New Study Says Swearing is Good

Filed under: In The News

A new study says that cursing can be good for you. But do you do it in front of your kids?

Do you curse in front of your kids? Photo:

CNN Medical Associate Producer Caitlin Hagan has a blog entry where she talks about a new study just published by Dr. Richard Stephens at Keele University in the United Kingdom. Apparently the good doctor found that if people swear when they get hurt, it helps them to endure the pain.

Well bloody hell. Who doesn't know that? But does that make it okay for you to swear in front of your kids?

The study found that when people stuck their hands in freezing water, they were able to keep them submerged for 40 seconds longer if they screamed out words that they themselves considered to be "curse words." The specific words used varied of course, but "the usual suspects topped the list: s**t, the F word and British slang – bollocks!"

And right there lies the problem with the study. CNN originates in the U.S. By their own standards (which are generally the "community" standards the FCC is always talking about), the "f word" is verboten. But "bollocks" is fine. Why? Because here in the States, "bollocks" isn't a "bad word." But for someone in the U.K., perhaps it is. It isn't the word. It's the honest expression of anger, frustration and pain. If you can express that feeling by saying "oh fudge," then hey, good for you.

Let's get back to the bigger question: Do you swear in front of your kids?

Ultimately, all of the words are just that. Words. But not everyone feels that way. Whether you swear in front of your kids or not, it's important to teach them that not all behavior is appropriate for all situations. Denis Leary does a bit about a meeting he had with his child's teacher, where he was informed that his son had entertained the class with a song. "A... S S... H O... L E..." When asked if he'd heard of this little ditty, Leary replies, "Heard it? I f**kin' wrote it, sweetheart!" (Here's a link to Leary's not safe for work song.)

It's funny in a comedy routine. But most of us probably feel that our kids should watch their mouths in front of their teachers. Even if they happen to stub a toe in class. Using a toothpick is a good way to get food out of your teeth. But not at the dinner table.

What about you? Do you swear in front of your kids?

Brett Singer is the editor-in-chief of You can follow his tweets at

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.