When chil­dren start to swear: Re­main calm

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY -

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!

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