Many kids are picking up swear words and curse words from mainstream media, other children at school, and even from their own parents. According to some studies, more than half of all parents say their child has cursed right in front of them. Unfortunately, those colorful expletives tend to come out at the very worst possible moments.
Teaching your children how to use appropriate vocabulary is crucial to avoiding embarrassing mishaps at birthday parties and family dinners.
A few four-lettered words have a lot of appeal to children who want to shock their parents and friends. If you’re having a difficult time getting your child to choose more age-appropriate vocabulary, take a look at these tips to help your kids stop swearing.
Monitor your reaction closely.
What did you feel the first time you heard your child drop the f-bomb? You may have been tempted to laugh or angrily threaten to wash their mouth out with soap. Having an extreme reaction either way may actually encourage your child to continue this unsavory habit though.
Obviously, swearing and cursing are issues that need to be addressed in the moment, so ignoring it isn’t a great choice. Simply tell your child that’s not an acceptable word. For older kids, you may calmly explain why you don’t use those “bad” words. A quick verbal correction for the first few offenses may be all that’s needed to get their swearing habit under control.
Come up with creative new words.
Substitute swear words with new and creative phrases that you brainstorm with your child. Screaming out random words that don’t always fit the situation is a fun way for children to express themselves without swearing. For example, you might yell out different types of cookies (Snickerdoodle!) or completely made-up words.
Not only does this allow your child to find new ways to communicate their frustration, but it also allows for a silly bonding moment. Creative sessions like these can help you to develop a stronger relationship with your child, even in situations where you may be tempted to issue consequences.
Watch the language your child hears.
Did your kids pick up their new vocabulary from you or from a movie you watched as a family over the weekend? You may feel some guilt correcting your child for swearing under these circumstances. If you want your child’s little swearing habit to cease, consider changing the things your child hears.
This may mean instituting the dreaded swear word jar. Children will love reprimanding parents and quickly remind them to add dollar bills to a jar each time they curse. Plan to save up the money to use for a fun family outing when the jar gets full.
If your child seems to pick up more from the media, consider changing the channel when colorful shows come on. Movies and television shows often contain swear words in their content for humor. Young children are great at mimicking the things they see and hear on television, so limiting their access to inappropriate shows can help to curb their cursing.
Solving your child’s swearing issue doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Think about implementing some of these creative strategies to nip this problem behavior in the bud before it truly blossoms.