TODAY   |  July 16, 2013

Potty mouth! How did swearing become normal?

TODAY Moms contributor Amy McCready and psychologist Jennifer Hartstein discuss how swear words are becoming more mainstream, and chat about what parents should do when their kids catch them cursing, and when children start using those words too.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> has cursing become no big bleep in' deal? swearing seems to be pervasive and even kind of cool these days. take a listen.

>> you know, you said yourself that you don't even think of me as a friend anymore --

>> i never said that. you are awful of [ bleep ] [ bleep ], kelly. and you know that.

>> you need to realize that your attitude [ bleep ] sucks.

>> well that's my attitude. and i [ bleep ] love my attitude.

>> [ bleep ] [ bleep ].

>> good evening. you may have seen our newest a.j. seeing north korea news and he'll be joining the weekend news team as my co-anchor.

>> oh [ bleep ].

>> many of you are resolving to lose weight in the new year --

>> yes! yes!

>> all right. just go ahead and put it on gawker immediately. oh, my gosh -- i'm so sorry.

>> stay where you are.

>> [ bleep ]. i dropped all my cards.

>> she wasn't sorry, by the way. not at all.

>> how dirty are you? do you need to clean up your act? well, amy mccreedy is a "today" mom's contributor and jennifer hartstein is a child and adolescent psychologist. before we started this segment they were cursing up a storm. foul language ! truck driver mouths.

>> in some of those it is a slip. like with meredith, she didn't say what you thought she said. she said ship shape. that's what she said. for sometimes it is a slip and sometimes it is the real deal . i got to be honest on tv lately it is hard to know where the line is because more words are okay.

>> absolutely. i think what's happened over time is words that were once taboo become not taboo. there are actually benefits to cursing. research has shown when you are with a group of co-workers and start cursing together there is a feeling of solidarity. stress reduction . when you bang your elbow an bang your toe, what is the thing many of us do? the f-bomb! we curse, under our breath we mutter it. research has shown that it actually provides a great stress reducer and we can tolerate more pain when we curse.

>> do you agree with that?

>> he research does prove o tho that. are we becoming more of a cursing society. the research says we're not really swearing anymore than we used to in past decades but the exposure is so much more.

>> you say like when you're watching tv and a bad word comes up, you're not sure, is it cable, what channel am i on, doesn't it seem like -- especially in your world where you do those little phone taps things, it's all over the place.

>> i think it is funny we are doing this story on tv where we can't use any of the words we're talking about. yeah, it is so common place to use foul language but when you hear yourself doing it, you get a little embarrassed.

>> i also think that the other issue is it is much more common place in our vernacular to say hey, bitch, what's up?

>> hold on. can i say it? hey, bitch --

>> you almost said ho.

>> this is great. i'm on nbc using the word "bitch." i feel dirty. i need a bath.

>> let's be -- it is a reflection on you. if you start using words like that when you are having conversations, people think a certain way about you.

>> they do. it is a slippery slope . if you use that at work with friends, you're likely to slip up with your kids. it gives the impression you're laysier. if you talk like that in front of your boss or the pta you're going to be perceived --

>> she would .

>> should we be mindful to clean it up?

>> i think being mindful of use foul language around young kids is really important. we want them to come across as smart and together and intelligent.

>> i'm always frayed when i get scared on the air or something that i'll do that.

>> it will be fine.

>> if you slip, keep moving. don't dwell on it.

>> they say by the time kids are 2 years old they already know a four-letter word.

>> careful.