When children start to swear: Remain calm
HAS your little angel sworn at you? How did you react the first time?
Toddlers swear for a variety of reasons. They’re trying to understand how to use words in the right way and what they mean. They often won’t realise the swear word is inappropriate.
Your reaction to your toddler swearing will have a huge impact on their future behaviour so it’s important to deal with it in an effective way.
Remember your child is exploring their world and is interested in everything. This includes their privates and bodily functions. They may start using words like bum, fart and poo.
They may also swear to mimic what they have heard you or others say when they are frustrated or emotional. Your own use of swear words is a big influence on them.
The shock of hearing your child swear for the first time often leads to parents overreacting. But when this happens, your toddler learns the swear word gets a reaction and attention.
The first time you hear it, the best idea is to ignore the word completely. If your child is testing your reaction, then this teaches them that it doesn’t work.
If it isn’t a once off and your child has used the swear word a couple of times, it’s a good idea to talk to them about it.
Don’t overcomplicate your explanation about swearing – just focus on the word not being nice and how saying it could hurt people.
It’s really important that there is consistency in how your family approaches swearing.
When your child gets a bit older and is approaching school age, it’s worth trying to sit down with them to explain family rules about acceptable language.
Lastly, praise your child when they deal with anger or frustration in a mature way. If they can express their feelings or walk away from a situation instead of swearing, make sure they know they’ve done the right thing!