4 Ways to Handle Profanity from Your Kids (And Why It’s Not Just Your Fault!)

W hoa! Where did you hear that?

If your child uses a bad word at home, he or she may well have heard it from you. If you needed a reason to clean up your language, now you have a very powerful one!

On the other hand, there are a few reasons why it may not be completely your fault. For example:

Technology is quickly making parental controls a thing of the past. For example, the “best” clips from TV shows are: a) usually the “worst” for kids and b) usually available on YouTube. Parental controls are not perfect and let’s face it, these days it seems like children are born knowing how to circumvent them. Think for a second about what you were playing with when you were a kid. Well, your kid is playing with your smartphone. Go figure.

Parents are busy. Schedules are hectic, days are full, and other people are bad drivers. If you do not have a busier schedule, more concerns, and more reasons to curse since your child was born, well, good for you! For most of us though, it is not the case. Driving is a particular “at risk” moment for profanity; your child is out of sight in the back seat and it is easy to forget she isn’t there for a few seconds.

Kids love to copy each other. Your child could have very easily picked it up from other children at preschool or daycare. You can complain to their parents and email this article to them but…. it’s too late now.

So, what you can do when you hear your children curse? Here are 4 common sense ways to handle profanity:

1. Set an example. You probably shouldn’t be using profanity anyway. Does it really achieve anything? Let off steam so you feel better? Hmmmm….. Well, anyway: if you must swear, make sure your child is not around.

2. Stay cool. Try not react passionately to profanity from your child. Kids feed off excitement and love to experiment. That’s how they learn. Your job is to remove the “entertainment factor” from the situation.

3. Explain. Your child can and does understand relatively complex social situations (e.g. bribery scandals involving cookies for diaper changes.) It may take a few times but just be patient, stay cool, and explain why profanity isn’t acceptable. They will get the message.

4. Stay consistent. Set a course and stick to it. If you do take disciplinary measures, make sure they make sense and you apply them the same way each time.

If it is any consolation, this issue is not new and has come up for parents who have gone before you and will for those who follow. It may be a little tougher to handle Generation Z (your kids) than it was for Generation X (that would be you) but the basic parental tactics will remain the same. Just remember it is about your child just as much as it is about you and your reactions.

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