What is Your Experience? Do your littlies swear like sailors?
AN online survey has revealed 42 per cent of children first use bad language by three years of age.
By kindergarten, more than 90 per cent of children have uttered their first rude word, leaving parents in shock, a survey has found.
Swear words starting with "f" and "s" were the most common first naughty word. Bloody, used by 5 per cent of children as their first bad word, ranks as the third most common. The two most popular expletives each was expressed by 28 per cent of children.
Linguistics expert Kate Burridge said it was not surprising children experiment with swearing as lively language is very much part of our vernacular. "They soon learn they get maximum attention (with a curse word)", Professor Burridge, of Monash University, said.
"In the old days they might have had their mouths washed out with soap or been sent to the bedroom with no supper but they get maximum attention and learn how potent these words are."
Parents admit their children often heard their first curse at home (52.7 per cent) but the overwhelming majority (78.4 per cent) actively discourage swearing. The second most common place for children to pick up obscenities was in the playground at school or pre-school (48.2 per cent) followed by television (31 per cent).
"By kindergarten, more than 90 per cent of children have uttered their first rude word, leaving parents in shock"
Sitting in the back seat of the car is another good place for kids to learn foul language (15 per cent).
Parents who generally refrain from swearing admit stressful driving situations have caused them unintentionally to use bad language in front of their child (9.7 per cent).
Etiquette expert June Dally-Watkins said the level of swearing on TV and in public was unacceptable. "I think it is disgusting and should be taboo," she said. "Parents should not permit it. Swearing is ugly. There is too much bad language going on and too much on television."
Ms Dally-Watkins said parents posting clips of swearing toddlers on YouTube was horrifying. Most parents agree with her.
Professor Burridge said foul language was not considered as bad as racist, sexist or religionist language. He advised parents did not need to panic if their child swore. "It is probably best to treat these as ordinary words," she said. "They have always been an important part of the vernacular."
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