Would you let you child swear? One scientist thinks it could be educational

Expert believes parents should let children swear to inspire teachable moments [Photo: Getty]
Expert believes parents should let children swear to inspire teachable moments [Photo: Getty]

It’s fairly common parenting practice for children to be banned from saying swear words. But, one scientist thinks parents should be rethinking the rule.

According to neuroscience expert Dr. Emma Byrne, when it comes to swear words, it’s best to teach children the appropriate time to use the explicit words.

This, according to the scientist, is a teachable moment about how language affects other people.

“I want to equip parents to cope with that moment of shame and embarrassment of their kid swearing in a place that was inappropriate,” said Dr. Byrne on ‘Good Morning Britain’.

“Instead of saying ‘we are going to shut this conversation down’, we should talk about why it is inappropriate.”

In fact, the neuroscientist feels so strongly about her position on curse words that she has written a book titled ‘Swearing is good for you: The amazing science of bad language’.

Viewers of all ages took to Twitter to defend their stance on kids using swear words. Some even admitted, despite no longer being children, they couldn’t imagine swearing in front of their parents.

Dr. Byrne was shocked with the outrage surrounding her recommendation, stating that swearing isn’t directly connected to being a bad person.

“If we don’t talk about it [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 said.

“But also how swearing isn’t directly correlated with being awful to people. There are ways to be really vile without using a swear word.”

Anna Williamson, ‘Toonattick’ presenter, disagrees with the scientist explaining that there’s no way to monitor the execution of children swearing.

“People take offense to it. Swearing is not socially acceptable. There’s a reason we can’t swear on live TV and it’s because it does offend,” she said.

“That is what is key, it’s about creating those boundaries particularly in our children.”

When it comes down to it, Williamson believes while children may understand swearing, encouraging them to do so in certain situations exclusively is confusing.

I do get the point about educating but I don’t think using swearing liberally is saying it’s OK to use it in those circumstances, because I just think it confuses children.”

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