Walking through my local town the other day, I was horrified to encounter several families who were swearing loudly either at their children or around their children.
Now I have to point out that I'm not adverse to the odd swear word and I think it can work well in some areas like comedy, but I personally find swearing as part of parenting to be a worrying behaviour. The most depressing occasion was seeing one mother scream at her child to "stop f***** swearing".
Swearing tends to happen when we're frustrated, which can be understanding as parenting can be difficult at times. Is this really a good enough reason to object our children to this kind of language though? What kind of an effect does bad language have on children?It seems I might be in the minority in feeling children should be protected from too much swearing. The Telegraph carried out a survey of 3,000 11-year-olds, and discovered that 86% of children had overheard their parents swear and felt it set a bad example.
More worryingly, two out of five children were using swear words at a younger age, and admitted they used them in everyday language as their parents do too.
The effects of swearing are felt by the children, with one in three children claiming to have asked their parents to stop swearing as it upsets them.
Children have a habit of imitating the actions of those around them. So if they hear a lot of swearing, they'll pick that up and use it as part of their everyday language. Whilst a child accidentally picking up a swear word can be amusing at first, it's important to let them know that it's not the right thing to say. This is especially important before they attend school, as your child then knows that even if other children swear it doesn't mean they have to too.
There are ways you can avoid swearing around your kid. The classic count to 10 before you react is one, and substituting swear words with more acceptable words is another. A few more methods can be found here.
What do you think about swearing in front of children? Do you have any methods for avoiding swearing?