Bad Language – Many Faces of Misbehavior

Sometimes around when your child is four, she will probably discover a rich vocabulary of bathroom words. She may revel in hurling such phrases at her playmates, feeling witty and bold in the act. Her playmates may probably return the insults in kind and will repeat it harmlessly until the novelty wears off, usually within a few months.

So called dirty words and swearwords, once learned, are primarily valued for their power to shock. They are not likely to find long lasting use unless you make a big fuss about them. One other certain way to make profanity a problem is to use it yourself.

To minimize the occurrence of toilet language and swearwords, be careful how you express yourself in front of your child. Avoid slang for anatomical parts or bodily functions. You do not want to imply by your figure of speech that some topic is embarrassing or disgusting subjects that can only be talked in code words.

Try not to swear in the child’s presence. If you forget, calmly explain that you made a mistake and restate your thoughts in more appropriate language.

Most parents find that the more successful they are in ignoring such talk, the more quickly the word disappears. If you feel that you must react, you might remark casually. “We don’t use the word.

It’s a silly way to say…” Then say nothing more, carefully ignoring reoccurrences of the language. The worst things you can do are gasp in horror, threaten punishment or laugh if her childlike swearing amuses you.

Those are precisely the reactions she is angling for. Do not use the words like” naughty” in front of your child only because it gives a special status in your youngster’s mind.

Sooner or later, you will face the problem of what to do when your youngster comes out with a swearword in front of other adults, who may be embarrassed or offended. When that happens, calmly explain that, those are not the kind of words that we use. Later you may wish to suggest substitute phrasing that is acceptable and ask your little one to say it that way next time.

geeta krishnan