Tips to Handle Your Child Swearing
By Randi Morse
Children are like little sponges, constantly learning and changing. There are certain milestones that a parent never forgets, and one of them is when their child swears for the first time. When your child is very small and says a swear word, it's easy to find it funny. When toddlers try to emulate adults we can't help but laugh, but when your child gets older and swears, even if they don't know what the word means, it's not so funny anymore.
It's almost impossible to prevent your child from being exposed to swear words. A study completed in 2013 discovered that when children are 8 years old they know around 54 bad words. Most of the words they know at that age are fairly harmless, words like "stupid," or "idiot," but as they get older, by around the age of 11 or 12, they start to use more adult language.
So how do you handle it when your child starts swearing regularly? It's important to know that children see different rules for different members of the family. Adults in the household are allowed to swear while children are not. This can be very confusing, so keep that in mind when you first hear your child starts swearing. Before you react in any way, take a second to take a breath. You don't want to give unwanted behavior a great deal of attention as it can promote more unwanted behavior.
Ask your child what they were feeling when they said the swear word. Were they frustrated or angry? Preteens and teenagers often swear because they are trying to get a reaction or are trying to be heard, so make sure they understand that you hear how they're feeling.
Explain what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not acceptable. Help them understand that certain words are adult words that only adults can use. It's also a good idea to tell your child that you will try to curb your swearing as well. This doesn't mean that you can't swear at all, it just means that you will try to only swear in socially acceptable places, like at your home. Help children understand what is socially acceptable and what is not. Children understand black and white, yes and no, so if your child starts swearing make sure they understand that the swear word is a bad word and that children are not to say it.
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