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How to stop your child from swearing

If your young child’s just uttered his or her first dirty word, read on for tips on how to react when they swear and some advice on how to prevent them from making those words a habit.

Cursing boy

It happens with pretty much every child; they all utter their first curse word in front of you. They may have heard you swear in frustration, seen it on TV or learned it from other kids at school. Here’s how to handle the situation when your young child first starts swearing.

Don’t laugh

It might catch you off guard, and those words coming out of your sweet child’s mouth can be quite jarring and funny, but a laugh might convey that you approve of their swearing. On the other hand, if you get angry and demand them to stop, this reaction may just feed their need for attention. Your best option is to play it cool and calm. Tell your child that these words are not to be used by children his or her age.

Tell your child the language they’ve used is inappropriate

Let your child know that even if that’s how some people speak on a reality show or in movies they’ve seen, this is not how responsible, smart adults communicate with each other. Explain that swearing demeans themselves and that when they use these curse words, they might insult other people or even hurt their feelings. Your child needs to understand that his or her words have impact.

Discuss the consequences of swearing

If your little one continues to swear like a sailor, you may need to use a more aggressive approach to teaching them to stop using this type of language. Let them know that people only swear when they haven’t bothered to find other ways to convey their feelings and that swearing may cause other people to think they are not intelligent. Explain that it is smarter and just plain good manners to avoid swearing, as cursing may make people think they’re not very bright.

If your child continues to swear, you may need to make them realize the gravity of the situation through sterner means, and you can help them put it into perspective. For each curse, a dollar comes off their allowance, or tell them you won’t take them to the park this week if they continue to utter curse words. Your child needs to understand that bad manners will not go unpunished.

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