There are a lot of different parenting styles being practiced these days. Helicopter parents, free-range kids, attachment parenting, and even something called Dolphin parenting (it’s a thing – look it up).
People can fight all day on parenting blogs about which one’s best, but they will probably all agree that children shouldn’t curse.
The only debate would probably be whether the kids’ potty mouths should be washed out with soap.
However, Dr. Emma Byrne, an expert in artificial and computational neuroscience and author of “Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language,” thinks that it’s not only good for your child to curse but that it’s downright f***ing fantastic.
“Swearing, we know, has loads of benefits. It’s excellent for us as adults to kill pain. It’s really good as a social bonder,” Byrne told the CBC. “It’s a great way of demonstrating sympathy between people who otherwise find it really hard to express their emotions.”
Byrne points to research that suggests swearing among teammates and coworkers works as an important social bond that shows trust.
Swearing in a relationship is an indicator of greater intimacy.
Everyone can tolerate a certain amount of profanity or so-called bad behavior. Knowing where someone’s individual line is drawn and whether to violate it or not shows a more intimate knowledge of their personality.
Those who routinely push our tolerance levels are perceived
as either thoughtless or unaware of our personal boundaries.
In Byrne’s book, she also covers research that shows how cursing improves pain tolerance. A study by psychologist Richard Stephens found that people who cursed were able to keep their hands submerged in ice-cold water 50% longer than those who did not.
“Pain used to be thought of as a purely biological phenomenon, but actually pain is very much psychological. The same level of injury will hurt more or less in different circumstances,” Stephens said according to Wired.
The benefits of having a foul mouth appear to extend to children as well.
“We do kids a massive disservice when we try to preserve
their innocence in some way by banning swearing,” Byrne told the CBC. She
instead suggests parents examine the reasons why they are opposed to their
children uttering the occasional naughty word.
“So it’s not that I’m suggesting that parents encourage
their kids to swear, but rather that they look at what their motivations are
when they’re asking their kids not to swear,” she continued.
“Because I think quite often we’re doing that as parents for
our own protection, rather than with the best interests of our kids at
So where does Byrne suggest we draw the line when it comes to our kids?
“There is a huge difference between the kind of swearing
that’s done either spontaneously to kill pain, or deliberately in a way that is
jokey and bonding, versus the stuff that is aggressive and very much based on
slurs,” she says.
Byrne isn’t suggesting that we let our kids run around dropping F-bombs like drunken sailors, but that we have a conversation with them to explain what these words mean and how to use them appropriately.
“Learning how to use swearing effectively, with the support of empathetic adults, is far better than trying to ban children from using such language,” she said according to IFL Science.
Bad words are just one of the many tools we have in our communication tool kit. Knowing when and where to deploy an F-bomb is an indicator of greater social skills.
Parents who openly discuss taboo subjects such as drugs or sex with their children foster a greater maturity in them so they can handle these tricky topics in the real world. After all, that’s our main job as parents, right? Prepare our kids for the real f***ing world?
Photo credit: Alpha Mom, Kids Activities Blog, Medical Express.