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Swearing - using bad words

swearing; bad; words; swear; blasphemous; slang; angry; annoy; racist; sexist; frustration; rude; offensive; feelings; harassment; language; blaspheme ;


What is swearing?

Swearing is a way of speaking that some people use to express their feelings of anger, annoyance, and frustration, or when they want to hurt someone else's feelings. Sometimes people swear because they think it is smart or funny.

Swear words can be:

  • feelingsslang words used to describe something a person is too embarrassed to talk about
  • racist or sexist words used to hurt someone's feelings
  • words used to criticise or put someone down
  • words that are blasphemous [say blass-fee-mus] which means words that are about someone's god or religion being used as swear words.

I asked some kids what they thought swearing was and here are some of their replies.

  • feelings"Swearing is using a bad word."
  • "When you get angry and you say a bad word."
  • "Using words that are about God but not in a nice way."
  • "Saying words that you know mum would not like to hear you say."
  • "Using words that you may have heard criminals and cops use in action movies."
  • "Using words that are racist or sexist."
  • "Saying bad words to express your feelings of anger or frustration."
  • "Trying to act cool.:

Why do some kids swear?

swearingSome kids swear when they are upset, annoyed, hurt, or just to show off. They may swear to upset others, to get attention, to feel grown up or because they want to be part of a group that swears.

swearingMaybe they have learned to use these words because they are used in their family or among their friends, and they haven't really thought about whether using these words is okay.

Maybe they haven't learnt other more interesting words they could use.

Some kids may not know that swearing is offensive, rude and upsetting to others. Maybe they don't know what the words mean.

Swearing is not okay

  • sports arenaIn public.
  • Around young children.
  • In school.
  • Around older people.
  • In the cinema or other public places like shopping centres and sports grounds.
  • In church, synagogue, mosque or other holy place.
  • On television or radio.
  • Anywhere there are other people who can be upset by swearing.

At many public events, like soccer matches, you are reminded before the event starts that this a family event and people who swear can be asked to leave by security people.

How to stop swearing

using bad wordsIf you are angry or frustrated there are lots of other words you can use to show how you feel.

Usually there are only three or four bad words used by people who swear, so swearing is boring.

Get creative and make up your own words to use instead of using swear words

Often the words you think of are so funny that you end up laughing and feeling better rather than angry and you will not have offended anyone.

A few creative words from kids to start you off:

"Oh, sheep"

"Heck and double heck!'

"Tottering tadpoles"

"Silly sausage"

"Galloping gremlins!'

"Beep and beeping"



Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate"Swearing in public upsets many people. It is actually verbal harassment if other people can hear it.

It is good manners to remember where you are and think about other people's rights and feelings. Everyone has the right to feel safe and having to hear loud nasty words can make people feel unsafe. If people are annoying you by using bad language move away from them and don't use it yourself."

swearing Swearing - by Jade

There was a little boy named Jonny
He was a cute little sonny
One day while walking down the park
He tripped upon a piece of bark
He tripped and nearly said a bad word
Then he thought, "I'll use a different word."
Swearing's bad. It is not good.
I'll use another word like I should
Some find swear words so offensive
Instead I'll use a word that's inventive.
"Oh bark!"

 Ugly words
 Ugly mouths
 Ugly faces
 Ugly feelings
 You can say what you mean
 Using words that are clean.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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