Before lockdown lets face it we had a lot of time in the day to get the f bombs out of our system while the kids were in school but now that they are around us all the time, it’s more difficult to release them.
Swearing for many of us is just part of adult discourse. Some of us use it to greater affect than others and others choose to dot their sentences more often with ‘bad’ words than others. I have to admit I think I swear more now since becoming a parent than I did pre having my daughter Joan, a bit like drinking!
Saying bad words really helps us when we are mad or when something goes wrong. They are great for embellishing stories and adding colour to them and they are brilliant when dropped at the perfect point in a sentence. Simply put swearing can make you feel better!
In fact many studies have been done on this very topic and some research has even shown that cursing allows us to handle pain better.
Richard Stephens, a psychologist and author of Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, did an experiment on this at Keele University in the UK. He got nearly 70 of his students to agree to stick their hands in ice-cold water for as long as they could, once while swearing and once not cursing. In short it turned out that when the students were bleeping their heads off they could keep their hands in the ice water for unto 50 percent longer so further proof swearing is good!
There is even a whole book that has been written on this topic by Emma Byrne titled F*ck Yeah: Swearing is Good for You - The Amazing Science of Bad Language.
But in reality we don’t want our kids to swear and we try our best not to use bad language around them. I admit I find it jarring when I hear a younger person say the f word or worse.
Growing up my parents just didn’t swear. In fact it was so out of place I only have one memory of my mom saying sh*t when she dropped laundry detergent on the floor. It is such a vivid memory for me because it was probably the first and only time I heard her say what is considered a bad word.
I am not like my parents. Joan has heard me say plenty of f words and s words. Most of the time it is when I am talking to my husband and I want to imprint importance on what I am saying so I add a bad word here or there and because our house is so small she over hears me.
At times and I am not proud of this, I have directed them at Joan. It has always been this “for f sakes please do your homework/brush your teeth/finish your dinner.” The list can go on. And if I am really honest it does make me feel better and ultimately what I am asking gets done.
The f bomb never comes out after the 1st, 2nd or even the 7th request aimed at my daughter it is usually after asking her to do something around 11 times it escapes! But is it a good thing to do? Probably not.
In the context of parenting swearing does feel like it is a last resort and better avoided all together. However as we are currently surrounded by our offspring 100 percent of the time, juggling homeschooling, work, keeping the house cleaned and more I feel we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if the occasional bad word makes us feel better!