It can be shocking the first time you hear your child say an expletive. Suddenly the cute little toddler or small child that runs around your house has the capacity to hurt people and be mean. They’ve been soaking up information and language for a couple years now, which includes the undesirable stuff. If your child starts to swear, here’s what you should do.
1. Avoid swearing as much as you can
Children learn what we teach them, often by imitating our behavior. You can tell your child “do as I do” all day long, but they will always take their cues from your behavior. So if you want to discourage or prevent a behavior, avoid it yourself. Don’t use cursing as a way to communicate.
If a swear word slips out here or there, make sure to immediately apologize and show your regret for your bad behavior. It’s tough to avoid swearing just when your kids are around, so look for ways to expel those words from your vocabulary permanently.
2. Don’t laugh or giggle
Children repeat behaviors when they get a reaction out of us. If you laugh or smile at their cuteness (because they probably don’t know the word is wrong; it’s just something they heard) they will try to repeat it to get more laughs out of you. Even a negative reaction can be something they want to see again.
If you think your child is just trying out sounds, ignore it entirely. They’ll experiment with it a few times and then move to different sounds when they realize that combination doesn’t get them anywhere.
3. Educate before getting upset
If your child is using swears frequently (and is old enough to understand you), he/she may not know that those words are offensive. They may have heard them on TV, at school, or from other adults. Before chastising them for being rude, explain that those words mean very bad things and they can hurt people’s feelings. Explain that they are super versions of words they know are bad already, like “stupid.”
4. Be honest when you’re called out
Inevitably, your child will say something like “But I heard you say that word!” This is probably true. Don’t try to deny it or come up with an explanation as to why you’re usage was reasonable. Instead, admit that you also have trouble controlling your behavior at times but it’s something we all have to work on.
How did you handle a child who curses?
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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