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Bad rep­u­ta­tion

Pick Me Up! Special - - Your Health -

My seven-year-old son has been told off at school for swear­ing. He says he heard the rude word from a friend. How can I make sure it never hap­pens again?

It can be a huge shock when you hear your child swear. Of­ten it’s down to re­peat­ing a word they’ve heard with­out a clue to what it means, and in turn, they learn it’s a taboo that can help them get at­ten­tion from par­ents and their school friends. It doesn’t help that when a swear word is used, it’s said with real ex­pres­sion, which makes it even more ap­peal­ing.

Don’t over­re­act

It’s im­por­tant you stay calm when you hear your child curse and def­i­nitely avoid laugh­ing! If they know it’s a way to get at­ten­tion, or to be funny, they’re likely to do it again. Also, if they’ve said the word out of anger, wait un­til a calmer time to talk about it. Scold­ing your child for us­ing a word they prob­a­bly don’t un­der­stand is not the way to go – in­stead, you need to care­fully ex­plain why it’s not a nice word to use and how it can hurt peo­ple’s feel­ings.

Have con­se­quences

Chil­dren learn from their mis­takes, so ini­tially, your re­ac­tion should be mea­sured. Cre­ate a sense of pride by say­ing ‘Our fam­ily doesn’t be­lieve in us­ing those words.’ But if the be­hav­iour con­tin­ues, then you need to take charge. Con­sider a swear jar or have a con­se­quence like the loss of a treat. But also, re­mem­ber to re­ward your child if they’ve avoided the word or acted ap­pro­pri­ately in a sit­u­a­tion where it’s been used.

Set a good ex­am­ple

Avoid us­ing bad lan­guage around your chil­dren and mon­i­tor the TV or films they watch. It’s very hard to dis­ci­pline your kids for do­ing some­thing you’re do­ing, so if you do ac­ci­den­tally swear, then quickly apol­o­gise. Ex­plain that words can hurt just as much as ac­tions and per­haps come up with a funny al­ter­na­tive to use in­stead to use at frus­trat­ing times.

War of words

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