If your child has a potty mouth…

Your precious little one is smart, well adjusted and you could not be more proud but when they get frustrated they curse more than a sailor who found out they were robbed by a ‘lady of the evening’. 

What could have caused this you ask? Probably being raised around friends and family members who use profanities as if it was mother’s milk.

Let us get this straight, there is nothing cute about hearing children use expletives. It may be comical to some ignorant individuals but deliberately teaching children to swear, speaks to how much an individual lacks decency and a good moral character. By training them to use expletives you are tainting the innocence of youth for entertainment or selfish purposes.

In order to get a hold of the situation, you have to first let the child know that such words are not OK to say whether at home or in public. A good way to reinforce this message is by not laughing or chuckling when they do it.

Children are always seeking our attention or validation and when we laugh at their antics, they usually take this as a sign for them to continue to get more giggles and applause, so cut it off by not engaging when they break the rule and just walking away.

If they are very young, like between the ages of two and five, you strengthen your resolve to stamp it out by giving them a time out every time they swear or removing something they like, such as a toy or gaming system.

For older children ages 6 to 12, you can also revoke privileges such as staying up later or going over to a friend’s house. If you realise they picked up the bad habit from a neighbour’s kid, then you speak to that child’s parent about it.

If they are not receptive to what you have to say, you may have to keep your child away from theirs because it is self preservation at this point and doing what is best for you and your family. If it started at school, speak to the guidance counsellor and air your concerns. If it persists at school, put your grouse in writing.  

For teens who can articulate their frustration better, appeal to their sense of integrity as well as common sense.  Ask them if they feel that swearing makes them sound older and what they feel they accomplish by spewing obscenities.

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Also, find out if they think swearing will get them ahead in life especially if a potential employer heard them or someone they respect accidentally overheard an expletive-filled tirade.

By speaking to them in a matter-of-fact manner you convey to them that for every action there is a consequence and they must be ready to shoulder the consequences when their actions are inappropriate.