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Children Using Inappropriate Language: What Can You Do?

Hearing your child use a swear word can be extremely alarming. No one expects it from their child, which makes it even more shocking when it happens. Unfortunately, in an age where TV and the internet are so readily available, it’s often impossible to shield your children from hearing inappropriate language.

When really young children swear, it’s often because they are just repeating something that they have heard elsewhere. Children mimic language when they are learning to speak and will pick up on anything they hear. It’s likely that many won’t even know that they have just used a bad word.

Children Using Inappropriate Language: What Can You Do? How to handle it when your child swears or curses

Most children pick their swearing up from home. Even in a household where swearing isn’t the norm, it only takes one slip of the tongue in front of children.

What can you do if your child suddenly starts using bad language?

Don’t Show a Big Reaction

Your reaction when hearing your child use a swear word could actually encourage them to do it more. We suggest not overreacting, as some children like the fact that it’s giving them attention and will do it again in the future. They might decide that it’s a good way to annoy you or when they are craving your full attention. You should also try not to laugh – something that is a natural reaction when hearing a small child utter an unknowing bad word. This will encourage them to do it again when they want to make you laugh.

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Monitor What They Watch/Listen to/Read

As we said earlier, children often pick up inappropriate language from things that they have seen on TV or even heard in a popular song. With the internet so available to children these days, it’s even possible that they will read bad language online. If your child suddenly starts using words that you know haven’t come from home, it might be time to start paying more attention to watch they are watching or reading. This may mean banning certain channels, shows or movies if you’re not comfortable with the language being used.

Watch Your Own Language

Unfortunately, most occurrences of bad language in children are from them hearing things at home. Do you swear when you think they aren’t listening? Have you ever accidently stubbed your toe and sworn on reflex? It only takes one or two times for them to hear it and start repeating it. You should watch what you say when your children are in earshot or could possibly be listening. If you do swear in front of them, apologise so they know it’s a bad thing.

Make it Clear

One of the best things you can do to limit the use of bad language in your house is to tell your children directly what it’s wrong. You can’t always monitor what they are doing – some pick up on swearing at school. The best you can do is explain to them that it’s wrong and a ‘bad word’ – they will be less inclined to use them in the future.

It’s almost impossible these days for children not to hear bad words. If your child does start using bad language, please don’t panic. Just follow our top tips and deal with it accordingly. It’s likely that they haven’t done it to be offensive and the quicker you deal with it, the less likely it will happen again.

Images: Grimacing child Shutterstock / Offended son in his room (modified) Shutterstock