My wife and I were watching a stand-up comedy special by Robin Williams the other night, all the while holding, feeding, and playing with our two-month-old son. Anyone who has seen Williams perform stand-up knows that he can be very profane. As a rule, we as a couple want to not use profanity around our children. However we are worried that exposing him to it from other sources (such as television) might be harmful. Obviously this is an unusual occurance; we try to avoid profanity-laced material, but Williams is an exception. Is it detrimental to the child to be exposed to profanity at such an early age?

asked 18 Dec '09, 18:05

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

I've read several books on the development of infant brains, including Bright from the Start. Children at that age are still developing the ability to process language. They don't understand what words mean yet. They are still learning to identify which sounds go together to make words. Interestingly, though, a two month old can tell the difference between different languages, and responds faster to someone speaking the native language his parents speak, even if he doesn't know that person.

I wouldn't worry about your kid's first word being a 4 letter word because of Robin Williams. As he gets older and he shows he understands a basic vocabulary of words (around 12 months or so), then I would start to worry, because that vocabulary expands rapidly.


answered 18 Dec '09, 18:42

Scottie%20T's gravatar image

Scottie T
accept rate: 15%

I wouldn't worry about a few exposures to profanity at such a young age of a few months. At 1 or 2 years, though, that would be a big mistake, as a rule they will repeat anything they hear at the most inconvenient or embarrassing time possible. :-)

Frankly, I'm more concerned about whether it's detrimental to be idly exposing them to the television (even when not profane). Even very young kids will tend to fixate on it. Many references can be found in the answers to this question.


answered 18 Dec '09, 22:44

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

+1 for the start to repeat. We hadn't paid much attention to what we were watching with our first around, until he repeated a four letter word. Thankfully he repeated it immediatly so we knew where he learnt it and stopped the film.

(19 Dec '09, 11:16) pipthegeek
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Asked: 18 Dec '09, 18:05

Seen: 3,238 times

Last updated: 18 Dec '09, 22:44