If you ask most parents, they will tell you that swearing is not in their child's vocabulary. Or, if it is, it's not encouraged. Kids swearing is looked at as a sign of bad parenting or bad manners, which is why a lot of parents try to prevent it from happening. I vividly remember playing a board game with my brother when I was six years old and yelling out "DAMN IT!" My dad quickly explained to me that "damn" was a word we don't use, and to say "darn" instead.
This sentiment is shared between a lot of people. Swearing in general, not just in kids, is perceived as a sign of low intelligence. However, studies have shown that people who swear tend to have higher IQs than those who don't.
One mom, Sharon DeVellis, doesn't mind if her son swears, and it has nothing to do with intelligence.
DeVellis wrote a piece for Yummy Mummy Club, where she talked about letting her son swear, but only when the situation called for it. She claims there are worse words to use than the F-word, and it's fine if her son swears.
"You need to know that people will judge you for using curse words, including your friends' parents," she told her son. "I'm okay with you swearing in the right context, but don't start using swear words all willy nilly."
DeVellis cited Timothy Jay, a professor of psychology, who has spent the majority of his career researching swearing. Jay says swearing "is good and healthy to let young ones express themselves."
"Emotional expression, especially with offensive words let me vent, and it conveys immediately how I feel to somebody else," says Jay. "As you progress from infancy to adulthood you'll see swearing, emotional expression become symbolic. That's the evolutionary advantage of this. We all have the same emotions, regardless of how you phrase anger and frustration. This is normal. For kids to swear is normal."
DeVellis told her son swearing was something she was fine with, but "any word that would make another human being feel less than" is out of line.
"I'm cool with you [swearing] when a situation warrants it," she continued. "But there is a list of words that I don't ever want you to use. These words are worse than any swear word you can ever say and truly have the power to hurt."
These are the words she told him not to use:
- Short bus
"So, yes. You will occasionally hear my kids drop in a curse word here and there," DeVellis wrote in her article. "But you will never hear them making anyone feel less than. And that's worth the occasional F-Bomb to me."