Teaching your kids not to curse is just one of those things good parents are expected to do. Like teaching them not to punch other kids on the playground or steal a pack of gum from the store or lie about whether or not they did their homework. Naturally, teaching your kids not to curse includes not cursing in front of your kids. What with the example-setting and all. Except, here's the thing: Punching and stealing and lying are behaviors we consider "wrong" for valid reasons, most of them involving someone getting hurt on some level or another (sometimes, themselves). Why is swearing "wrong," exactly? Because it's "not nice," some would say. Or "because I said so" or "because some people might get offended." None of these reasons carry any real weight, in my opinion, and I personally refuse to waste time and effort instilling values in my kids that I don't even believe in.
So yes, I swear in front of my kids. And here are the reasons why.
1. Studies show that swearing in the workplace "helps enhance group solidarity and serves as a mechanism for stress relief." Why shouldn't the same logic apply to swearing at home?
2. Another recent study found that "saying the F word or any other commonly used expletive can work to reduce physical pain." Hey, maybe you can finally stop buying ibuprofen in bulk!
3. It's been suggested (and debated endlessly) that people who swear are more honest and trustworthy.
4. Self-expression should always be encouraged, in all forms. Or, as George Carlin put it: "Why should I deprive myself of a small but important part of language that my fellow humans have developed? Why not use all of what we’ve developed to communicate with?"
5. Swearing around your kids actually helps to demonstrate rules of etiquette dictated by society, as in which behaviors are appropriate under which circumstances: "You can say these words at home, but if you say them at school, you'll get in big trouble and it won't be fun."
Oh, and here's an interesting little factoid you might be surprised to learn: My kids don't swear. Like, maybe once in a very blue moon, my son will curse at an ill-fitting Lego piece but that's about it. Weird, huh?
Do you swear in front of your kids?
Image via Melissa Wiese/Flickr
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