What To Do When Your Child Starts Swearing

By in Parenting on 02 March 2011

At the height of your emotions, do you end up swearing in front of your kids? And when you unexpectedly lose all control and say the forbidden word, do you owe up to your mistake or do you just pretend as if nothing happened? If the situation were reversed, how would you feel if your child has suddenly started cursing? But before you react in haste, think about who your little angel is getting lessons from. In many cases, parents react harshly to a child cursing when they are just in fact seeing mirror images of themselves.

Every single day, we are always under the scrutiny of our children’s prying eyes. Hence, we need to exert extra caution in whatever we say or do because kids can easily emulate our words and actions. But even if you shelter your kids from any form of swearing at home, they are bound to hear it from their peers or even from other family members. And as alarming as it may sound, your kids can hear bad words from places that we consider “safe” such as a common playground, or even from their very own school.

There are many reasons why kids swear but the most encouraging culprits may just be right under your nose. Kids can easily pick up bad words from TV shows and reading materials with inappropriate content, so make sure that you pre-screen whatever they get their hands on. Older kids may also be drawn to swearing because they think that it will make them look cool amongst their peers. Many times, kids use swearing as a sure fire way of getting attention. But no matter what the reason and the circumstances, swearing is still unacceptable.

Talk to your child and find out why he has started swearing. Make sure that he understands that the use of bad words is offensive and it may only hurt the feelings of others. Moreover, let your child know that swearing is uncool and some of his peers may be asked by their parents to avoid him if they find out he’s using bad language. Encourage your child instead to express his frustration and anger in an acceptable manner. In place of swearing, get him to come up with funny or silly expressions so that he can avoid saying bad words.

When imposing a no swearing rule at home, make sure that you obey it too. If you break your own rules, your kids will think that they can get away with occasional slip ups. So if you find yourself swearing in front of your kids, owe up to your mistake and apologize. They should never get the impression that swearing is justifiable at times. If a child does not respect your rules, withhold privileges like a shortened play time or by keeping a favorite toy for a specific timeframe.

The way you react to your child’s swearing is also critical because it can either stop or fuel the behavior. Sometimes kids will use bad language intentionally if they are desperate to get attention. If your child is playing this trick on you, make sure that you don’t lose your patience because if you overreact, you may only reinforce the behavior. And don’t address your child’s swearing as if it were a laughing matter because your child may only do it again if he wants to act funny.

At one point or the other, even the most well behaved child will learn how to say bad words. If your child goes through this phase, don’t be disheartened because with proper guidance and plenty of love and attention, your kids will have lesser room for bad language in their vocabulary.


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