Parents of young children everywhere can breathe a f@!#ing sigh of relief: It turns out swearing in front of your children isn’t such a bad thing after all.
In his book, “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About our Language, Our Brain, and Ourselves,” author Benjamin Bergen says casually swearing in front of your children doesn’t have an impact on a child’s well-being or emotional development.
“The use of fleeting expletives doesn’t have any impact on their well being or their socialization…as far as we can tell,” Bergen told Global News.
Bergen, a cognitive science professor at the University of California, San Diego, notes that while letting the odd swear word loose around kids isn’t harmful, it is incredibly damaging to subject children to verbal abuse.
“Verbal abuse can come in different varieties and that can include swearing and slurs,” he explained. “We can track over time how kids are exposed to abusive language show increases in anxiety, depression and troubles in school.”
Bergen, who is a father of two, says he will drop the occasional curse word around his children, aged four and one.
“We have come around to the research and let ourselves do naturally what we do at home, which is swear a little bit,” the professor said.
While some parents are fearful that their children, particularly young children, may mimic their language, Bergen says this isn’t necessarily the case.
“There’s pretty good evidence you’re not cool enough for your kids to copy you when it comes to swearing,” he said, noting that most often children pick up profane or taboo language from their peers.
“Profanity is anti-authoritarian,” he continued. “It is breaking the rules to use profanity in public. If you, the ultimate authority figure for kids are using it, then they don’t see it as cool.”
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