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My Child Won't Stop Swearing!

Though we are well in to the new millennium, some people still believe the only way to make a child stop using profanity is by washing his mouth out with soap. While that approach may have stopped many kids from using bad language again, it also reinforces the negative behavior using another negative behavior.

The adult actually has to attack a child to hold them down to put something so awful as soap or pepper in their mouth, which can be a fairly violent act. It is abusive and it violates that vital parent-child trust. Unfortunately, no matter what parents do, their children will eventually hear that cursing language from other kids. Some positive ways parents can respond when they hear swear words coming out of their child's mouth:

Stay calm! Remember, as parent you are your child's role model and it is your responsibility to set the standard.

Clue them in about the other kids. Explain to your child that other people use profanity and swearing, whether you want them to or not. Then stress that your family doesn't believe in using bad language.

Remind them that words can hurt, too. Explain that swear words often hurt people's feelings. Tell him or her that just as hitting or kicking can hurt people, words are equally effective weapons that can leave emotional bruises.

Image is everything. Talk with your child about how people look at a kid using foul language. Explain that when kids swear, it makes people think badly of them and gives them a poor reputation.

The most important thing you can do as a parent is praise them for doing the right thing. If bad language has become a problem and little Johnny actually catches himself and corrects himself before saying a bad word, be sure to tell him how proud you are of him. Positive reinforcement is the way to get more of the good behavior and less of the negative one.

Read the next parenting article on fighting siblings >>
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