Family

The best way to swear in front of your kids

Potty mouthed parents, you can relax - a bit.
Swearing in front of children isn't the end of the world

Swearing in front of the kids is at times unavoidable, other times it’s regrettable, but it might not necessarily be as bad as you think, according to research.

Heavy swearing in front of children is definitely off-limits though, it’s ethically dubious and there could be risk of harm.

In an experiment with college students, researchers found language which harms the most are slurs, not actual swear words.

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This study noted how college students who were exposed to a homosexual slur sat 10 centimetres further away from someone they believed to be gay than participants who saw a neutral word.

Similarly, another experiment found university students exposed to a violent homophobic slur thought less money should be allocated for HIV activism.

While the evidence as to how swearing affects children isn’t conclusive, science suggests there’s little proof that everyday swear words lead to more violence or dulled emotion in kids.

So, although direct harm doesn’t stem from swearing, social conventions should be considered. You don’t want your kid dropping an F-bomb in front of their teacher.

On the subject of swearing in front of kids, scientist Benjamin Bergen wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “When I happen to swear around my kid, I provide some coaching. I engage him in an honest dialogue about why some words are OK in some places, but not others.

“Even a 2-year-old can understand that the f-word can be muttered consequence-free at home but might lead to a negative reaction when screamed in the supermarket.”

Check out this gallery of funniest notes from parents to their kids.

Swearing also comes with added bonuses: it’s a great way to bond with people, according to this study.

Also, the emotional intensity of swearing may help you to withstand pain.

In a bizarre 2011 study, two groups of participants dipped their hands into ice cold water. One group could repeat their favourite swear word while withstanding the cold, the other group could not, but the effect was greater for people who swore less in their daily lives.

Moderation, as with anything, has its benefits.

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