By Aldric Chang
Some parents carefully watch every word that comes out of their mouths. Others let a curse word slip from time to time. But no matter which category you fall into, hearing your child curse isn’t a pleasant experience.
Whether you find it amusing or appalling, the last thing you want is for your child to say a swear-word at the wrong time. And most parents agree that swearing is a horrible and offensive habit that they don’t want their kids to develop. So what do you do when your child starts cursing? Here are a few tips.
1. Don’t overreact. If you make a big scene when your child utters a dirty word, there’s a good chance that it will reinforce the behavior. He could use the word again when he craves attention, or he might decide that it’s a good word to use when he wants to get under your skin.
2. Do your best not to laugh. Whether you truly find it amusing or just giggle nervously, this could also cause a repeat occurrence. Your child will see that he made you laugh, and he might use the same word again when he wants to be funny.
3. Avoid confronting your child about swearing when he does it when angry or upset. This will only add fuel to the fire in most cases. Work through the problem at hand, and discuss the bad language at a calmer time.
4. Watch your own language a little more closely. Kids often pick up curse words at home, and if you use them frequently, they are more likely to think it’s acceptable to do so themselves.
5. Take your child’s age into consideration. Children who are just learning to talk usually do not realize that swear words are bad. So scolding them when they use them serves little purpose. In many cases, if you just ignore it, they won’t say it again.
6. If your child has more developed language skills, a calm and simple explanation of why they shouldn’t swear will often solve the problem. If you tell them that a word is not nice, there’s a good chance that they will cease to use it.
7. Older children who know that swear-words are bad may need to be disciplined when they use them. Depending on their age and the circumstances, time out, suspension of certain privileges or grounding may be appropriate.
8. Consider the context of the swear-word. Calling someone a bad name is much more hurtful than swearing because you tripped and fell. Both should be discouraged, but make sure the punishment fits the crime.
9. When you slip and say a curse word, apologize. Doing so will set a good example for your child.
10. Offer more acceptable alternatives to swearing. There are plenty of words in the English language that are not so offensive. You could even encourage your child to make up his own silly expressions to use instead of curse words.
These days, few kids get through childhood without saying a single curse word. When your child swears, don’t take it too hard. As long as you make it clear that such words are unacceptable, the chances of your little angel developing an incurable potty mouth are very slim.
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