Experts Are Saying That Teaching Swear Words To Your Kid Is Actually A Good Thing

Parents are used to getting weird advice all the time, but this one might just top them all.

One neuroscientist who studied the impact of swearing has a surprising suggestion for parents: Teach your kids about swear words.

It might seem counterintuitive but her reasoning actually makes a lot of sense.

It's safe to say that every parent has had that "Oh no" moment when their child repeats a swear word in public.

Most parents feel shame and embarrassment when that happens, and are quick to discipline their child.

Swear words actually have a fascinating history.

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Profanity and curse words have been recorded in human history as early as medieval times. Many of the English language's modern swear words have their roots in early German or Scandinavian languages.

Around the world, different cultures have their own swear words.

While these words may differ in sound and meaning, most people understand that swear words are considered impolite. These words can have a negative connotation because they are often used to express extreme anger or dislike.

On the flip side, modern swear words are also used for entertainment.

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Swear words are pretty much a staple in most movies and television shows for adults these days.

We've come a long way from Clark Gable telling Vivien Leigh, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," in Gone With The Wind. That line is considered by many to be the first swear word included in an American film.

Given that swear words are still generally frowned upon, most parents teach kids from an early age to avoid saying them.

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However, one neuroscientist says that teaching swear words to your children could actually be a good thing.

Dr. Emma Byrne is a neuroscientist and the author of "Swearing Is Good For You: The Amazing Science Of Bad Language."

Good Morning Britain

In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Dr. Byrne explained why it's a good idea for parents to teach their children about swear words at a young age.

To be clear, Dr. Byrne isn't advocating for parents to teach their children how to swear.

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Rather, she wants parents to explain which words are considered "swear" words and have a meaningful conversation with their kids about how they can hurt people.

She said it's better for children to learn these words from their parents instead of hearing them from other kids.

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Words get around fast on the playground, and parents can prepare themselves and their kids by taking the initiative to have this discussion.

Having this conversation could save parents a lot of embarrassment, Dr. Byrne explained.

"I want to equip parents to cope with that moment of shame and embarrassment of 'my kid swore in a place that was inappropriate,'” she said in an interview. “Instead of saying ‘we are going to shut this conversation down,’ talking about why that is inappropriate.”

Dr. Byrne says it all comes down to explaining how swear words can affect people's feelings.

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"If we don't talk about swearing with our kids and they learn swearing just from their classmates on the playground, they're not going to have a sense of how swearing affects people's feelings," she explained.

Dr. Byrne said that her research has shown that swearing does have a lot of benefits in the right contexts.

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She said swearing helps build relationships and trust between people. Her research found that people tend to swear more for happy emotions than out of anger or pain.

She also said that there is evidence that people have been swearing as long as they have been communicating.

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One of the earliest recorded instances of the F-bomb can be traced back to a convict's nickname, which appeared on a court document in 1310.

Studies have also found that swearing can even help reduce pain.

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Researchers at Keele University discovered that participants in a study who swore could endure pain 50% longer than those who didn't swear.

Teaching your kids about swear words can be an important learning opportunity, according to Dr. Byrne.

Instead of punishing children for using them, Dr. Byrne says to use this opportunity to find better outlets when children feel angry or frustrated.

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