What you say

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Professor Raj Persaud is a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley hospital and senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London

"Swearing is about losing control, and one of the key things schools have to teach children is how to control themselves. Children swear a lot. They think it's a cool, adult thing to do, as their role models - footballers, pop stars - tend to swear a lot. They need to ask themselves that if they swear a lot too, will that have negative consequences? If they swear so much outside school - or at home - that they cannot stop swearing in school, they need to be shown that, in the long term, it will have a negative impact on their life. If you go for a job and you swear in the interview, you've blown it.

"Also, constant swearing signals poor vocabulary and therefore a lower IQ, and will lead to other people being unimpressed. If I use unusual words in my conversations, if I have a wide vocabulary, that tends to signal a higher IQ and gives a positive impression of intelligence. Children need to know this."

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