Coping with Foul Mouthed Children

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Does it feel like your son or daughter has picked up a whole new load of expressions that are becoming too familiar at home? Do you feel it threatens your relationship with your children? Do you worry about what to do? Remember: this is a natural phase in development and most parents have been through it.

Unfortunately you cannot change social behaviours and you cannot prevent your children from using bad language by simply telling them to stop it or by blaming it on their friends. Besides, have you never laughed at a rude joke yourself? Why was that different? Below we provide some simple tips that may help reduce your anxiety:

  1. Make it clear to your child that there is a context for swearing. Explain that some people get more offended and shocked than others. Perhaps the ones who are shocked are also the ones who find it difficult to deal with the social reality, but we have to respect their needs too. Advise your child to judge the ‘audience’ before they swear. For example, with friends and family it’s more acceptable than it is with an elderly person or a teacher.
  2. If it bothers you personally, check yourself and reduce rude words from your own vocabulary. Children see people around them, on the street, on TV, swear freely and they mimic them.
  3. Try and be more laid back at home. If your kids can ‘be free’ at home it is more likely that they will not take it out on others.
  4. Remember that sometimes we swear in order to colour what we say and make it more interesting. Also remember that a rude word may be simply reactionary so, the more you suppress it the more you may aggravate the situation.
  5. Don’t lose hope. The fact that your child is swearing does not mean they won’t do well in life or that there is something wrong. Don’t become too strict and ban your children from treats like Pringles as this could backfire and cause them to rebel. It is much more likely that your child will be affected by strictness at home than by rude words.

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