February 24, 2012 | in Nanny
One of the most common, and most difficult, challenges parents face is curing a child that’s picked up a case of potty mouth. Infinitely contagious and notoriously difficult to clear up, a propensity for foul language is a condition that can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked; here are ten tried-and-true treatment methods.
- Be Realistic – It’s important to understand that many children will, at some point, pick up bad language. Despite a parent’s best efforts, kids will hear profanity from their peers, from television and even from the parents of other children. Beating yourself up about not being able to shield them from hearing such words is counterproductive, and a waste of time.
- Set a Good Example – Refusing to curse, even in high-stress situations is another important step in the treatment of potty mouth. Older children who hear you curse will almost always counter with, “but you said it!”
- Don’t Reward Foul Language – Rewarding foul language isn’t as simple as it sounds; in addition to reflexive laughing when a child curses, having a dramatic reaction also teaches them that their words have power. Stay calm, and avoid losing your temper.
- Explain Cursing Carefully to Little Ones – Often, very small children use profanity simply because they don’t know a new word they’ve learned is a bad one. Though the conversation can be difficult when kids are just learning to grasp language, it’s important to explain the concept to the best of your abilities.
- Penalize Kids for Cursing – When older kids curse, revoking a privilege or using your preferred method of discipline is advised. The most important part of using this method is being sure not to let your temper get the best of you; being dispassionate and matter-of-fact is the best way to let tweens and teens know that their cursing only hurts them.
- Carry Penalties for Cursing Parents, Too – Swear jars, extra chores and other penalties can be in order when the adults of a household have trouble keeping a potty mouth clean. Involving kids in the policing and penalty process can also help them to clean up their own act.
- Examine the Root of the Behavior – Teens and tweens who curse may simply be doing so because their friends do; however, there are times when using questionable language is an adolescent’s way of dealing with a larger issue. Taking the time to figure out why your child is cursing is the best way to stop the behavior.
- Ban Music With Explicit Lyrics – If swearing is a problem in your house, it might be a good idea to ban explicit music. In addition to reinforcing kids’ ideas about the effectiveness of terrible language, it can also add to their repertoire.
- Keep Discipline Age-Appropriate – There’s no one-size-fits-all discipline method; different things are effective for each age group, and no two children are alike. Tailoring your disciplinary actions to each child’s age and needs is a great way to avoid over-punishing older kids who will act out on principle.
- Be Consistent – Letting the occasional curse word slide when your teen is upset or in distress can tempting; however, it’s important to at least point out their language and ask them to modify it. Instead of letting the words fly under the radar, it might be a good idea to point them out carefully.
Basic parenting rules and techniques need to be applied to the potty mouth situation. Treating it as you would any other behavioral issue is generally the wisest approach.
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