Is your child using swear words?
Created by Swapna Nair Updated on Oct 04, 2020
Language develops in a peculiar way in each one of you. It is a human nature to pick up the bad things first because they are easy to learn and grasp. However, when you hear your child using or mouthing a bad word, you go all into a shock mode, screaming at your child – what did you just say, where you picked up that word, and do you even know the meaning of the word among other non-stop questions and gyan you give them.
Yes, it is always a shock for parents when their child uses an inappropriate word. But, It is also not true that children always pick up such words from just their parents. Children pick up words from anywhere and from anyone. There is information overload from social media too.
Picture This Scenario -- When Your Child Uses Swear Words
Sonica was driving her new car when a cyclist scraped her car and she let out a swearword. After a couple of days when her 6-year-old lost out in a game he used the same swear word at home. Sonica froze. Her eyes grew large. She screamed at her son,'what did you say, what did YOU say? Where did you learn this word..etc. etc.' Her son said,'mom I heard you using it in the car the other day.'/p>
So your child picked up a swear word from you and you are shocked. But what should be your next step. Let's read further to know.
What To Do If Your Child Is Using Swear Words?
Our children will get exposed to such language. So how do we tackle this situation? Here are few ways you can tackle the situation. You can start as early as toddlerhood.
- Don't show disgust to the bodily functions: Use bath time as teachable moments. Talk about all parts of the body in a neutral tone. While changing the diaper of your toddler, be careful of your facial expression and gestures. One young mom said she is always disgusted to clean poop. And she passed on her disgust to her child as well. The child then grows up to view bodily functions like excretion or urination, poop and urine as something disgusting and bad and while growing up when he or she hears swear words associated with the body, he/she will pick it up fast
- Don't react to the swear words the first time: When your child begins to go to school he or she is at an interesting stage of language development. His or her mind is curious and ready to explore. Their little brains are quick to pick up inappropriate words. Now this is normal because it happens to adults too. There is a standard joke that you may not know a particular language but you would know the swear words
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with your child: It is important to have a detailed chat with your child but before you talk to your child, you and our spouse need to have a discussion. Are you role modelling the behaviour you expect from your child? What are the words both would consider inappropriate? In each family, based on their culture and tradition the list of such words would vary. Come to a consensus before talking to your child. Have a family rule regarding swear words. Such a discussion will also help you introspect and responsible
- Share your views when the swear word is repeated: If after a detailed talk you again hear a cuss word, do share your views on them with your child. Maintain eye contact and talk in a gentle, neutral tone. Explain that the word uses is inappropriate. It is not used in your family. It would hurt another if used. You could even use a story to instil this
- Observe your child's behaviour: Watch and observe your child. If it happens again, then try to understand when and where is he using it. Is he using it while getting angry or upset? Look at the situation. Then sit down with your child and coach him on how to tackle his emotions- 'I heard you use this word. I think you meant to say that you were angry. You can just scream that you are angry. It is ok to be angry but it is not ok to use this word. Here it is expression of emotions. So have you emotion coached your child? Are you providing a safe space for your child to express, to cry, to laugh, to get angry?
- Appreciate when they don't use the word: Appreciate him/her when he/she does not use such words or when they come and tell you, 'you know mamma I did not use the words even though my friends are using it.'Hug your child and appreciate the action
- Do they know the meaning: Ask them if they know the meaning, if they know they should not be using it and if they do not then first tell them the meaning and teach them it is a bad word and that they should avoid using it. Here you need to handle them with tact. Remind them about your family rule. This is the age they want to be included. They want to be part of the gang at school. Swear word at this stage is more to show off, to be 'cool'. Here give them substitutes for the swear words. Brainstorm with them for some substitute words. You will be surprised at their creativity and humour. Again coach them to express their emotions. You can help them think of different ways to be cool too
- Monitor the TV and computer: Keep both in a place where you can have an eye on what they are watching. While watching a movie or a TV show if you come across such language, use it as a teachable moment. For the older ones you can tell them about using appropriate words at appropriate places. Emphasise that it is not classy
- The most important factor is you- the parent: When you hear such a word- tell yourself to be calm, understand from the child's age and perspective. There is always a reason
- Cultivate the ritual of 'exclusive time': make it an after dinner ritual. Hang out with your child. Just chat, laugh and play. Your bonding will strengthen. Through such exclusive time you can emotion coach effortlessly
Did you like the blog on what to do if your child is using swear words? How do you coach your child to not to use such words? Please share your views and feedback with us in the comments section below, as we would love to hear from you.
| Oct 17, 2017
power packed 10 . it's definitely a teachable moment for us when we hear our children use these words. what discussion can do, scolding or warning would not. introspection and deciding on common family goals is very important. thanks again Ma'am for sharing this blog.
| Jan 26, 2018
Dear Harsha at his age First you ignore. Keep ignoring till he gets over using it. He is learning new words everyday so he will be thrilled to use any word he hears. Gently guide him to use substitute words. Talk to him in the language he understands. Appreciate and applaud when he makes an effort not to use.