Posted on June 28, 2021 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Projects

It is normal for kids to swear at one time or another. Young kids will often repeat something they have heard. Older kids often want to test their parents’ reactions. If your child has started using a few choice words, there are several discipline techniques you can use to curb their use of inappropriate language.

Think About Your Family Values.

Your family values will play a big role in deciding how to respond to swear words. For some families, swearing is not a big deal and parents accept that kids are likely to use curse words. For families who are particularly offended by swearing, it is important to address the problem right away.

Either way, talk to your child about how different people have different values. While you might not find swearing offensive, some people do. If your family does not swear, make sure that your child knows that even though they might overhear curse words from other people, that does not mean it aligns with your family’s values.

Consider The Reason.

When deciding how to address swearing, look at the possible reasons for your child’s choice of words. How and where the swear word was used is important. A 5-year-old repeating a word that they heard on the bus is very different from a 15-year-old swearing at a teacher.

If that is the case, it is important to teach your child those skills right away. Otherwise, there could be lifelong consequences.

Adults who lack social skills or impulse control skills could be fired from a job for using inappropriate language. They could also experience relationship problems if they offend others with their words. If you think swearing is a symptom of a bigger problem, such as a lack of anger management skills, teach the correct skills as part of your discipline strategy.

Be A Good Role Model.

Consider the type of behaviour that you are modelling for your child. If you swear, your child probably will too. Telling your child, “These are adult words so I can say them but you cannot,” is not enough to address the problem. Kids want to be like grown-ups and will copy what you do.

If you have been a little relaxed with your language and your child has picked up swearing, the first line of defense should be to change your own language. If you model how to handle your anger and express yourself without cursing, your child will learn how to do that as well.

Look at other ways that your child might be exposed to inappropriate language. If you allow your child to watch movies or play video games that include foul language, they will likely pick it up as well. Limit what you allow them to be exposed to if you want to clean up their language.

Establish Rules About Swearing.

If swearing becomes a problem, it may be necessary to create a household rule to address it. A rule that says, “Use appropriate language,” can help.

Kids may need a warning and reminders about what constitutes “appropriate.” Other parents might want a rule that says, “Swearing can only be done quietly in your bedroom so that no one else hears.”

Provide Consequences.

If you have created a rule about swearing and it continues to happen, a negative consequence may be necessary. If your child swears when they are angry, a time-out can be a good way to teach them how to calm down before they say something that will get them into trouble.

A “swear jar” is another means of discipline. This requires anyone in the house to put a certain amount of money – such as twenty sen – into the jar after each offense. This only works if you have kids who have money already and will be impacted by having to give some of it away.

Think carefully about what to do with the money. Do not use the swear jar money to fund your family vacation. If your kids know the money is going toward something fun, they will be more likely to swear so they can contribute to the cause. Instead, you might want to use the funds to go toward something like household bills.

Offer Rewards.

Another discipline option is to offer your child rewards for using appropriate language. A child who gets into trouble at school or who tends to swear at people when they are angry may benefit from a formal reward system that rewards them for using appropriate language.

Your long-term goal should be to teach your child that their language affects others. If they swear at someone or at the wrong time, it could have serious consequences.

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