When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to swear. It was very taboo and frowned down upon for a young child to spew out a curse word.
I recall a time in elementary school where my best friend and I were playing outside during recess, and both said a curse word because we thought it would be cool. We then immediately went into prayer asking God for forgiveness. I guess it’s safe to say things have changed quite a bit.
Nowadays it’s almost “normal” to hear kids cussing in the mall, at a friend’s house or on TV (even with the so-called FCC censorship).
Some liberals think swearing is a “tool.” According to them, “it’s a way to express emotion, and allowing your child to express their emotions is a pretty crucial skill when it comes to interacting with other humans. Life, as you can guess, often requires you to relay how you’re feeling to others accurately. Letting a child experiment with swearing will help them learn how to do that.”
Research shows young children swear because they’re exploring language. They might be testing a new word, perhaps to understand its meaning, and sometimes swearing happens accidentally when children are learning to say words.
They may also be trying to express a feeling of frustration, or simply say a word because it sounds funny or gets an immediate reaction from their parents.
Younger adults do indeed swear more, as do men. Some question whether swearing has increased over the years, and although there has been little research in this area, preliminary evidence suggests that incidence of swearing is relatively stable.
As formerly offensive words sneak into conversations and PG-13 movies, they start to seem, well, less offensive. So where do parents draw the line? Even if you are a saint, your child is bound to hear curse words from his peers or in a YouTube video
In all likelihood, it isn’t swearing itself that is harmful, but the factors associated with swearing. For example, when we hear a young child swear, we assume that the child lacks discipline, and might suggest they are a bully or a “bad influence” on other children. Swearing might indicate a lack of discipline, or it might just be related to a more open and free-speaking home environment.
It is the social environment, the parents’ pattern of discipline, the child’s habits, and emotional circumstances that determine whether or not a child will unleash a curse word.
Your reaction will influence whether your child swears again so if your child continues to curse try talking with them about their choice of words. For example, you could say, ‘We don’t use words that upset people.’ Preschoolers might not fully understand the words they use, but they can understand that swear words can hurt or offend others.
If your family has rules about swearing, it’ll be easier to point out when your child is using unacceptable language. For example, you might say, ‘Please use a nicer word,’ or ‘We don’t use words like that.’ It’s also less confusing for children if the rules about swearing apply to adults as well as children. If you want your children to avoid swearing, you and the other adults in your home need to avoid it too.
Care.com’s Parenting Expert Dr. Robi Ludwig feels that parents should work hard to train themselves to stop cursing around their kids. “Swearing basically is a very impulsive way to talk. How you talk affects how people respond to you,” she says further explaining that a person who swears sends a message that he is not in control of their impulses.
At its best, swearing is an ineloquent way to express emotions. At its worst, it stunts one’s ability to describe his or her emotional experiences. So whether a child hears these bombs from you, at school or on TV, it’s important to stop the language before it continues.