Kids swear. They swear like sailors. Why is that, and should parents be worried? NPR decided to investigate and found, logically enough, that kids swear because they pick up the words from others, particularly mom and dad. “That’s just language learning,” says psychologist Paul Bloom. “These words have no special status as taboo words. Learning they’re taboo words is a later step.”
But parents aren’t the only influences. Bloom and his wife once tried inventing a family swear word, screaming “flep” whenever something went wrong. “The children looked at us as if we were crazy,” he says. Kids tend to learn more from their peer groups than their parents, explains another psychologist. But playground potty mouths shouldn’t worry parents. “That’s part of growing up,” Bloom says.