How to Stop a Kid from Cursing What to do when your child leaves you thinking, "What the F did you just say?"
It was a normal evening at home: Kate* was preparing dinner, while her six-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son bickered at the table. Suddenly, her son called out, "Mom! Sarah said the b-word! She just called me the b-word!” What should you do if you’re in this situation?
Don't overreact. No matter what age your child is, address it immediately and calmly. Start simple: say "No swearing ever." For older kids, who can think more abstractly, you should explain why swearing is not okay. Remember, at some point, every kid will curse. Your goal is to make sure to help kids express their feelings, to talk and present themselves in the best way -- as well as to set boundaries.
Nip it in the bud. Some parents believe that calling attention to a child's inappropriate words will only encourage the behavior, so they choose to ignore these transgressions. Respond promptly to behavior observing that "We can't assume kids know how to act unless we teach them. If you talk to them, they will get the message that there's a better way to respond." Ask your child first whether he or she understands the word. If the answer is "no," explain that the word is offensive, that it effects how others receive you, and that it is not acceptable
Don't be tempted by YouTube fame. A video of your cursing toddler might launch your child into his fifteen minutes at a young age, but curb the desire to pull out your videophone the next time he swears. Doing so only positively reinforces the behavior and sends a double message -- I don't want you to swear, but swearing will make my friends laugh hysterically, so could you do it one more time and look into the camera?
Be honest. When you reprimand your child, he or she might retort, "But I heard you/Daddy say it." Resist the urge to deny or justify your own swearing. Instead, admit that you also struggle to control what you say. By doing so you won't create a double standard -- and you'll get the added bonus of making your child feel like he is facing an adult problem.
Find new words. Sit down with your child and brainstorm new, non-offensive words or phrases to say when she feels frustrated, upset, or angry. More often than not, children say these words when name-calling. Use this incident to discuss your child's feelings toward an acquaintance or sibling. Encourage them to use other, different words to describe how the person makes her feel.
Create consequences. If none of the above work, or if your child has already made a habit of swearing, you need stronger measures to show him that this behavior is not appropriate. Tell him that every time he swears at home, you will take fifty cents from his allowance or assign him new household chore.
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