What To Do When Your Kid Swears For The First Time?
There’s nothing more joyful than hearing your kids say their very first words…and nothing more terrifying than when they drop the dreaded F-bomb (or any other obscenity of choice) for the first time also.
I still remember how that scene played out when I was working at home.
“Mom, mom, he is looking at me, you know, with the face. With….the…face!” my six-year-old declared.
The face was the usual squinty-eye, smirky sneer my eight-year-old had created to torment his little brother. I knew damn well he even used to practice it in the mirror.
“Just don’t look at him then.”
“But then he makes the noise. The…noise!”
The noise was only a hissing puff that my elder son could keep up for hours if needed to. I’m certain that even the most hardened criminal would crack under its brutal power.
“Beta, he is your brother.”
“He is a dickhead!”
At that time, I recalled being torn halfway between laughter and shock. But, as a responsible parent, you need to keep in mind that your reaction will determine whether your child swears again.
So, what are you supposed to do?
Where Did They Learn It?
For starters, when it happens – mark my words, it will happen – it is important to know where your kid learned this word. Their response would be like, “I’ve heard it from someone,” and that “someone” is most probably YOU.
Profanity might be the most used word in your dictionary, but it’s more the way you said it – with a dramatic effect, shouting it out or by clapping your hands – that must have intrigued your kid. (Like seriously? After all those lessons to get them to say “please” and “thank you”, that’s what they come up with? Goodness, Gracious!)
Bad words, however, can also be learned from movies and TV shows, especially when they are way beyond the age of little creatures who’ve still got to learn how to use a potty.
But, the fact is, no matter where your kids learned those bad words, when you’ve grown up in an Asian household and your kids dumped the F-word in front of grandparents, the message from the silently accusing old eyes is pretty much clear: If you kids swore, it means you didn’t raise them up with proper values.
Depending on nationalities and cultures, many consider it completely normal for kids to swear at one point or another. But, if you really want to curb your kids’ use of inappropriate language, I strongly recommend following these tips:
No Laughing Reaction
Most kids enjoy the attention they get from their parents and if you reacted positively to any of their antics, it would encourage them further.
Avoid laughing or reacting quite positively to their swearing and try to stay calm and composed.
No Need For Overreactions
While laughing is prohibited, blasting your kid or dramatizing the situation won’t do any good – you don’t want it to turn into a power struggle.
I get that children might mimic everything we do and say, but you cannot let them off the hook when they are used to too much of “f*** this, f*** that, oh f*** that hurt.”
Don’t let them get away with” “She’s not to be blamed, she always hears it from our next-door neighbor,” or “He must have picked it up from that show his dad’s always watching.”
Drop the excuses and let your kids take responsibility for their words.
Tell Them What Those Words Mean And Set The Boundaries
Not using bad words at home or in your presence doesn’t mean that your kids are not swearing at all. They may do it at school or with their peers. Plus, one day or the other, they’ll cuss – no make that, they’ll have to cuss.
As a parent, my ethics tell me to explain to my kids what those words mean (as most of the swear words are associated with sex), the implications of those words and when they will use them.
On a final note, let me add that, personally, at home or with close members of the family, I allow some casual swear words only for kids to be more open with their families rather than with outsiders. What do you think about that?