie – expressions of who likes whom, holding hands, and perhaps the occasional kiss. The idea that we should treat sexual orientation itself as an adults-only topic, however, is absurd. Non-heterosexual children exist. To pretend they do not, to fail to recognize that they have needs for support and validation like any child, would be bad teaching, bad writing, and bad citizenship.
The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
Bad language or abuse, I never, never use, Whatever the emergency; Though 'Bother it' I may Occasionally say, I never use a big, big D : What, never? : No, never! : What never? : Well, hardly ever! : Hardly ever swears a big, big D Then give three cheers, and one cheer more, For the well-bred Captain of the Pinafore!
I learned a long time ago that you don't have to go around using bad language and trying to hurt people to show how macho you are. That stuff won't get you anywhere, it just shows lack of vocabulary and character.